Annenberg Center Live Presents Haruki Murakami’s Sleep, October 27-28

Annenberg Center Live presents the world premiere of Haruki Murakami’s Sleep, an immersive theatrical work based on his shattering 1994 short story of a Japanese housewife whose mundane existence is upended into an unpredictable and dangerous world following a haunting dream. This co-commission of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and theBrooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) was devised and directed by Rachel Dickstein for her Obie-winning, Brooklyn-based theatre company Ripe Time, and adapted by Alpert Award-winner Naomi Iizuka. Performances are Friday, October 27 at 8:00 PM and Saturday, October 28 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at or 215.898.3900.

Melding theatre, live music, and choreographed movement, Sleep tells the story of a young woman who suffers a terrifying nightmare and suddenly stops sleeping. In her new sleep-deprived world, the constrictions of her prescribed role melt away, empowering her to take risks, indulge in what is forbidden, and embrace what is unpredictable. This seeming “escape” however, leads her into a world of lawlessness and danger that she never expected. Using a palette of shifting projections, vivid lighting, evocative movement, and crisp humorous dialogue, Dickstein creates a timely work that explores a shifting universe of gender and power. The New York Times says that Ripe Time’s rich history of creating adventurous theatre “finds hypnotic poetry in the ordinary, the solemn, the rapturous and just about everything in between.” Following the world premiere at the Annenberg Center, Sleep will have its New York premiere at BAM Fisher as part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival, November 29 – December 2.

“The Annenberg Center has long been known for bringing the best in independent artistry to the University of Pennsylvania and the cultural community of Philadelphia,” says Annenberg Center Executive and Artistic Director Christopher Gruits. “I am proud that we are reviving this tradition and commissioning this powerful, multidisciplinary theatrical production. Director Rachel Dickstein’s absolute mastery of this type of immersive theatre experience will bring this evocative story to breathtaking life for our audiences.”

Says Sleep Director Rachel Dickstein: “We are thrilled to have Mr. Murakami’s blessing in adapting this magnificent story to the stage. Like no other writer, Murakami straddles what is real and what is surreal, the everyday and the extraordinary, the beauty and terror inside of a quotidian moment in time. In our multidisciplinary approach, we dive deep within the murky underbelly of his work to find what is raw, violent and disruptive. The collision of Murakami, playwright Naomi Iizuka, and Ripe Time’s style of physical and visual theatre makes Sleep an explosively theatrical portal into a woman’s unconscious mind as she navigates an unpredictable, shifting universe of gender and power.”

Ripe Time, the Obie-winning, Brooklyn-based theatre company led by Rachel Dickstein, has garnered critical acclaim and devoted audiences for creating physically rigorous, visually powerful adaptations of classic and contemporary stories by authors raging from Virginia Woolf to Gertrude Stein to Jhumpa Lahiri. Since 2000, the company has made seven large-scale, multidisciplinary events celebrating women’s dreams and awakenings.

The world premiere of Sleep is a co-commission by the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Sleep was originally developed for the stage by The Play Company, Kate Loewald Founding Producer, Lauren Weigel, Executive Producer and Ripe Time, Rachel Dickstein, Artistic Director. Sleep was developed with support from The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA, and in association with commissioning funds from Center Theatre Group with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



Sleep (work in progress) excerpts from Rachel Dickstein on Vimeo.