Punchdrunk Presents NYC Site-Specific Interactive Play Sleep No More

Sleep No More, an interactive play based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is one of the most highly regarded site-specific shows in NYC. After hearing raving reviews, I had to see what the hype was all about.

(photo credit: Yaniv Schulman)

Punchdrunk, a British site-specific theater company, has transformed three warehouses in NYC’s Chelsea to create an interactive experience based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  On the online website, the space for Sleep No More is named the fictional McKittrick Hotel (a nod to Hitchcock’s Vertigo). The theater company goes so far as to give a creative back story on the website, explaining the hotel was created in 1939, but was condemned two days after the outbreak of World War II. From the start, the ambiance is set for a spooky and eerie night.

The Venetian Style Mask each audience member has to wear..if you dare (Photo Credit: theworldbyus.com)

Upon arriving at the McKittrick Hotel we were each given a playing card and told to move to the next room. There, we instantly stepped into a 1930s nightclub, where the drinks were flowing and the singers were crooning.  Fog, flickering lights, actors keeping their character, and period clothing immediately takes you back.

When your playing card number is called, you move on to the elevator, in which you are given a white Venetian styled mask and asked not to speak for the rest of your duration. While in the elevator, you are encouraged to snoop around, poke around, and find the hidden secrets of the hotel. The bell hop splits up groups, puts you on different floors, and lets you to experience it alone.  Like a kid a candy factory, you patiently await your turn to get off the elevator.

Isadora Wolfe, actress in Sleep No More ( Photo Credit: Jamie Watts)

Audience members move freely throughout the “McKittrick Hotel”, choosing their own path, following characters, and creating their own theater story. Feeling much like stepping into Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, the floors of the theater building are designed with intricate and well planned details that make you feel as if you stepped back into the 1930s film noir.

The characters, dressed in 1930s attire, walk freely through the hotel. If you choose to follow them, they take you up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, as the masks hold your ambiguity. Riffle through the drawers of a desk, watch the nurse silently cut out pages of a book, or watch characters dance in a forest like room of lighted trees. Whatever path you take, it’s your choice.

After 2 and 1/2 hours in the McKittrick Hotel, I was blown away. The sets are amazing. From a creepy room just filled with clear water bath tubs (except for one that eerily looks like blood), to a grand ballroom, to a graveyard-like room filled with dirt and tombstones, this is a highly recommended experience. I was inspired at the depth of the acting, sets, and scenes. To watch such high level of theater in a dingy warehouse in Chelsea was inspiring. I highly you suggest you check out Sleep No More and the McKittrick Hotel before it becomes “condemned” again.

Photo Credit: Eric Laignel

WHEN: Sleep No More is an indoor promenade performance lasting up to three hours. There are five arrival times per performance.

Monday — Thursday
7:30 p.m.  |  7:45 p.m. |  8 p.m.  |  8:15 p.m.  |  8:30 p.m.

Friday & Saturday
7 p.m. |  7:15 p.m. |  7:30 p.m. |  7:45 p.m. |  8 p.m.

Friday & Saturday Nights
11 p.m.  |  11:15 p.m.  |  11:30 p.m.  |  11:45 p.m.  |  11:59 p.m.

“The McKittrick Hotel”
530 West 27th Street
New York, New York 10001

TICKETS: For inquiries on ticket purchases, please contact Ovation Tix at 866-811-4111 or click here. Opportunities for groups may be available during your visit. Email groups@sleepnomorenyc.com for details.

—Ashley Massis

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