Sleep No More at The McKittrick Hotel

Ahoy! Are you frozen? Not in the “let it go” sort of way, but in the I-can’t-feel-my-face sort of way. It has been a bit since my last post, and I miss it! I miss going on adventures and exploring the world… but let’s face it, its way too damn cold.

So, until then, I have an interesting adventure for you to try. 100% legal, 100% safe, and 100% exciting. Sleep No More.

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Sleep No More is a play of sorts, put on by Punchdrunk in the McKittrick Hotel. While it can be called a play, you are not watching it unfold on stage, but rather, you are immersed within it. And rather than having a central location for all of the drama and mystery to occur, the cast performs throughout the five floors of the hotel, simultaneously, without warning. So how do you know who is who? Or where to go to find said ‘who’? You don’t. That’s the beauty of it all.

Let me step back for a moment. When you enter McKittrick, you are instantly transported back in time. From the decor and the music, to the people and their use of old-English, you are no longer of this world. After checking all of your belongings (that’s right, no bags/coats/photos), you are given a mask which must remain on throughout the entire performance. You are also informed that no talking is permitted – absolute silence is required. Intrigued yet? You should be.

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I’ve only heard two points of hesitation. Let me shut those down now.

“So the characters don’t really talk either? It’s already confusing. No script will make it even harder to follow.”

Nope. Like watching a ballet, a performer’s actions can often be louder than words. These actors and actresses are professionals, and they are absolutely fantastic. Each expression, each fluid movement (often in contemporary dance), shouts the story at you, despite a silent room. The bestie explained it best when she said, “I’m impressed, and maybe even moved, by the gracefulness/improvisation… there were no accidents… the actors knew their boundaries and how to adjust, with the respect/fear of the audience…  like a dance where you rarely touch.”

“I’d love to, but it’s too expensive!”

No. No, it’s really not. How much is a normal Broadway show? I mean, this is a show, in NYC, with amazing talent, lasts three hours, and tells a story, right? Except that unlike all those other shows, you get an immersive experience. So, you pay a similar price for those… why not this? Plus, you can go on a Monday or Tuesday when it’s cheapest. Let me drive this home one last time, regardless of price, it is 100% worth it.

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Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the play follows the story of Macbeth by Shakespeare. And, as in any great tale, there are multiple subplots occurring simultaneously, as the main character’s fate unfolds. Since everyone has on a mask, you’ll know who is part of the play, and you may watch/follow them as you’d like. Sometimes you’ll spot them with a crowd around them, as other attendees watch in awe. Other times you’ll find them alone, or walking past you into a room, completely unexpectedly, and you become part of a scene that no one else has the pleasure to witness.

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I think that’s what I love most about Sleep No More. Just like when you were a kid and read the “choose your own adventure” stories, you are in complete control of your own experience. No one will tell you where to go, or what to do. You may do exactly as you’d like – whether it’s running after a character into a dark room to catch a mysterious scene, or exploring a library you stumbled upon, reading an old letter hidden in the desk. In a sense, it was similar to exploring an abandoned, immensely creepy town, and running into the occasional ghost. Perhaps it’s more like being invisible? It is hard to explain… and certainly much better to experience for yourself.

Sleep No More is not for everyone. However, for those of you like me, Sleep No More is a must. Despite going in a group with my urbex buddy Richard, his girlfriend Celeste, and the bestie, Jennilyn, only Jennilyn and I were able to stay together (and I’d like to thank some serious best friend ESP for that). However, we both agreed that we can’t wait to go back, and to each take our own path – meeting up at the end to swap stories and discuss the mysteries that unraveled.

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