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Wonderful Sleep No More cast last night.

I took my high school friend Mike to the late show as a combo holiday/birthday gift. As soon as I went in, I was in awe of our good luck at getting so many of my favorite cast members.

Man in bar was Maximilian
Woman in bar was Calloway!

I guess they were out of lady cast members? Getting both Maximilian and Calloway felt like the coolest thing ever. Getting the entry instructions from Calloway was a unique experience. William Popp is just such a wonderful performer. Also he told us to adjust the "clasp" at the back of the mask - I guess "thingy" is not such a Calloway word? ;)

James in the elevator told us, as usual, that fortune tends to favor the bold, but also emphasized twice to respect the hotel and respect our fellow guests. I hadn't heard that before - is it new? Do they always say it now? Or was it just because this was a late night and sold out show?

So I bolted down to the dance and - LUCK! Conor Doyle was Boy Witch. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

Not only this, but Paul Zivkovich was the Porter. More ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

And I shortly found: Tony Bordonaro was Banquo, Elizabeth Romanski was Hecate, and Austin Goodwin was Speakeasy Bartender.

I was just, like, completely floored about who to follow. I could have spent the whole show with any of them.

So anyway, I had agreed with Mike beforehand that I'd lead him to the rave, and then we'd split up. I'm kind of a purist in that I don't think you should lead people at all, but last time I paid for a friend to go, she completely missed the rave and was sad afterward since she can't afford to go again, so I think it's okay to at least lead people to a couple key scenes if I know they can't come back anytime soon? IDK. Anyway, it worked fine - I knew following the Boy Witch would shortly lead us to the rave. And I wanted to follow Conor Doyle, because he is wonderful.

Conor Doyle!Boy Witch + Paul Zivkovich!Porter = my SNM OTP. They are just both so beautiful & talented. I didn't know what to feel after their phone booth dance - heartbroken for the Porter but still in love with the Boy Witch ....

After the first rave, I dragged Mike over to see Macbeth kill Banquo, because that's just such a key scene and such amazing choreography. And because I didn't want to see the shower scene in the first (least crowded) cycle, lest I end up having to awkwardly fumble clothing in the dark.

I lost Mike after that, and went down to the banquet - then realized I've seen it eighty million freaking times, so went upstairs to watch the Porter. I love him. I can't tell you - he makes me so delighted and so heartbroken. I think Paul Zivkovich is the best actor in the show. One day he will be winning Oscars and I will say "I saw him back when..."

So then the Boy Witch returned, and I basically followed him the rest of the show, because, Conor Doyle, you guys. Which was maybe a mistake, but my thinking went like this:

* You can follow Tony Bordonaro's Banquo a different day when Conor Doyle isn't Boy Witch
* You can follow Elizabeth Romanski's Hecate a different day when Conor Doyle isn't Boy Witch
* You can follow Austin Goodwin's Speakeasy Barman a different day when Conor Doyle isn't Boy Witch
* You just spent a whole cycle following Paul Zivkovich's Porter earlier this month - you don't really need to do it again. Which in retrospect - he's wonderful, why not follow him again? I watch the same movies & TV shows again and again when I love them. So maybe I should have followed him for a cycle.
* You really should go see what Maximilian and Calloway are up to in the bar ... but it just feels so wrong to go hang out in the bar when this amazing show is happening. So I was torn.

So anyway, I followed Boy Witch. I was also paying attention to a few things - one the music, because I'd been listening to this Sleep No More playlist on YouTube, and realizing I know all the songs, but don't remember where most of them are used. So I wanted to see where they are used and think about what their significance is in relation to the scenes. Honestly this is really hard for me because I get so focused on the characters I lose track of everything else. But I did notice that it's one of the songs from the Psycho soundtrack playing during the Boy Witch/Porter phone booth scene, "I'll Never Smile Again" playing during the first prophecy, and I already knew it's "Close Your Eyes" playing during the Boy Witch solo in the speakeasy.

I was also listening for the sound of thunder, because in "Macbeth" the witches are always introduced by thunder. I heard it a few times, but already forgot where. :P Definitely during the banquet, maybe before or after the first prophecy?

And I was paying attention to words, written and spoken, because I've been re-reading "Macbeth" over the holidays. One bit I love: The Porter signs his letter:

Anon, anon! I pray you, remember
The Porter


which is an exact quote from the Porter in "Macbeth" (Act II, Scene III).

