‘Lullaby’ combines studies of sleep and the creative mind

By Jacob Pierce, Daily Egyptian

Sleep, insomnia and the creative mind are all topics that occasionally come together. One production looks to question how they all affect each other.

The Marion Kleinau Theatre is holding the experimental play “Lullaby” on March 26 to 28. “Lullaby” was created and co-directed by Ashley Beard, who goes by the stage name A.B., and Savannah Ganster.

Ganster, who has a doctorate in communication studies from LSU and lives in Baton Rouge, LA., said the idea all started when she and Beard met at a performance festival and snuck away from a party and started talking about insomnia and art.


“We talked about what would happen if we made a show together,” she said. “We live 624 miles apart. So it’s kind of crazy.”

The show is about insomnia and how sleep affects the creative mind, and is comprised of several different artforms including personal narrative, still images and poetry, Ganster said.

It was planned, written, compiled and rehearsed primarily through text messages, emails and using FaceTime, Ganster said. The first showing took place in March at Louisiana State University, just five days after the first face-to-face rehearsal of “Lullaby.”

“It was the full spectrum of magic to hell and everything in between,” Ganster said.

Funding being a huge issue for theater departments everywhere, this experiment looks to help adapt to some of the cuts, she said. Using this technology saves the school money it intended for sending people to different schools for collaborations, Ganster said.

“Before I started this, I did an experiment with people from California, at SIU, LSU and Southern Florida all at the same time,” she said. “This technology lets us do this on a budget.”

Beard, a doctoral candidate in communication studies from Los Angeles, said the show started to take cognitive form from there. The performers talked about the overlapping theme of the show and how the intent is to blur lines of what a traditional play should be.


The story is told using several mediums of art, forming another piece of art, Beard said. One of the medium transitions includes a nude painting by Leonardo de Vinci. Beard painted the piece of art onto the body of a friend, and took a photo to put up on screen.

“We are really hitting at those boundaries between the different types of art,” Beard said.

She said the sleeping habits of artists such as T.S Eliot, Sylvia Plath and Vincent Van Gogh are used as inspiration for the projects. 

Beard and Ganster both participate in different art forms including singing and poetry, which made choosing what to use a lot easier than they expected.

“When I do my work, organic composition happens. It is based upon feel,” Ganster said. “You just kind of know when you know, then you put everything into an order that feels right.”

For performances at each school, different directors come in to critique the show, giving a new perspective on the same play, Beard said. 

“The long distance has made it so there is not one view, even though there is one imbedded in it,” Beard said. “We are getting other direction and asking, what can our show be?”

“Lullaby” starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $7 at regular price and $5 for students.