The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Haku hodo ni Nemuru
Haku hodo ni Nemuru
Gareki no Taiko’s 6th production
Haku hodo ni Nemuru (Sleeping until it makes you nauseous)
(Jan. 1 – 15, 2012 at Komaba Agora Theater)
Photo: Mayu Murata
Premiere: 2010
Length: 1 hr. 35 min.
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 1 scene
Cast: 8 (8 women)
Japanese Drama Database
Play of the Month Play of the Month
Jun. 15, 2012
Haku hodo ni Nemuru (Sleeping until it makes you nauseous) by Sorami Date 
Haku hodo ni Nemuru (Sleeping until it makes you nauseous) by Sorami Date 
Sorami Date (born 1984) is a rising playwright who deals with the subject of extraordinary places people might have experience with at some time in their life, such as the morgue in a hospital or a jail. In this play, the main character is a woman named Nao who has lost her memory concerning a particular incident in her youth. She speaks to an unseen counselor about her life until now, while seven actors act out the scenes on stage using quick-change character rotations. Eventually, the truth about the incident is revealed along with the realities of Nao’s lonely existence.
Part way upstage there is a raised platform and lots of clothes are placed around it. As the scenes or their character roles change, the actors change into these clothes on stage. Upstage there is a chair where the “Narrator Nao” sits. On the second floor area there is a separate jail cell. The only actor that remains in a single role throughout the play is the Narrator, while all of the other roles are played in turns by seven actors who switch roles frequently.

Narrator Nao is receiving counseling in an attempt to regain her memory about a certain incident from her past. Memories from her childhood are interspersed with comments she makes to her counselor.

Nao lived with her father, her beautiful mother and a gentle brother three years older than her. Her brother, who had been gentle and played happily with her, suddenly stopped going to school in his third year of middle school and became a reclusive stay-at-home. The disappointed Nao one day pushes her brother away violently when he suddenly tries to hug her. Just after that he attempts suicide, which causes him to be sent to study abroad. What’s more, Nao’s mother leaves the home for a period. Still, Nao tries to act bright and happy.

In high school, Nao forms a band with her best friend Emi, and she has her first sexual experience with a classmate named Maeda. When Maeda goes off to college in another region, Nao tells him they must break up. She says she can’t continue worrying about someone so far away.

From this point on, a single actress plays the parts of Emi.

Nao and Emi go on to the same college. Nao develops an obsessive desire to feel needed by people. When she finds out that Emi is getting a new friend, Nao cries out in the middle of town, “Don’t abandon me!” Nao has a boyfriend who is the type that claims repeatedly that he will die if she leaves him, but she is satisfied with that. She gets a part-time job at a nursing home and begins to feel that this is her calling in life. This worries her mother.

She meets a man named Hiro, who is the grandson of one of the patients in the nursing home, and Nao begins a relationship with him. The two eventually marry with the blessings of their families but Nao continues to harbor a sense of loneliness and a fear of death stemming from her brother’s “incident.” This eats away at her emotional health.

Through counseling, Nao gradually regains her memory of the “incident.”

Emi is becoming a single mother and one day when Nao accompanies her to her maternity class a female patient speaks to her on the hospital’s roof patio. The patient’s comment that such a beautiful day makes her want to jump [off the roof] throws Nao into disarray. Nao struggles with the woman with the intention of stopping her from killing herself, but in the confusion she ends up causing the woman to fall to her death.

“I took her life. But, all I wanted was to keep her from dying,” says Nao.

Nao returns to her jail cell sobbing. She pulls herself together and stands up. We hear excerpts of past conversations she had with Emi and with her brother.

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1984, Date is playwright and director. After university, where she was active in the theater club, and then a year of traveling the world, Date took an ordinary company job. She quit her job after a year and a half and in 2009 she joined the directing department of Oriza Hirata’s Seinendan theater company while starting her own theater unit “Gareki no Taiko” at the same time. She proposes a type of theater that brings the real emotions, anxieties and loneliness of ordinary people to the extraordinary and unreal space of the theater stage in a way makes it into a “society” and brings to the audience a sense of being alive. Date’s representative works include Tomarazu no Kuni (A land where nothing stops), Koko ni Sen wo Hiku (Draw a line here), Kono Heya de Watashi wa Are wo Shite (In this room I do that) and Inai Inai (Not here, not here). This play is one of the Seinendan International Theater Exchange Project and was performed in the “Japan – France Young Directors Series” which brings together the rising French director Yan Allegret and five young directors from Seinendan.