The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Sleep no More

August 2, 2011

Moving on from the norm for a day to talk about the theatre. Last night I had the awesome joy of seeing Sleep No More which was inspired by Shakespeare’s “MacBeth.” I’m not really a theatre person but this was nothing short of incredible and deserves a post to say the least.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I generally just nod my head and hand over cash when someone wants to go to the theatre. Never mind this occasion when it was a work outing and all I had to do was nod my head – no cash required. I glanced over the wordy New York Times review and hoped for the best.

To say my expectations were met would be an understatement. This 1930’s style production was from Punchdrunk, a British site-specific theatre company. Over three abandoned warehouses on west 27th street were taken over and made into a maze of theatrical immersion. The location, the McKittrick Hotel has been abandoned and condemned since the late 1930s. The whole thing was just really weird.

From the first moment inside the door, we were immersed in darkness. The walk to the bag check alone was horrifying. While I could make out my work cohorts easily enough, finding the walls and where to step was a whole other issue. Once we made our way to the bar area we were immediately given a card which was our entrance into the hotel. We donned the required masks and were dropped off on different floors, purposely separated from our friends.

I was let off at the pysch ward, wandering upon a nurse laying out clothes inside of row of bathtubs. From there I moved through the floor, sifting through doctors offices, reading patient charts and touching everything I could possible touch.

There were apparently a few ways to approach this experience. Many chose to follow one actor the entire way through and by the end I could see, as I watched from a balcony, white masked patrons sprinting through the spooky set design hoping to catch up with these incredibly fast actors.

I chose the easiest (quickly growing tired of the crowds running after the actors), which was watching a scene, wandering off, coming across another scene and wandering off again. My favorite part (before the crowds had formed) was in the cardboard bar type room with a pool table. I was lucky enough, along with my co-worker B, to happen across two actors doing an amazing dance across a pool table. It was intimate and amazing, feeling as though I was inside a TV set watching a 1930’s movie two feet away.

I can’t get over this experience. To write about it doesn’t really seem to do it justice. The amount of detail, the dancing, the costumes, the actors, the bloody orgy dance scene(!) were breathtaking. To see it all in one night is impossible, as many have documented. I spent the whole time fearful of what’s behind the each door but at the same time smiling, stunned with each discovery. I can’t wait to go back.

To check out a review from someone in our group visit Heather Goes to the Theatre. She’s actually a theatre person so if you can about the whole how does “MacBeth” fit into this thing her review can help you out.

Until tomorrow! Have a great rest of the day!

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