Friday, November 11, 2011

The Best Theater Experience Ever.

So I've recently become obsessed with this show called Sleep No More. It's an interactive, dance/theater extravaganza staged in a 5 story warehouse in Manhattan, and the story is loosely based on MacBeth and Hitchcock's film Rebecca. The audience chooses its own adventure and decides what they would like to see (or not).

The first time i went, it was with a friend and we tried to stay together...bad idea. We were intrigued by different things and ended up having way too many pantomined conversations (no talking allowed!) about which way we should go and which room we should explore next. I now get why the organizers say it's best to experience this show alone.

So i went back. Alone. and with a different strategy. Your first visit is such sensory overload that most people end up wandering and just looking at everything...many times i'd end up finding a room just after something cool/amazing had happened there..i missed alot. and i entered at 8pm instead of 7 which made the experience shorter. (it ends at 10)

so this time i bought the early ticket, and made sure to get on the elevator last, just like i'd read online. The actor who operated the elevator stopped it suddenly and yelled "Everybody off!". I stepped out first and noticed out the corner of my eye that he held everyone else back and pressed the button. I turned around as the door slid shut, and saw him smiling at me.

What he'd said earlier, in the elevator was ringing in my head:

"Fortune favors the bold..."

so i walked around the corner and found myself in a white hallway..there was a nurse pushing a wheelchair with her back to me. She turned around, then beckoned to me. I sat in the chair and she silently whisked me away into a dark room.

My heart was pounding with excitement but i wasn't scared. Afterall, this was a show that performs 8 times a week and actors are not the in business of harming the audience.

anyway, i don't want to give away what happened next but suffice it to say, it was fascinating and highly entertaining. After the nurse finished with me, she led me into another hallway behind an iron door, and i was able to rejoin the rest of the audience and continue my experience. Through continuing to be bold, I ended up having 3 other one-on-one experiences with other actors in the production...one even gave me a necklace after sobbing on my shoulder over a lost love.

Overall, by choosing to specifically follow certain actors (which often required sprinting up (or down) 3-4 flights of stairs to keep up with them) i was able to see a completely different show/story arc than I saw the first time...the choreography, athleticism and passion of the actors was breathtaking.

If you are in NY and you love theater. Go. end of story.

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