The one good thing about returning to something after such a long time is that that “thing” is fresh to you again. The one bad thing about returning to something after such a long time is that is has done a lot of growing, or for this sake, aging while you were gone. That is the story about my 4th trip to Sleep No More (SNM for short). If you want to read ahead about my trip be mindful of the spoilers because the show is best experienced without anything in mind. I will try not to give away many details but it is the nature of the SNM fandom to rant, spill all the details, and gloat about personal victories.
Having returned to SNM after such a long time away, after several moths roaming the cavernous Temple Studios of The Drowned Man (commonly known as TDM), returning to the McKittrick Hotel of Chelsea’s 27th Street seemed like brand new to me. Since so much of the landscape has changed with the additions of The Heath and the seasonal permanence of Gallow Green I had almost forgotten where to stand in line.
Once I got through ticketing, downed an over-priced “absinthe” shot and chatted with Maximilian about his recent travels I was whisked towards the elevator with the other Aces. I began my evening watching the dance in the Ballroom with a Bruder-ful Macbeth. Racing around the McKittrick Hotel with him reminded how dreadfully out of shape I am. He brought me right to the rave, which is all the more frightening when there aren’t that many other people there to watch it.
I left there to find someone in town to follow. Comparing the towns that serve as the centers of both TDM and SNM can give you a clue as to the scales of these massive productions. I found myself moving towards J. Fulton and his motions across the town. Eventually he gathered me in the funeral parlor where we said prayers and he gifted me a necklace for protection. I moved on in search of the Taxidermist who has always evaded me. I showed up to his shop but found not a soul present. It is enjoyable to slow ones pace down and rummage through the details of the room. Between his shop, his office and Hecate’s Apothecary I was kept rather busy looking at the small things. But alas I was not meant to find him. I moved on towards the Speakeasy Barman who was quick dodge into his back room. I foolishly followed thinking I was headed somewhere, but instead he invited me for a game of card tricks and shots of whiskey. He told me a great many things before he sent me off on my way.
I made my way towards to hotel lobby in search of the Porter. Ben Thys plays him both delightfully childish and morose. He prances around the hotel setting it up while trying to pass ignorance about how out of control he really is of peoples fate. I stayed for over an entire hour making making sure to take as much of his emotional performance in as possible.
I moved towards Catherine Campbell as she wielded her power across the Hotel. Watching her exact her control over Lady Macduff kept me enthralled. I stayed with her through the end watching her dine with the Porter, he in acceptance of his failure and her in her satisfaction of her success. I was guided away from the finale and back to the bar by the Boy Witch who seemingly melted into the red velvet curtains.
It was an over-all very lovely experience. It served as a pleasant welcome back, with promise of things to come, mainly at The Heath and Gallow Green. I cannot say whether or not I will frequent the McKittrick Hotel and SNM for it is celebrating its 3rd birthday and is showing some significant wear and tear. I only wish the people of Punchdrunk and Emmurisve would get together to perform a week long overhaul on the space. It needs to be fixed and primped. When you are using colored duct tape to mend a carpet you are starting to surpass the spaces intended ruggedness. It can begin to look sloppy when compared to the newness of Temple Studios in London.
I will return for the famed parties considering I am nearing my 21st birthday. I am cautious to say I am completely done with the Chelsea location but I know that the time is growing nearer and nearer: SNM is passing into the realm of tourist appeal and it’s prices keep increasing at near atrocious rates. As other immersive experiences begin to enter the Manhattan scene, many featuring SNM alumni, my attention has begun to shift elsewhere. However, until the day comes that I move on completely I admit that I will keep coming back and each time leaving mystified.