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Last weekend I went to a hotel, a candy store, a taxidermist’s shop, a detective agency, a hospital, and a cemetery, to name a few places. Oh, and I saw people dancing, kissing, crying, casting spells, and committing murder. Which is to say that I finally got to experience “Sleep No More,” the eerie interactive theatre piece by the British company, Punchdrunk. The three-hour long, mostly wordless, off-Broadway play is based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and infused with the stylish noir of Hitchcock films.

photos of the set and cast of sleep no more

All images by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times, except cemetary statue (Scouting New York) and masked audience members (Alick Crossley/Sleep No More).

The company took over abandoned warehouse spaces for the set, and transformed them into The McKittrick Hotel. When you “check in” to the McKittrick, you are given a mask to wear, and then set loose, free to explore rooms and follow characters at your will. I was dazzled by some of the scenes between the characters, particularly the dance and fight choreography, but the most impressive character to me was the set itself. It’s a spooky Please Touch Museum, every nook and cranny packed with ephemera and Deco decor to examine for clues. There are hospital beds filled with potatoes, bathtubs with bloody water, letters from one character to another, secret passageways, vials of poison, and real candy in the Sweet Shop. The play has been so popular that Punchdrunk has extended its run several times. I hope they do again, so I can go back, eat a gumdrop, and peek in every last drawer.

8 Responses

  1. Kayla@HGTV says:

    I just browsed through the website and I'm dying to try this! Just one more reason I need to head up to New York soon ;)

    • Briana@HGTV says:

      Yes, come and visit! Everyone should come. :) The site says that there are "discount opportunities for groups of 20 or more" and that their spaces are available for private functions…

      Team meeting at the McKittrick, anyone? (lol)

  2. Hudson says:

    love this!

  3. [...] via: Daily Delight: The Set of “Sleep No More” Category: Design Tags: Daily, Delight, More”, [...]

  4. Hilary@HGTV says:

    That sounds delightfully dark. I love trying new and bizarre experiences like this. I think I'll check it out sometime. :)

    • Briana@HGTV says:

      It's definitely a bit dark, and very dream-like! The set elements, events, and masked audience all around you really plays with your reality. I'd say it looks like a Hitchcock film…but feels like David Lynch film.

  5. Karli_HGTV says:

    Crazy cool. Love the macabre sets.

  6. Tonny J. says:

    I always make sure I have two things with me when sleeping in a hostel. The first, is an eye mask. This is especially important when sharing a room with several people. Most hostels to not employ lock out times, so people will be coming in and out. They may need to turn on the light to get ready for bed – or they may be drunk and forget to turn it off completely. To avoid suffocation from covering your head with a pillow, or the discomfort of improvised clothing masks, pack an eye mask. They take up minimal space and will provide you with just the right amount of darkness.
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Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...


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