Sleep No More

I’m a bit late arriving at the ‘Sleep No More’ party, but since they stay up a little later, it worked out. For years, friends have been nudging me to see this ‘show’ – which is less a traditional piece of theater and more of a completely immersive experience – a chance to travel into a different time and universe, one that is spun of spooky, nightmarish, and at times gorgeous stuff. I finally took the plunge and my friend Chris joined me for a few enchanting, and deliciously disturbing, hours of sinister mayhem and intriguing debauchery at The McKittrick Hotel.

All six floors are decked out in stunning detail and elaborate design. Such layered intricacies make this production a thing of wonder, and from the moment you enter the Manderley Bar and receive your playing card and mask, the world you thought you knew disappears into the future as you are plunged into a timeless past.

There are no words, only images and emotions conveyed in dance and visual drama, fleeting and ephemeral, and though style is highly-favored and impeccably-produced over substance, the cumulative effect is one of magic and sorcery that takes you into other realms. You are given two and a half hours to peruse the sprawling space, and you’re welcome, and encouraged, to follow any of the performers as they travel briskly through the rooms enacting various scenes to the loose MacBeth narrative. As such, you never quite get to see everything that goes on, which explains the repeat visits; there is always something new to see and explore.

Though you will often be in groups, there is an overriding sense of compelling isolation as you act as voyeur and part-participant throughout the evening. Everyone has to take their own journey, and no one experiences the same thing. That’s a challenge for anyone accustomed to sharing in the theatrical voyage safely beside a partner. For others, like Chris and myself, it’s the perfect adventure with the promise of meeting up after it’s all over.

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