Spoken words I didn't notice much new, but did pick up: the Bald Witch saying "It's time!" and "He's coming!" before each prophecy to Macbeth, and Macbeth shouting "None of woman born shall harm Macbeth!" after the rave/second prophecy.

The Boy Witch spurned me for all of his one on ones, which... I guess I was too obvious that I wanted it? I didn't shove anyone or anything, I just followed him closely and knew where to stand. IDK. Maybe just bad luck. Anyway I WILL NEVER EVER GET THAT ONE ON ONE.

:*(
:*(
:*(

The final time I was actually very sad, so I went and watched the Porter, and he was looking longingly after the Boy Witch with the same heartbroken expression I felt, and I thought well obviously this is happening because it gets me more into the story and I can emphasize with exactly how the Porter feels. I love you, Paul Zivkovich's Porter. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Then the Porter went off to greet Agnes and (it was the last cycle) so I thought ok now I have to at least see what Maximilian and Calloway are up to in the bar. So I saw them briefly dancing, and then Calloway was dancing with Annabella and Maximilian was like dancing around them? IDK. It was weird because the people in the bar seem to be mainly people who are not enjoying the show (why else would you leave to hang out in the bar????) so the audience members were standing around the edges and the characters were in the center putting on their own show like this was the most amazing party ever. Which really does an great job of improving the atmosphere - I'm continually impressed with the mood/setting management in this show.

Maybe William Popp recognized me from having his Malcolm 1:1 earlier this month - he saw me and introduced me to Annabella, who smiled at me upside down as he was dipping her backwards, and I said hi. Then they went off and I was like, ok, I can't take being in the bar when the show is happening. So went back to following that mean, beautiful Boy Witch to the end. ♥♥

I was watching the Porter closely before and during the last phone booth dance. I know I keep repeating but he is just so wonderful. He made a lot of eye contact and I was pretty sure I could have his 1:1 if I wanted it, but I already had it once and it just seems wrong to have the same 1:1 with the same actor/character - someone new should have the opportunity to experience it. So I went elsewhere.

I will make one very minor critique. There's this one moment in the phone booth dance that Jordan Morley did best of all the Boy Witches. The Boy Witch lures the Porter into the phone booth, and the Porter is so hesitant but so infatuated (OMG Porter ♥♥♥♥), so the Boy Witch draws him in, and is being all sexy, and drops to his knees in front of the Porter. And the way Jordan Morley did it, it was like, real. The Porter is so infatuated with him and it actually felt like the Boy Witch was going to go for it right there--before he stands up and knocks the Porter around and, oh, poor Porter. :*( But anyway - I don't know, it's like the vicarious rejection you feel on the Porter's behalf was stronger because the moment felt more real. Whereas every other Boy Witch I've seen does it like a piece of choreography. It's a performed suggestion, but never for a moment does it feel real.

Very minor.

So anyway, at the end of the show, one of the characters (one of the fourth floor characters I hadn't followed at all, I think played by Jeffery Lyon) put his hands around my neck and slowly tightened them during the final moments. It was SCARY and exhilarating. I don't know how to explain - like, I've seen a lot of visual stories, I've listened to a lot of music - I'm more cynical about these art forms. It takes a lot to impress me, to get past my critical faculties and make me feel something. But I've never had a story told with touch, and I'm incredibly sensitive to touch anyway - like I can't even stand to get a massage because I hate having strangers touch me. So having a character touch me is terrifying. But it's not upsetting like, say, a massage would be, because the point of a massage is that you're supposed to relax, which I can't do, but the point of a character touching you in SNM is exactly what happens to me - my heart races and I'm terrified. It's so visceral.

I was thinking about how SNM gets you via all five senses:

* Sight, obviously. Not just the characters but the incredible lighting, the props, and the amazing settings, down to all the paintings on the walls and the color schemes of the rooms...
* Sound, obviously. The music is ubiquitous and just about perfect. And because the characters speak so rarely, the sounds they do make have a huge impact.
* Smell - dried herbs, graveyard dirt, chocolate blood... I can't identify all the smells but I regularly have these moments where I go into a new place or someone walks by and I smell something that takes me right back to a moment in SNM. Scent memory is so immediate and powerful.
* Taste - Drinks from the bar, candy from the candy shop, white chocolate, milk, tears, poisoned candy, a shot of whiskey....
* Touch - Audience brushing by (and occasionally shoving you out of the way :P), characters taking your hand, spinning you for a dance, pulling you into a private place where they move you around and you are just along for the ride... crying on your shoulder, touching your face, feeling out your bones... there is just nothing else like it.

