Wednesday, November 23, 2011
If you live in New York City, and haven't yet experienced 'Sleep No More,' stop reading this post and go buy tickets right this second. I'll wait.
After months of anticipation (and one last-minute rescheduling), I finally got to experience 'Sleep No More' last night. And I'm sure anyone else who has seen the show will agree that it's one of those experiences you want -- nay, need to talk to about and process with everyone and anyone as soon as it's over.
'Sleep No More' is essentially the next step in the evolution of the stage play; a wholly immersive theatre-going experience for the audience member, where no two audience member's experiences will ever be remotely the same. To even try and describe it right now feels like trying to describe a dark, hazy, haunting, and gloriously beautiful dream; vivid details and moments jump out from my memory, then recede.
The show can be described as 'Macbeth' set in a 6-story hotel that is decked out as well as any Hitchcock movie you've ever seen, but don't expect to walk in a have a linear, cohesive narrative presented to you. Rather, one stumbles across characters and situations while exploring the hotel and its myriad settings -- at one point last night, two characters rushed down past me in the stairwell, followed by a stream of audience members hidden behind their requisite white masks. I could have turned to follow them, but decided to continue exploring on my own, before coming across Lady Macbeth balancing precariously on the edge of a porcelain bathtub. As my boyfriend put it, it's like a grown-up version of Choose Your Own Adventure.
The level of detail in the art direction is astounding -- I had heard people raving about it before I went, but it's hard to truly understand it until you're immersed in the set and are rifling through ledger books and letters and props with your own hands. Not to mention the choreography and music -- which are integral to the story-telling -- that are staggeringly impressive aspects of the show as well.
In all of my time here in this crazy city, this show stands out as one of the craziest and most spectacular experiences I can recall. Luckily, they seem to keep extending the show due to the overwhelming response its gotten. And is that really a surprise? I don't think I'll be able to stop thinking about 'Sleep No More' for weeks to come.