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Author Topic: The McKittrick Hotel - Punchdrunk Theater Company's, "Sleep No More"  (Read 12071 times)
handfulofrubies82
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« on: July 31, 2011, 10:27:34 AM »

Punchdrunk Theater Company has done it again. They first brought Sleep No More to Boston a couple of years ago, but now that it has hit NYC, everyone's talking about it. So, its not a haunt, but more of a theatrical performance with a set that is both immersive and interactive. (Though, with the story line, ghost, witches...and lots of different actors, its probably got that haunt feel.) The theater company took over three Chelsea warehouses, gutted them and turned them into the McKittrick Hotel. Inside, actors interpret the story of Macbeth. "The idea is once you’re let loose on one of the floors of the hotel, you pick out a single character and pursue him or her (though you can switch any time you want), as the performer runs, dances and vaults all over the place."
Here are some reviews. Definitely read through, as they give many more details, along with some pictures that show you how cool this really is.

Official Site: http://sleepnomorenyc.com/
Good review with pics and video: http://www.coolhunting.com/culture/sleep-no-more.php
Lots of Description:  http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/theater/reviews/sleep-no-more-is-a-macbeth-in-a-hotel-review.html
More pics/slideshow:  http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/04/14/theater/20110414-sleepnomore-2.html
More Details of the rooms: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/theater/sleep-no-more-from-punchdrunk-transforms-chelsea-warehouses.html?_r=1

If you can get to NYC before Sept., def. try and get tickets. Lots of shows are already sold out for August.  I've been following online the shows that this theater company has put on for the last couple of years, and if I ever get a chance to be in the city where they have a performance, I'm definitely attending.

I wish more haunts could veer towards this style. I'm aware of many reasons that it wouldn't work at our haunts, I just want a more interactive experience.  

This company used Macbeth as their story, what story would you like to see portrayed in this manner?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 11:29:04 AM by handfulofrubies82 » Logged

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Radiant_Red
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 12:27:04 AM »

This performance would be AMAZING to attend. I can't imagine. If only we had something around here like this.
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 07:35:48 PM »

I'm so excited!! Radiant_Red and I are attending this Saturday night!!! I never thought I'd get to see this show. Facebook has a page with lots of interesting discussions on it.
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 01:53:14 PM »

Before the McKittrick Hotel opened up early spring, the company did some kind of game, where people received clues. It eventually led to a meetup with a character on the streets of NYC.  Read the description on facebook of the encounter. You might have to sign-in first to read it. It sounds scary and fun, very intriguing.
https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=144755362249121&topic=120
I don't know if haunts could ever do this, but it would be cool.  It would be hard, if you weren't a haunt in a city building with covert entrances. I do like the whole mystery surrounding the meetup though.
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 06:48:34 PM »

Went last night and it was awesome!! Give me a day and I'm going to write up a review. It was unlike anything I've ever participated in and been able to experience. If I lived in NYC or closer, I would HAVE to go back multiple times. I highly reccomend it if you have the chance to go.
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Radiant_Red
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 07:37:24 PM »

Really good video about it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13167360
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 10:24:49 PM »

Review of McKittrick Hotel - Sleep No More
(I don't claim these photos to be mine. They're gathered from articles. They've been widely circulated, but if any photographers  should want them removed in the future, I will.)

I've been trying to type up this review for a week now. How do I describe such an amazing experience.? I've decided to share with you my most favorite moments. There are so many interesting details, but typing them up would take up pages and pages. If you want more details , there are several more articles written describing various parts of the show.
Welcome:
So we met up at this building on what looked like a pretty abandoned street somewhere in Chelsea. Just a lot of closed, brick buildings. Our building was only identified by a little brass plate that said McKittrick Hotel by the door. After forming a line, we were ushered in right at 7:00pm. We were advised to check our bags (as we weren't allowed to enter some of the rooms with bags) and when we checked in to the front desk, we received a playing card (an Ace.) From there we entered almost darkness. Up and down a hallway, up some stairs, another hallway and it eventually led to a bar area, straight out of the 1930/1940's. 


