Sleep No More – Voyeuristic Theater

We were wandering around galleries in Chelsea and decided to scout out the McKittrick Hotel where we would be “seeing” Sleep No More later that evening.  It was a weird semi-marked door, right across from Scores, which I found amusing.

McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea

When we went back at night, we were given two playing cards and ushered inside, where we followed the other guests into a dark, tangled hallway and stairs.  You couldn’t see, but you could hear all the whispering and the bumbling. Finally, dim light.

We piled into a 1920’s style speakeasy, with patrons sitting around small tables, sipping cocktails.  The stage was set for a band, that seemed to be on break.  It was very Star Trek holodeck.  I expected to see Will Riker get up on stage to perform jazz.

A woman in a long cocktail dress came up and welcomed us to the hotel.  I just stared at her.  Is this the show already? Was she an actress? Lounge singer?

Gradually, she and others moved the “audience” in small groups to go into the hotel.  We were each given a Venetian mask and instructed not to speak.  I poked G’s hand – I hoped it was him … I think he was wearing a dark blue shirt …

Off we went on our adventure.  It was dark and warm, with weird music in the background to heighten the effects.  First to the taxidermy room and a dark room – Macduff’s? – filled with grainy black and white photos with the word “evidence” stamped all over the place.  Then characters walked in and did their thing, and groups of us in goofy masks followed them around. Sometimes, it was clear who the characters were and other times, it was like, why is this guy cleaning up a wild west-style bar?

The strangest part was the other people – rummaging through the drawers, opening up briefcases and flipping through the papers on the desks, with an odd intensity, gesturing to their friends. There was even a couple who decided to take a nap in a tent.

My favorite part was walking through the woods where Macbeth meets the Weird Sisters, the maze and mist, with the cool air blowing through.  I also liked the graveyard, but I wasn’t sure if it was Macbeth’s enemies or maybe his dead babies?  Freaky!

Of course, we didn’t see everything, and I didn’t get everything I saw. There was a great dancing scene with a number of the actors, but then Lady Macbeth ripped off her wig and she was a man? Not sure what that meant, but … okay.

Very odd, very voyeuristic. Spying on the characters and watching snippets of their lives.  All of it jumbled, yet somehow coming together to leave a dark, creepy impression.

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2 Responses to Sleep No More – Voyeuristic Theater

  1. Teresa Bruce says:

    Cool! Did you sneak any night-vision pictures? Do you think participatory theatre is the wave of the future, or a flash in the pan?

    • audsanns says:

      there was one guy who was using his cell phone – annoying because it lit up an area of the room, which kinda ruined the mood. not sure this is the wave of the future, but it was very interesting

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