But for the rest of the evening, and into the next day, and the day after, a small, perverse part of my subconscious is still thinking about that moment, about that dance, about that kiss, those parting words. I know it’s all an act, and I am one of many lucky people who will leave the show having experienced a spine-tingly one-on-one experience. I am not unique. But there’s still a piece of me that doesn’t want to let go of the few short minutes when The Drowned Man stopped being a spectacle to be watched, and instead became something I was part of. It lit up something inside me that’s left me feeling dreamy and open and weirdly, unexpectedly giddy.
– From raspberry beret girl
See, I’m not the only one!
In my least generous moments, I think Punchdrunk is pretty much evil for luring people in like this. (She says as she contemplates booking another ticket to London…)
Sorry just one more SNM thing.
It struck me last night, and never really hit me before – the moments Macbeth and Lady Macbeth see the audience. I’ve followed Lady Macbeth a few times recently (Tori Sparks twice right before she left, and Omagbitse Omagbemi Friday night) and then three-looped Macbeth last night, so the parallels between them were fresh in my mind.
For the first half of their loop, the Macbeths are completely oblivious to the audience. They don’t see or interact with us at all.
It starts when Macbeth kills Duncan. As he runs back to the Macbeth bedroom with the blood on his hands, he stops under a light and turns around and the audience sees the blood on his hands. But he’s not doing this just to show his hands to the audience. He looks at us. For the first time, he sees us. Like we are these lurking supernatural creatures, visible to him now because of the horror he’s committed.
Then after Lady Macbeth bathes him, they both huddle on the bed, and for a moment they both seem to see us. They look at us with a kind of vague horror, like they can suddenly see the wisps of us appearing out of the ether around them.
It’s like by committing the murder, they are corrupted, evil, and now they can see us. We are ghosts, spirits, supernatural creatures. The sane characters can’t see us – the only other characters who see us are the supernatural ones (the witches, Hecate, and Hecate’s thrall the Speakeasy Barman).
I think it’s also a sign of their increasing insanity.
Macbeth runs upstairs to the rave, stops at the top of the fourth floor to put his socks and shoes on, stands up, and then has this moment where he looks at the audience. He can see us clearly, and is suspicious and horrified and kind of ecstatically crazed by our appearance. He sees us during the rave, too – we’re in a circle around the witches and Macbeth doing their prophecy/orgy, like we are these ethereal ghosts coming out of the same spaces from which the witches themselves emerge.
Meanwhile Lady Macbeth stays on the bed and does this writhing dance trying to get the blood off her hands, and she too can see us. When she walks up to the fourth floor to greet Macbeth after he finishes the rave and kills Banquo, she is now grabbing the audience members, clutching them, whispering lines from the play to them. She also sees us during her final walk up to the fifth floor insane asylum – the nurse strips her and puts her in the bath, and then she climbs out, naked and alone, and reaches out to us in a kind of insane broken daze.
It’s so freaking cool how this show is structured.
And it’s so ridiculous to read those reviews from people saying “This had nothing to do with Macbeth” or “This made no sense.” Nonsense. It’s transformative – it turns “Macbeth” inside out and interprets it through a very different medium, but it is so deeply engaged with the text.
Some people talk about their Sleep No More visits being followed by an immediate crash. I don’t have that – I usually get about a week of euphoria afterward. The crash from last Monday is just hitting me now on Sunday night. I miss it there.
I realized my attendance count is off.
Last time I checked, I counted 13 cards and 13 entries in my order history at sleepnomorenyc.com, so I assumed I’d been 13 times, despite a mysterious mental count of 14.
But last night I remembered that one time I went in without a card, because I lost track of time drinking at Gallow Green and was rushed in late. (Nice lady just handed me a mask and sent me in without checking my ticket or anything.)
And one time I bought a ticket which wouldn’t show in my order history, because I got in on a waitlist to a special night (I think Remixed) and they asked for my credit card via email, which is dangerous, so I called and gave it to them over the phone.
So my mental count of 14 back then was right … which means I’ve been 17 times now.
And I already have 18, 19, 20, and 21 booked. :)
I went to Then She Fell Friday night, which is an immersive theater experience similar to Sleep No More. I’d like to review it on its own merits, but honestly I didn’t think it was all that interesting on its own, so I’m going to compare it to Sleep No More. (Every other audience member I spoke to was also there because Sleep No More had pinged their interest.)
Then She Fell was smaller on every level – audience (15 people), cast, space, time (2 hours), detail, diversity of content and theme. Well, except cost – a Friday evening Then She Fell cost $10 more than a Friday evening Sleep No More. :P
Not to be too negative – I can definitely see why some people would prefer Then She Fell. It is:
* Much more controlled. You are always guided through the space, so you see everything you’re supposed to see, and there’s no risk of missing major scenes. There’s also no fighting through crowds or peering over heads. And no anxiety over where to go, or fear that you’re missing something.
* Much safer. No running up and down stairs. Minor amounts of walking. Frequent opportunities to sit.
