Fans of NPR's This American Life
are likely familiar with comedian Mike Birbiglia, whose monologues are regularly featured on the show. He's best known for his stories about dangerous sleepwalking (available here
), which he learns are caused by REM Behavior Disorder. Essentially, his brain does not produce enough of the chemical that paralyzes the body during sleep. As he explains, "Dopamine's the chemical that's released from your brain into your body that paralyzes your body when you fall asleep so that you don't do what's in your brain." For those who might be wondering what dangerous sleepwalking caused by REM Behavior Disorder might look like, Birbiglia has frequently acted out dreams, toppling furniture and even once jumping out of a hotel window. The man now has to sleep in a mummy sleeping bag with mittens on (the mittens prevent him from unzipping the bag), to keep himself and those around him safe from his sleepwalking.
The story's popularity inspired Birbiglia and This American Life producer Ira Glass to pursue a film version of "Sleepwalk With Me," which had also run as a successful one-man show on Broadway for eight months. The film is making its way across the country and will be showing at the Glenwood Arts Theater (9575 Metcalf, Overland Park) and at the Tivoli (4050 Pennsylvania) on September 14. We hear the movie brings the goods. Trailer here.
Birbiglia is also in Kansas City to perform "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" at the Midland Saturday, October 6.