**Update 11/14/2011 – check out Sleep No More on Gossip Girl on Hulu.**
The immersive theater experience Sleep No More, put on by the UK’s Punchdrunk, opened in NYC on March 7th. It runs through April 16th, with several “entrance times” per night. The experience transforms the expansive McKittrick Hotel on West 27th into a portal to the world of Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Visitors enter and interact as they please, drifting from room to room at their own pace. Compared to an enormous, intellectual haunted house for grown-ups, the experience never disappoints.
Sleep No More debuted in the 09-10 season in Boston to rave reviews. I’ve heard it called “life-changing.” Punchdrunk describes the experience as, “a game changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company’s infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences.
Lines between space, performer and spectator are constantly shifting. Audiences are invited to rediscover the childlike excitement and anticipation of exploring the unknown and experience a real sense of adventure. Free to encounter the installed environment in an individual imaginative journey, the choice of what to watch and where to go is theirs alone.”
Lyn Gardner at The Guardian called it, “a world so haunting that you feel as if you have entered a parallel universe…you are transported to a 1930s film-noirish world of intrigue, double-dealing and bloody murder.” But don’t worry – if things get a bit too real, there’s also a restaurant and bar. The official website is here – get your tickets now, it’s selling out fast.