Worthwhile Theater Splurge: “Sleep No More”

The McKittrick Hotel is not a real hotel, but rather an elaborate five-story stage for the mysterious characters of the show, Sleep No More.

Sleep No More Picture

My friend, Lauren, and I decided to give each other our future birthday gifts and splurge to see PunchDrunk’s show, Sleep No More, a Macbeth-inspired experiential theater production. It takes place in the “McKittrick Hotel” near the High Line in Chelsea, and it’s one of the most mind-blowing shows I’ve ever seen. Well, it was actually one of the weirdest, out-of-body experiences I’ve ever had in general.

I’ll take you through without giving too much away:

First, we entered the “hotel,” checked our coats and checked in at the front desk. An old-timey attendant gave us a “room key” and directed us toward a long dark maze. The maze opens up to a hazy speakeasy, filled with classily gowned women and tuxedoed men. We could have had a drink or listened to the live cabaret, but we decided to start our journey instead.

pitch black
A very accurate depiction of what we saw in the maze

We entered a dark elevator and a polite attendant (in character) dropped us off with the rest of our group on a random floor. We were given white masks and were free to move around, without talking, for up to three hours within the hotel.

The set was elaborate and absolutely amazing. A graveyard, a ballroom, a taxidermist’s office, an asylum, a church and all kinds of hidden rooms comprise the McKittrick hotel. And sprinkled within this intriguing edifice were the wandering masked audience and the elusive characters of the show.

Sleep No More
Credit: SleepNoMore.com

We started off together, then our curiosity got the best of us and we wandered alone, which was highly suggested by the elevator attendant. I had a blast. The characters were captivating, and most of them were professional dancers so there were many elements of dance scattered throughout. I chased after a woman running with a sparkly gown, followed a scared-looking nurse through a window, hung out with a bartender who did a few card tricks and gave us shots of whiskey, watched a slow-motion banquet, watched a guy sleeping in his bed (yes I realize how creepy that sounds), found a concierge writing a love note…but I didn’t even see all of it.

If you put together all the scenes that occur throughout the play, it would be 14 hours long. I even plan on going back to see more. Keep in mind that if you go to see this, it’s very different. You have to be open to it, and let your curiosity lead.

And don’t wear heels.

Sleep No More Speakeasy
Lauren, annoyed at me for taking a picture


To see the show:

Purchase tickets on http://www.SleepNoMore.com. Tickets run $80-$100 per person.

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