The Sleeper by Michael Symmons Roberts

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Dangerous Visions season on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 15 June 2013
Set in a contemporary Britain which seems recognizable except for one element - human beings never sleep - The Sleeper offered a disturbing vision of a dog-eat-dog world.  Shops stay open; people work round the clock; hotels are for private meetings and illicit sex; but this apparently libertarian world is rigidly controlled by a government which seems paranoid about preventing people sleeping.
In political terms, The Sleeper could not have been broadcast at a more opportune moment.  On the day it appeared, Turkish riot police forcibly cleared Taksim Square in Istanbul, where a group of - mostly youthful - protestors had camped out for the previous nineteen days in an attempt to prevent a local park from being converted into a shopping mall.  It was a prime example of how a repressive regime was so paranoid about itself that it could not tolerate any expressions of dissent.  Likewise The Sleeper focused on a teenage girl, Ella (Sarah Churm) who could sleep, but ended up on the run with her friends from the authorities who were desperate to "study" (read imprison) her.  Eventually they encountered a wealthy man, Hypnos (Kevin Doyle), who offered them refuge -- but at a price.  No one, it seemed, could tolerate someone who dared to be different.
Through the use of an ingenious musical score (by Stephen Deazley), sung by members of the Welsh National Youth Opera, The Sleeper suggested that there was an alternative world - one of relaxation and calmness, transcending any individual's attempts to repress it.  All people had to do was to think beyond the demands of the moment and look instead at the bigger picture - in other words, think of themselves rather than the contributions they could make to the betterment of the world they inhabited.  The play did not show anyone making that move, but suggested that it might be possible - if people like Ella were allowed to sleep.
The Sleeper had one of the most vivid sonic scores I have heard in a long time, vividly contrasting the violence of the outside world with the peace of Ella's state of mind.  The director was Susan Roberts.