Go See – New York: “Sleep No More” at the McKittrick Hotel through June 4th 2011

April 29th, 2011

Publicity photo of “Sleep No More” at the McKittrick Hotel, courtesy Yaniv Shulman

Punchdrunk’s “Sleep No More,” a Hitchcockian interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, officially opening to the public on April 13th, 2011 at New York City’s McKittrick Hotel and has been extended due to its clearly impactful launch in New York. Since 2000, the British theater company Punchdrunk has been devoted to developing sensory theater; at “Sleep No More” audience members explore the 100 or so rooms of the hotel, encountering snippets of the performance and a unique display of theater, performance and an interactive art installation. Punchdrunk blurs the division between performer and audience, inviting spectators to explore, touch, and invent within the many spaces.

More images and text after the jump…

View of “Sleep No More” at the McKittrick Hotel, via The New York Times

The performance combines dance, speech, and music resulting in an elegant non-linear staging of Macbeth. But what are so notable are the incredibly decorated rooms in which the many scenes are staged. The hotel is a tactile creation where the audience—wearing white masks—is encouraged to become a part of the story. (For those uncomfortable with the many dark hallways, nude dancers, bloodstains—this is, after all, Macbeth, a play of murder and guilt—the downstairs jazz bar is a welcome escape of cocktails and dancing.)

View of “Sleep No More” at the McKittrick Hotel, via New York Magazine

Even without the performers, hours could be spent roaming the “hotel.” There’s a British sweet shop with jars of jellies, sno-caps, and malt balls; all are free for the taking. Further down the same floor, is a 1920’s detective agency: the walls are lined with hundreds of old envelopes and cutout pictures, and old cabinets and drawers are filled with papers. In the back is a small darkroom where various images of the same woman hang from clotheslines. Everything is as simultaneously extraordinarily real and altogether unbelievable.

Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, the directors of “Sleep No More,” work to destroy the fourth wall; within the McKittrick real life is transformed as we the audience becomes a part of the fantastical story of Macbeth. The play will run through June 4th, 2011.

-G. Linden

Related Links:
Company Website [Sleep No More]
“Sleep No More” Finds Room in Chelsea [NY Times]
Critics Pick: “Sleep No More” [NY Magazine]
At “Sleep No More,” Audience Joins the Show [Wall Street Journal]