Monday, August 15, 2011

Sleep No More

Friday night, I went to see/experience the show "Sleep No More" — or as I like to call it, "How Many Props Can I Steal?".

SLEEP NO MORE is based on MacBeth. Takes place across 5 floors of a hotel with an elaborate, meticulously detailed production design. Everyone who sees the show is given a mask that they have to wear throughout. This is helpful in that:

1) it highlights the people who are the performers (the maskless)
2) contributes nicely to the atmosphere, as guests appear to be a mob of ghosts
3) you're forbidden to talk while wearing the mask -- helper staff wearing different colored masks are stationed throughout to remind you with a quiet shushing

Essentially no dialogue/words. In effect, it's a modern dance interpretation of MacBeth.

The story isn't given to you. You have to literally pursue it. Chase after it. See performers interacting. They split and you decide who you want to stay with... or you can abandon both and find another narrative thread to pursue.

There is so much detail in the set design, you can spend a lot of time in empty rooms, reading through files and letters. This is truly a set you can interact with. If there's a bar, you can get behind it, open up the cash register. Flip through the books at the check in desk. Play a piano. There's a cemetery with plots of dirt and fake trees. Parlors, bedrooms, sanitariums. Can't rave enough about the set design. Except that I probably got so caught up in the design that I missed a lot of the action. (Meeting up with my friends afterwards, we compared notes about what we'd seen... and I missed a lot.)

What else, what else... gobs of nudity, male and female, if you're in the right place at the right time. (Which is true in real life, as well.) Spooky, evocative, atmospheric -- but this is not a Haunted House with jump scares.

Also, it's a small fortune. $90 online. It's got to cost a fortune to keep it running, so I can sort of understand the pricetag. You get to keep the mask (and whatever you've managed to pilfer). And it seems like you can stay as long as you want until the show stops it cycles around 2am.


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