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Sleep No More is the New York City production of an immersive theatre work created by the British theatre company Punchdrunk. It is primarily based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth, with inspiration also taken from noir films (especially those of Alfred Hitchcock), as well as some reference to the 1697 Paisley witch trials. It builds on their original 2003 London incarnation (at the Beaufoy Building) and their Brookline, Massachusetts 2009 collaboration with Boston's American Repertory Theatre (at the Old Lincoln School). The company reinvented Sleep No More as a co-production with Emursive, beginning performances on March 7, 2011. Sleep No More won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and won Punchdrunk special citations at the 2011 Obie Awards for design and choreography.
|Sleep No More
|Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle
|March 7, 2011 (2011-03-07)
|McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th Street, New York City
|English (mostly mute)
|McKittrick Hotel and environs, Gallow Green, Glamis, Forfar, Scotland
Sleep No More adapts the story of Macbeth, deprived of nearly all spoken dialogue and set primarily in a dimly-lit, 1930s-era establishment called the McKittrick Hotel, whose website claims it has been recently "restored" but which is actually a block of warehouses in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood transformed into a hotel-like performance space. Sleep No More's presentational form is considered promenade theatre, in which the audience walks at their own pace through a variety of theatrically designed rooms, as well as environmental theatre, in which the physical location, rather than being a traditional playhouse, is an imitation of the actual setting. It is also best described as immersive theatre, rather than interactive theatre, because although the audience may move through the settings, interact with the props, or observe the actors at their own pace, their interference has no bearing on the story or the performers except in rare instances.
Contrary to what some believe, Sleep No More is not any kind of haunted attraction. In their exploration, audience members can come upon instances of full nudity, bright lights (including strobe lights), lasers, fog, and haze, as well as being separated from the rest of their party. The email that guests receive upon their impending experience does note that the work is best experienced individually, and that audience members might experience "intense psychological situations."
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