Sleep No More--Any Night Arrives From Canada

Bedtime and butcher knives on 14th Street

Pillow talk is less than fluffy in Any Night, a nocturnal chiller by writer-performers Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn. Here, bedtime is a dangerous occasion and subsequent dreams are anything but sweet. Anna (Hahn), a choreographer who moves into the basement apartment below Web designer Patrick (Arnold), suffers "confusional arousal"—which isn't as sexy as it sounds. Unless she drugs herself, Anna sleepwalks, acting out her night terrors, some of which involve butcher knives.

Watching this feverish 80-minute piece, you see why it won accolades at so many Canadian fringe festivals. Director Ron Jenkins keeps the action frenetic and perpetual. A slick lighting design, heavy on blues and reds, bathes the stage in a sickly glow. American audiences have the additional pleasure of witnessing two toothy Canadians (with their natural good manners and charming pronunciations) descend into paranoia and violence.

Sweet dreams?
Stephanie Hull
Sweet dreams?

Details

Any Night
By Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn
LABA Theatre
344 East 14th Street
212-868-4444, anynighttheplay.com

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Yet the piece adopts an unfortunate self-seriousness, particularly when the characters speak gnomic pronouncements such as, "We live our lives forward, but we only understand them backward" and "Life with walls is no life at all." And it seems unlikely that parasomniac Anna would always move to the beat of an industrial rock score. At times, this nightmare veers perilously close to comedy.

 
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