I’m never gonna sleep again, guilty killers got no…..
I’ll start with answering the question some of you may have by reading the title. No, I did not participate in a sleep study, and this is not going to be about insomnia. This is going to be about one of the most interesting and fucking bizarre shows I’ve ever attended. Yes, I said attended, not ‘seen’.
Recently, my little Higgs Boson and I were gifted with tickets for our respective birthdays. These tickets were for an interactive experience called “sleep no more“. You start out in a place called the McKittrick Hotel, which is basically 3 warehouses on the west end of 27th street in Manhattan. You begin in a lounge, which is right out of the early to mid 30’s, complete with a full staff and live music from the era. You are given a playing card (mine was the 7 of hearts), and are then called into the elevator in groups by your card number. You are then given a mask, a Venetian carnival mask. This is to be worn at all times, and talking is strictly forbidden throughout the entire two and a half hour experience. This basically gives the effect, as you go through this all, of something like ghosts viewing people’s lives. It’s a pretty cool effect. They then dump you onto a floor of the “hotel” with the following parting advice: your experience will depend on how deep you delve into the story’s secrets, for fortune favors the bold.
The next two and a half hours were spent searching through shops, woods, hospital rooms, bedrooms, studies, asylums, lounges, store rooms, and various other recreated locales that were spread about the 5 floors of the experience. You are encouraged to go through drawers and furniture, read documents, notes, and books left open. I pored through much of the rooms until I actually realized that there were scenes being acted out throughout these floors and rooms.
Actors would walk about, silently performing tasks and interacting out scenes. There was very little dialogue, and all of their actions were perfectly timed to the music being played. The music, which varied from area to area, was reminiscent of the era, and had a very immersive effect on the experience.
There are a few things to keep in mind, should you feel the desire to check this show out. First, there are about 14 hours worth of viewable acting and content in the 2.5 hour show, so you’re not going to see everything. Your best bet is to pick a character and follow them around to catch the story. Second, the story is basically Shakespeare’s MacBeth, so if you know that story, things will make a bit more sense. Third, chances are you will end up confused during much of the show, unless you go or speak with someone who’s seen it before. I was fucking lost as hell through much of the show, and felt like I had no idea what was going on. That all changed after we left.
After leaving, the four of us went out for drinks. We all went our separate ways once inside the experience, so we all saw different shit. We ended up talking about it for a long time after the show, each of us revealing parts of the ‘world’ and story that the others had not known about. This was the part I loved the most about the show. It was an experience for the individual, and also for a group of individuals. Together we developed a more complete view of the experience, and it’s great to go to a show these days that isn’t just cut and dry without inspiring thought. I love seeing something that really makes me wonder and think, and that inspires my friends and I to brainstorm, debate, and discuss for some time afterwards.
All in all, I would absolutely see this again, since I know I missed much of the content, and each time I go I know I’ll get a different aspect of the story. To me, that’s an awesome thing. It’s what we gamers call ‘replayability’, and good replayability like this is rare and awesome. Overall, a really sick experience, and one I highly recommend.