Isn't it beautiful? It was a functioning bar, with waiters and waitresses dressed the part. We all found seats and then they began calling groups by the cards we were given at check-in. All the Aces were called (first group) and we all crowded into a large elevator. A group of about 15 of us got on a large freight elevator and headed up to the floors. At this point, 1 person was pushed out onto the 6th floor. The rest of us were pushed out on floors, in groups of about 4-5 people.
5th Floor: "I saved the best for last," is what the cute elevator attendant said in his Scottish brogue. Shortly after we started exploring the 5th floor, Casey and split up. I explored bedrooms and a creepy nursery with a mobile of stuffed, ragged teddy bears. Shortly I stumbled onto an awesome graveyard. It had a earthy, moist odor, it was dark, and objects were highlighted in bluish light. I was concentrating on a statue that I was for sure alive, but it wasn't. I know missed things. All that excitement at the beginning caused me to rush through some of these early scenes. Some seem like a blur now.  I remember going through one room with lots of hanging laundry. What made it stand out in my memory was the fact that it was very dark and almost maze like. A few of the dresses were still soaking wet and you had to push past them to find your way through. **Not only was I using the main senses of sight and hearing that you would use everywhere, but that cold, wet dress added another element that was unique. I've read in some other articles that I didn't explore this room enough and there were definitely other hidden rooms inside; damn, if I only had more time.
 

It wasn't nearly as well-lit as this photo implies, but I spent a lot time running around this street scene. Everywhere you see windows on the side represents a room. Its set up like street scene at night, with a mortician's business, and others I can't remember. After being on this floor for about thirty minutes, I heard loud music coming from this area. I might have followed dancing witches. The music started, an upped my excitement. The music was big, like in a movie - indicating that something big was going to happen. The bald witch beckoned me towards the end of the hall. I followed. If you see a dark looking alley on the left hand side of the photo, towards the far end, this is where she was leading us. I approached and attempted to look down the hall. Immediately she was behind me, put her hands on my shoulders and shoved me into the darkness, laughing.  A group of us were running down the hall towards another room and we arrive at a scene I won't too soon forget. It has a lot of names. Witches Orgy, Demonic Rave, I don't know what to call it, but strange, and scary. All the witches converge in the room, the music, some kind of dance, rave-like beat is going, the strobe lights are going crazy. They all start dancing, gyrating and it got crazy and weird really quick. In Macbeth, this is where the witches foretell to Macbeth all the things that will happen in his future.  The male witch gets totally naked, dancing on a table and puts a creepy goat head on. I guess the witches dance with the Devil. (I didn't care for that part. I don't like anything that revolves around Demonic things.) Anyway, all witches, two female and one male get it on together, there is a bloody baby born/aborted IDK??, and then after 3-5 minutes,  it ends and everyone disperses.  I walked out of that one thinking WTF just happened? You can read other articles, some people go into much more detail.
Sometime after the witch orgy, I found a staircase and discovered the 4th floor. I spent a lot of time there. This floor houses the main lobby/lounge area. A lot of scenes take place there. The witches drink together, the male witch sings a haunting Peggy Lee song, there are a set of old phone booths that house a lot of action.
 

Off to the side, there is an empty dining room. The first time I investigate I'm alone. I just wander in an inspect the many tables. They're covered in linens, plates and utensils set like someone is coming soon to eat. The set is mostly dark with a few candles and ambient lighting. Enough to see the dishes in the sink behind the counter, like there had been previous diners. The second time I entered this room, I and another girl were following the male witch. He was upset, dancing, moving, throwing himself into the dining room. The girl before me sat down at one of the tables before us. The room lit up more once he entered. I moved closer, with a small crowd of people looking on behind me, beside the counter. You never know exactly how close to approach the actors. Especially when they're dancing and moving about the scene. As he was dancing, almost to himself,  I moved within five feet and he immediately threw himself, dramatically at my feet. He motioned for and grabbed my hand. I'm looking around like, what's happening. It's one thing to be watching something, and another to instantly become part of the active scene, with everyone watching. I felt that he had something in his hand and he passed it to me, wrapping my hand up around it at the same time. He put my hand against his face, kissed it, and then slowly rose up. He got right in my face, as close as a mask would allow, whispered in my ear to take this charm. He said something else, and told me that this charm would protect me and that I should promise to wear it always. When he was about to leave, somehow my mask gets hit, my sunglasses fall and as he's asking me to follow him, I can't because I have to find my glasses that have fallen in a dark room. Aghhh, how to ruin a moment. When I opened my hand, I found a little heart charm, strung on red thread. I think I was supposed to put it on then and there, but I was so afraid the thread would break and I'd lose it. Apparently, I've read if you do wear it, some characters recognize them and give you more attention. It was pretty neat, the one on one action. How you go from being a voyeur, or bystander watching the scene, to becoming a participant in seconds. If I hadn't been bold enough to get close, someone else would have been chosen. In the beginning, we were told, "Fortune favors the bold," and it's true. The braver you were, the more persistent,  the more likely you were to get one on one encounters. Just reading over them in other articles I was amazed.  This is the kind of thing that a lot of haunts miss out on.
 

