It was about the time when a nurse grabbed my hand, pulled me from the crowd into a private room, locked the door, and put a necklace on me saying “this will protect you from danger,” that I realized Sleep No More is one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had in New York City.
Sleep No More is an immersive theatrical production put on by the British company Punchdrunk, and chances are you’ve never seen anything like it.
They’ve taken over an entire abandoned building at 530 West 27th Street and built some absolutely incredible sets spanning 100,000 square feet over five floors – including, of course, the McKittrick Hotel seen in Monday’s post (I never seem to get that April Fools date right…).This isn’t a stage show – rather, you are allowed to freely roam the entire 100-room set, which includes a taxidermist’s shop, a witches lair, a detective agency, a graveyard, and so many more that I don’t want to ruin by giving them away here.
You can touch what you want, sit where you want, open what you want – exploring is encouraged, as every item could contain a clue to the mystery.
As you explore, the play literally happens around you, a story best described as Macbeth meets Hitchcock. You might stumble on a vicious murder, an orgy (with nudity!), a violent card game, a ball in full swing. Whether you stay and watch, or continue to explore, is completely up to you (though you’ll find it hard to resist chasing after an actor when he barrels by covered in blood).Oh, and did I mention that every single audience member has to remain silent, and wear a Venetian mask?