So anyway, after the OMG HIS HANDS ARE AROUND MY NECK, he left, and Lady Macbeth turned around and took my arm. She walked me out and Tori Sparks you are amazing ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥. I couldn't stop looking at her face - the whole time she had this dreamy, lost, beautiful expression, and then at the end she took off my mask and kissed me, and I was just like ........ jjlkdjfak;djklajfkd next time I have to follow Lady Macbeth.

So then Mike and I hung out at the bar and talked, there was a band, the atmosphere there is always so lovely, and the gin gimlets are perfection. Several actors were there, and I was really tempted to go up to Conor Doyle or Paul Zivkovich and tell them they are wonderful and thank them, but... IDK. Partly it's that I'm very shy, but I can overcome shy if I want to. It's that partly I really don't want to meet them. I like the fourth wall and I want to be able to watch the characters next time without thinking about what the actor was like when I met them. I have not met any of the actors and I kind of prefer it that way? Even though I also think it would be nice to say hi and tell them they're great.

I guess last call is 3:30? We stayed very late and honestly, I just love that place and would live there if I could. Afterward the really nice bouncer (ok my mission next time is to learn his name so I stop mentally referring to him as "the really nice bouncer") called me by name and asked if I was coming to NYE. Which yes, of course. :) I have my "hunted" dress & everything. ;) But just the party, not the show, which is probably for the best - I've been so many times recently that it's starting to become rote. I should probably wait a while so I can build up anticipation and forget things, so that it'll be more exciting again.

When I came home, I found chocolate blood splattered across my cheek - how did it get there behind the mask?? Either it somehow got splattered from the side during the rave, or it came from Lady Macbeth kissing me. ♥♥

So my missions for the future:

* Follow Paul Zivkovich's Porter for another cycle, but not the 1:1 since I've already had it. Just to appreciate what an amazing actor he is.
* Follow Tony Bordonaro's Banquo for a cycle (I have never followed Banquo for a full cycle, and he is a great dancer), and try for the 1:1 since I've never had it with him
* Follow Elizabeth Romanski's Hecate for a cycle - I've only seen her briefly, but I had a 1:1 with her and what I saw of her was amazing. I definitely want to see more, she is just so fabulous and campy and scary.
* Follow Tori Spark's Lady Macbeth, during the first cycle when it's not so crowded (I usually avoid the Macbeths but she just really impressed me last night).
* Follow Austin Goodwin's Speakeasy Barman, because he is lovely and I've never followed the character very long and I want to see what he does.
* One day I will get that 1:1 with Conor Doyle's Boy Witch. ONE DAY!
* Spend more time in the bar. Those characters are part of the show too... it's not like ditching the show to see what happens there, right? IDK, I won't find out until I try...
* Follow Ching-I Chang's Sexy Witch. Always been on my list, just never have. She is always wonderful.
* Follow the Bald Witch. I'm sad because Kelly Bartnik is gone, but Omagbitse Omagbemi is growing on me. I love all the witches & am always meaning to follow each of them, I just get um distracted by that damn Boy Witch.
* Long term dream: see Conor Doyle's Porter. But I doubt it will happen because it's apparently very rare. But I think I would just about die seeing this.
* Discover more goals - there are several mainly 4th or 5th floor characters I have barely seen anything of, because they just haven't grabbed my interest for whatever reason. But my goal is to keep an open mind and look for opportunities to become intrigued.
* Finish my close read of "Macbeth" and look for "Macbeth"-related moments & questions.
* Look for Hecate's ring? IDK it sounds kind of futile TBH, how many people must be looking for it? I don't really want to spend $75 to hunt around the set for a ring. OTOH I have a couple of ideas, I could just check....... :P

So anyway, tl;dr - the show was amazing & wonderful as always. :)

Originally published at rusty-halo.com. You can comment here or there.

rusty-halo.com

I blog about fannish things. Busy with work so don't update often. Mirrored at rusty-halo.com.

June 2017

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