There were a few other scenes I saw that were really cool. On the bottom floor, they held the banquet scenes. All the characters would sit down at this table that was set up the crowd that would gather. They would eat, they would move in exaggerated slow movements. It was almost a seated dance. There were crazy green and red lights that would cast upon them that set the strange mood. Afterwards some characters would disperse, and others would dance among a forest of trees that were moved into the center. There were so many things going on at one time that I missed out on a lot. Supposedly the witches dressing room and other secret rooms were down on this level; I never saw them. This banquet scene would repeat three times during the three hour period, most of it the same, with small differences. I saw it twice. You could view it on two levels.
     


Macbeth's bedroom was an interesting set. A lot of different performances happened here. After killing someone, Macbeth raced in here and Lady Macbeth would wash him off in the tub. Once again, he's completely naked. It's odd, to look around, and all you see is people is white masks, watching everything going on.  In another scene, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth come in together, crawl into bed, and they have a roundabout performance dancing everywhere around the rooms. In the bed, around the room, up on suitcases. It was crazy, people that were standing and sitting were scrambling to get out of their way. Eventually Macbeth leaves and Lady Macbeth does her "out damn spot" which was interesting. She has a dressing room which she has to climb up into where I believe some people are pulled up into if you are bold enough to stick with her character and constantly follow her. These one on one encounters are one part persistence and one part pure luck. If a character can catch you alone, you're a lot more likely to have one of these, but that's hard to do the later the evening gets because more people are let into the performance as the night goes on.
Between seeing different scenes and character' performances, I explored rooms. A lot of the time, I was in them alone. I might stumble onto a room that one other person or 10 other people. I tried to spend some time examining details, like flipping through books, looking in jewelry boxes and reading letters. The whole time I felt split; do I look for characters or do I just appreciate the detailed sets. Even though I had three hours in the space, I missed out on seeing so many rooms. I missed the apothecary. I missed a huge tree lined maze. I missed the famed candy room. I passed several locked doors I couldn't get into. I saw rooms Casey didn't see and she saw rooms I didn't see; and we both missed the candy room. She had an encounter with a character I'll have to let her tell about. Even though we separated, for the first hour I kept running into her in various rooms. After that, I lost her. I would look for her, but never found her. She found me during the last scene, the hanging scene in the banquet area. I just happened to walk in on it by chance. It seemed like everyone else was already there. I came late to the party, lol. I came just in time to see Macbeth hanged. As soon as it was over, we were ushered back to the bar. Those three hours were a rush. Unfortunately, coming down the stairs to go to the hanging, I tripped, caught myself, but rolled my ankle. Thankfully it didn't break or sprain, but I was limping a little. Running up and down those stairs, I imagine I'm not the only person who has almost taken a tumble to keep up with the characters.  It was a great night. Most people hung around to enjoy the bar. If it hadn't been so crowded, we might have. I loved that atmosphere. The singers and musicians were really good and fit the time period. They sold a souvenir program which I snapped up. We were never really introduced to the characters, so I had to see who played whom, and more details on the whole thing all together. I also just wanted something with the McKittrick name to take home. I wish they would release official photos whenever this show comes to an end. I found many that have come out in various newspapers that did articles, but there are rooms missing. I guess that adds to the mystique.
I wish I had another chance to go and attend. I missed so much. I would definitely spend more time chasing specific characters. I wanted to see those secret rooms. I wanted to be chosen. I would be bold the next time around.
Once you see this show in person it blows your mind. I've done nothing but think about it since I walked out that night. You don't get this type of interaction anywhere else. I wish haunts could be more like this. I was kind of amazed thinking back on it. Granted, these tickets were more than what we pay for at local haunts. I'm stating that because I think the cost alone sets apart the clientele we sometimes see at regular haunts. I'm talking about the trouble makers, the jokers that want to act tough, threaten or hit people. You are told from the beginning you can't talk, so there is no talking back to the characters. I saw people participating, but I never saw a participant cross the line. Then again, I'm not sure where the line was. I don't know what makes the difference, but there is one.  I never saw security guards protecting the actors. There were what I would call "stage hands" in black masks that were always around, checking on things, but most of them were women. I saw a couple of men that guarded the 6th floor staircase. The whole concept was "be brave, be bold, participate! They wanted you to engage in the storyline. To become part of the performance. I read an account where Macbeth ran into a showering room, naked, and the three or four participants helped him get dressed. At regular haunts, I see that being a disaster waiting to happen, but at the McKittrick, it works.
I've also thought about the issue of touching people. I've noticed at our local haunts, a couple have started to become more active, allowing there actors to touch or graze people. We didn't have to sign any kind of waiver for Sleep No More, but I think that anyone who did any reading knew going in that they might be touched. It came in many different forms. I was shoved down a hallway, as hard as the actress could push me. My hands were taken and kissed. I know some people were pushed up against walls and held there. The actors would put their hands on your shoulders. Some people were kissed on their cheeks. It varied a lot. I would say, this was very much something you would never see at a haunt, but as time goes by and interactive theater becomes more popular, will that transfer over to haunts?
I implore you to read more about Sleep No More. These articles all discuss different aspects of the show. Some are about One on One experiences people had. Some are about reaching the exclusive 6th floor and what happens there. Ever since I got back, I've read every article I can get my hands on.
•   http://blaszko.tumblr.com/post/5226723458/passing-hecates-test