* Guarantees you a couple of drinks and some candy. (The wine and tea were excellent; I didn’t eat any of the food since it probably wasn’t vegan.)
* Largely a series of one-on-ones. You also have opportunities to speak to the characters and show off your own witty repartee if you desire. (I find this unpleasant, but I know extrovert friends who hated the enforced silence of Sleep No More.)
* You don’t have to wear a mask.
* There were a few things I thought were done quite well (though they’d have had a greater impact if I hadn’t already seen similar things in Sleep No More). The use of one-way mirrors was extensive and creative. The woman playing the Mad Hatter, Elizabeth Carena, was fabulous, and I immediately found myself looking forward to her scenes. The mad tea party, with the audience participating, was fun.
So that said, here’s why I love Sleep No More a zillion times better:( Read more... )
Last night was amazing. I am officially going to every single Sleep No More party in the future.
From the Royal Huntsman’s Ball, aka last night’s New Years’ party:
(link in case embed doesn’t work)
(link in case embed doesn’t work)
Also photo gallery in which you may happen to notice me lurking in a couple shots. Along with photos like this which, if it were possible to die from looking at photos of beautiful men, I would be dead.
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.( spoilers and long recap for Sleep No More )
I’m so spoiled by other fandoms. There’s effectively an unlimited amount of supplementary material for most media fandoms — between AO3 and Tumblr I could search search the “Loki” or “Dean Winchester” tags every day and never run out of new things. Sleep No More is a lot harder–unless you’re a millionaire who can actually afford to go to the show every night, you’re basically limited to a few Tumblr blogs.
So I end up revisiting a few things over and over. Here are some of my favorites:( cut for embedded videos )
I love this Sleep No More video, which has actual interviews with actors. Not just any actors but my favorite, the unutterably beautiful Conor Doyle. Look at his pretty eyes! *swoons*
Now imagine a theater performance where he plays a dark, complicated, ~evil~ character who is also achingly vulnerable, and cries, and is unbelievably sexy and flirts with everything that moves and has hot homoerotic violent dances with both Malcolm and the Porter, and oh yeah gets fully full frontal nude for a witch orgy and then huddles in the shower afterward and has you put his clothes on for him.
See why I’ve spent so much money to see this show ten times and counting? ;)
(The last time was July 4, which was awesome. They had an afterparty on the roof with unlimited drinks and picnic food and a gorgeous view of the fireworks. And Conor Doyle was there playing the Boy Witch but I nobly didn’t stalk him and instead followed Malcolm and Macduff for their full cycles, which I hadn’t done before and which required incredible athletic prowess for me to keep up! and I got the Malcolm one-on-one which is violent and hot, and he was played by Benjamin Thys who is also gorgeous, so yay. And oh yeah my parents came with me because they were visiting for my birthday and although they were largely confused by the experience, my Dad somehow got the Porter’s one-on-one–despite wandering around aloof and confused and definitely not angling for it–and though obviously he was weirded out, he also seemed to really enjoy being singled out, so again yay.)
Last night was my 9th visit to Sleep No More. This obsession is getting a bit scary!
To be fair, I wasn’t planning to go again so soon after the Mayfair, but a group of my coworkers decided to go, and invited me, and well… they just asked so nicely… ;) And I have to admit, I was very allured by the idea of going with other people, since I am usually there on my own with no one to talk to before and after.
So apparently the ninth time was the charm, because I had my first actual one-on-ones, and two in the same night!( Spoilers for Sleep No More )
Yesterday was the most fun I’ve had all year, and by far the greatest April Fool’s anything of my life.
I’ve rambled about Sleep No More before, but in case you don’t recall, it’s:
* A mashup of Hitchcock and Macbeth
* Set to music, and mostly without speech
* Told via modern dance
* Takes place over 100 rooms of a 6-story warehouse
* Interactive with the audience (you’re free to explore the sets and props, and if you’re lucky you’ll get pulled into scenes with the actors, or even into subplots that only you are aware of)
* Choose your own adventure (you can follow actors as they go on separate paths, so it’s impossible to see the whole thing)
* Unbelievably sexy
* And dark and violent
I knew they were doing an April Fool’s Day show and assumed they’d change things up somehow, but had no idea how. SO.
First, usually when you enter, you go through a creepy maze, almost entirely in the dark, feeling your way by touch, to the sound of ~eeeerie~ music from Hitchcock films. But this time… I entered the the not-so-eerie Indiana Jones theme music. Which transitioned to the Superman theme, and then the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back.
So I walked in already cracking up. The eerie maze is not quite so eerie to the sound of the Indiana Jones score. ;)( cut for length and spoilers )
So, I am totally geeking out over Sleep No More. Last time I went was my fourth–I got kisses from both the Boy Witch and Bald Witch, and the Boy Witch gave me a locket. :) I am eagerly attending the $250 New Years Eve show and afterparty (anyone want to go with? I feel really awkward going to the party part alone, though their Halloween party was the best party I’ve ever been to, so I’m going on New Years anyway).
