You Are About to Be Awoken at the Royal Theatre in Gananoque

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Nicholas Dave Amott in “Awoken”

“ Meet Todd. Todd can’t sleep. But Todd is dreaming. This original, one-man play is written and performed by Nicholas Dave Amott.

“Neither awake nor asleep, Todd must journey through his own corrupted subconscious-idle fantasies and suppressed memories – and discover his purpose, before choosing to wake up…or sleep forever. Inspired by a true story.”

Amott has taken on a very rare yet very real inherited disease which attacks the thalamus and other areas deep inside the brain, and turned it into a one man show that attempts to give us an idea of what it is like to live inside the nightmare.  He walks his audience through the tedium of the doctors, the disconnection with reality and the fear of knowing there is nothing that can be done, no reasonable explanation as to why he even has the disease except that his father had and died of it.  His mother haunts his experience, but whether as a reality or one of the many hallucinations that take over the mind as the inability to sleep destroys his cognitive abilities and leads him to an early death is difficult to determine.

The audience cannot help but like Todd Silvano, the main character.  He reaches out to us in a very comfortable, uncomplicated way – he is someone we can identify with easily as he talks about childhood dreams of Batman and Iron Man, the Mario brothers, playing his piano.  We feel his frustration as he begins to lose his physical abilities – being able to only play the first three notes of a piece he was long able to enjoy on his piano, staggering as he walks, confused about the so familiar workings of his own body.  We understand his confusion as hallucinations step on reality, and it becomes harder and harder to tell which is which.  Played on a minimalist set with only a chair, a piano and a few lights, we find ourselves slipping into his world, wondering if we, too, might someday yearn to sleep and never wake up.

In real life, the period from start of symptoms until the inevitable end is usually about 18 months.  It strikes most often in people ranging from 18 to 60, most being about 50.  It has been found to affect only about 100 people worldwide, and so far treatments have been unsuccessful.

Amott is a young, brilliant talent who has stepped inside a complex subject and made it more attainable.  The show is highly recommended for those who like a look at the darkness, who want to learn something new, and who are looking for a mature drama.  Running time is about 60 minutes with no intermission.  Showtimes are 7:30 pm at the Royal Theatre in Gananoque, Wednesday May 31 – Saturday June 3, 2017.

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