http://ediebeale.tumblr.com/post/6293273667/sleep-no-more

http://alexleefitz.tumblr.com/post/6370838962/my-spoilerific-review-account-of-sleep-no-more-i

http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=3824

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13167360

http://plumblealong.tumblr.com/post/5249139558/things-i-want-to-remember-forever

http://morningmidnight.com/post/5838109732/sleep-no-more

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/shows/newyorklive/New_York_Live__Sleep_No_More_New_York-124350769.html

http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=3816

http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpoukakdzD1qd8smro2_500.jpg

http://vjarmy.com/archives/2011/07/the-witch-in-the-green-dress-thoughts-on-sleep-no-more.php

http://www.peterjlu.com/2011/08/real-life-afterlife-sleep-no-more.html

http://themisadventuresofmadamek.blogspot.com/2011/04/sleep-no-more-spoilers.html

http://deliasherman.livejournal.com/131634.html
The Anthropology of Human Behavior - Passing Hecate’s Test
blaszko.tumblr.com
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nctrembley0613
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 10:54:33 PM »

This is amazing, oohhhhhh i want to go so bad, it's in NYC right?  How did you find out about this?  Thanks for the review, great detail!  I am googleing it right now.....
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krb187
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2011, 10:56:44 PM »

Wow, that looks really amazing. I wouldn't mind checking that out myself.
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2011, 11:10:26 PM »

I had heard about Punchdrunk theater for about two years now, the stuff they do in London. Somehow, maybe from a NYC blog (i'm always reading about NYC), I heard about Sleep No More. Then I heard about it on tv, and then in a magazine (If you attended in April, you would have been running around with a lot of celebs). I was amazed by just reading the articles about it. Never thought I'd have a chance to experience it myself. Then it happened and it was amazing. If you can get to it, I highly reccomend it. They keep extending it. It was supposed to be only 6 weeks, and now its running until Nov. 5, 2011. If I could find a cheaper way of getting there, I'd go again. Haha, I think we need a frightseeker road trip.
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packbacker
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 11:40:19 AM »

Thanks for sharing.....that sounds AMAZING.
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Radiant_Red
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 11:16:17 PM »

Still trying to plot a way back. I hope they keep extending it! Maybe we could find a way back in December. Fortune favors the bold! I dream big.
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Radiant_Red
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 01:22:40 AM »

100th Post Alert!! Fitting it would be about this place....Sleep No More is hosting a Halloween Masquerade the week of 10/26-10/31.  I can't even imagine what they could do. The possibilities are endless. Still trying to find my way back to the McKittrick.

This will be amazing!!

http://offbroadway.broadwayworld.com/article/SLEEP-NO-MORE-to-Host-Halloween-Masquerade-1026-31-20110922
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ReLlIK ThE KiLlEr CloWn
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 11:43:09 AM »

<------------------You got yourself a huge theatre kid right here...

I want to act in this! This just sounds amazing! I WANNA GO BADLY!!!!!
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2011, 03:55:25 PM »

The last time I heard, it had been extended until Dec. 21st. If you can get to NYC, I highly reccomend it. Its so popular they keep extending it, but once they stop, I don't know if it will ever be brought back.
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