I can’t find the fandom, though. :( I know its out there because I keep hearing about obsessive people going over and over (*ahem*), but the closest thing I’ve found is this thread at broadwayworld.com, which has a lot of good info but doesn’t get updated that often. Surely there must be a site out there pointing fans to all the trivia and interesting stories and whatnot?
So, I can’t find it, but here are the nifty things that my Google-fu has turned up:
* A BBC piece with footage from the show and interviews with directors and actors.
* Best photos of the set that I’ve seen, along with a great (fictional) story of the building’s past as a hotel.
* From the NY Times, the show’s co-directors narrate details about six (of the hundred) rooms.
* Great interview with the theater company’s artistic director, plus details about why it’s a must-see experience.
* Neil Patrick Harris had a cameo in the show around Thanksgiving–watch him raving about the show and his experience in it.
* Audio interview with the directors in which the interviewer seems peculiarly, politely passive-aggressive.
(One of the interesting things I heard a few times in the interviews is that, even though the show is largely wordless, the dance is very specifically inspired by the dialogue in “Macbeth.” I was so discombobulated the first time I went that I didn’t really pick this up–I was too busy trying to figure out what was going on and who the characters were. But last time, I knew what characters I was seeing and how the scene corresponded to “Macbeth,” so I definitely did pick up a lot more nuances of the dance scenes and was far more riveted by them. I was thinking that the details of what’s being expressed in the dance often correspond directly to “Macbeth” dialogue, and am not at all surprised to hear it confirmed.)
* The amazing prophecy/orgy/rave scene that everyone freaks out about is set to a mix of the following songs:
(This seems to be a fan-made attempt to emulate the way the two are mashed up in the show, though it doesn’t really sound right to me.)
* There’s also a YouTube playlist of music from the show (put together by a fan).
* Here’s a discussion where people are figuring out the music.
* Last but not least, I actually put myself through an entire episode of Gossip Girl called “The Big Sleep No More” that took place largely on the set of Sleep No More. Though Gossip Girl is… not to my tastes, it does give some nifty glimpses of the actors and sets, though it doesn’t capture anything of how intense and dark the show actually is.
* Some kind of game (?) on their official website. I can’t figure out how this is supposed to work. I think it’s related to something outdated?
* I’ve also heard interesting things about what this show is “like”; it’s the closest thing you’ll ever come in real life to:
* time travel
* being in a video game
* being in a choose-your-own-adventure story
* being in a movie
* being in a dream
I wish I had more time to update this journal. I miss my fandom friends a lot.
So here’s a little update–film/theater/concerts I’ve seen recently:( Pirates of the Caribbean 4 )
( John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown )
( Derek Jacobi's King Lear )
( Scott Weiland )
( Sleep No More, again )
Aside from that, all I've been doing is working constantly and being tired and depressed. *sigh*
Things I did other than work 110 hours in 2 weeks:
I enjoyed Game of Thrones. Sean Bean is fabulous, and overall the production was incredibly faithful and thoughtfully done. It’s really amazing to see a quality adaptation of a story I love–and so rare for Hollywood to do it right!( spoilers for the 1st ep of Game of Thrones, with a little hint of what comes later )
I had a dream that I was moving back into my old apartment. At first I was super happy to be back in Manhattan and leaving Brooklyn, but then I began to remember all the miserable things about living there (constant roommate-hunting, never being alone, teeny amount of space, terror of being caught with my cats, darkness and dust and lack of light) and to miss my Brooklyn apartment, and it turned into a nightmare.
So I woke up realizing that I actually like where I live now better than where I lived then. Time Out New York just did a piece about how my neighborhood is "trendy"; we have a sushi place (with vegan options) and a vegan bar around the corner (with vegan bar snacks!) and new stuff is opening every day. And every weekend I can open the blinds from the northwest windows and the southeast windows and have light all day until the sun sets. Not to mention I have my own kitchen and a whole entire spare room. So even though I miss Manhattan, I'm glad that I'm here.
I went to see Chris Cornell last week. It was a solo acoustic show at Town Hall, which was very intimate and a unique, relaxed, friendly environment to see him in. But mostly it just reminded me that I'm more of a Soundgarden fan than a Chris Cornell fan. Thankfully to my delight, they just announced a summer tour! Not a chance I'll miss it. Have added Badmotorfinger to my otherwise all-Nick Cave rotation to celebrate. :)
Went to see Sleep No More last Saturday from 11pm-2am. Definitely the most unique theater experience I've ever seen, though I spent most of the time hot, tired, annoyed by all the people around me, and having a hard time breathing through the mask.
Still, it was amazing. So rare for an artistic experience to really surprise me. It was so meticulously detailed and huge and incredibly well put-together--moments that could have been cheesy failures if done poorly were instead all universally stunning.
For those who don't know, see the reviews linked above. A quick description is that it's like an interactive silent modern-dance Macbeth done in the style of a 30s Hitchcock film, in 3 massive warehouses (100,000 sq feet total--around 100 rooms, from little nooks and crannies to huge ballrooms and "forests") ranging over 6 floors.
( more about Sleep No More; spoilers behind the cut )