Monday, June 6, 2011

Sleep No More

As we stood in our white masks watching the sweet ingénue debate whether or not to drink the white potion, it suddenly dawned on us what we were: We were ghosts, and tonight we were witnesses to the living.

So went our trip to see British theater company Punchdrunk’s revelatory performance experience, Sleep No More.

Under New York City’s High Line lies the haunted (and fictional) McKittrick Hotel. Sensually astounding, the audience, wearing masks and ordered to remain silent, enter what seems to be a dilapidated building, but what is rather, a giant living work of art. From moonlit forests to rows of empty institutional beds, every one of the six floors has its own themes, energies and yes, spirits.

Actors, dancers and performance artists (the people not wearing masks) flit in and out of rooms and scenes, leading the mask wearing audience from experience to experience. Meanwhile, rifling through drawers, closets and even coffins, the audience goes at its own pace, joining and leaving various plots and performances at will. In one moment they might encounter a distraught bookkeeper looking for solace at a nearby speakeasy only to wind up in the middle of a Bacchanalia complete with passionate dancers and wild drum riffs.

The show has been extended through September 5th for good reason. There are so many things to see, one couldn’t possibly do it all in one visit! We look forward to our next stay at the McKittrick Hotel. Join us if you dare for a little ghostly wonderment.

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