August 8, 2008

Fear of Sleep

Mike Birbiglia got used to strange things happening to him when he slept—until something happened that almost killed him (Mike's story is now a feature film, Sleepwalk With Me). This and other reasons to fear sleep, including bedbugs, "The Shining," and mild-mannered husbands who turn into maniacs while asleep.

Mike Birbiglia in his film Sleepwalk With Me.
Act One

Stranger in the Night

Mike Birbiglia talks about the sleepwalking that nearly killed him. It's an excerpt of his one-man show "Sleepwalk with Me," which is now also a feature film, produced and co-written by Ira Glass. Check out Mike's website for his tour dates and other work. He also has two comedy albums available for download at the iTunes store. Mike's story was recorded at The Moth, which features other stories like this on their free podcast and at their website themoth.org. The poem Ira reads in this act is called "The Scratch." It's in Raymond Carver's collection All Of Us. (13 minutes)

Act Three

The Bitter Fruits Of Wakefulness

Joel Lovell explains why, as an 11-year-old, he trained himself not to fall asleep, and how that had some unintended consequences. Note that the Internet version of this story has slightly different language than the version broadcast on the radio. (10 minutes)
Act Four

Hollywood-Induced Nightmare

Production manager Seth Lind explains how he ended up watching Stanley Kubrick's The Shining when he was six years old, and how it led to two years where every night he had trouble falling asleep and nightmares. Seth is a member of the improv comedy group Thank You, Robot and hosts a live storytelling show in New York called Told. (7 minutes)


“Sleepwalker” by Brother Ali