by Kaylaa Dornan, Grade 12
Jennifer Fraser’s play Wakeful Sleeper opened last week at St. Michaels University School and was the final piece in a trilogy which included Distortion and Aristotle’s Poetics. Similar to the plays it follows, Wakeful Sleeper is full of not necessarily controversy, but important issues that are not always brought to attention. The story revolves around a family which seems perfect from the outside, with a loving mother and father, two athletic sons, and a talented daughter who attends a private high school. However, one of the main characters in the play is a lesbian and her family members are unsure of how to react to this, some supporting her, and others feeling that she has abandoned the family and their religion.
Through intense dialogue and well-constructed scenes, the play paints the picture of a modern family with different beliefs struggling to maintain their role in society and their relationships with one another. The play incorporates unique scenes into the plot, such as when the main character experiences surreal and vivid image hallucinations while she sleepwalks. This sleep disorder, which is not often portrayed, serves as the ideal gateway into examining different levels of consciousness and states of self. Wakeful Sleeper is an astonishingly honest depiction of inner struggle and what it means to be family. This play definitely leaves its audience with questions long after the show is over.