Sleep no more?! Well no, thank you. Oh, what? Is it the name of an off-Broadway show in New York City? Tell me more…
As we know, New York has been the inspiration for many songs and movies, witness of thousands of kisses and goodbyes… and also the city where all the best and craziest plans start. Musicals, open air activities, concerts, fruits meetings or private jazz concerts are an example of them. But what if I told you that there is a new and original way of watching a show and being part of it at the same time?
That’s what “Sleep no More” is about. Now you have two options: keep reading and discover the crazy world around this show or go and live it yourself (in this case, stop reading. It does contain spoilers)
So there we were, in front of an old and creepy building, made out of bricks. So far, no surprises. That’s the only information we had from the friend who recommended us this. There started the adventure. Right away we paid, a kind man gave us each an ordinary but spooky card (French deck) and went along with us until we got into a marvellous, oldie, stylish and cosy room. There, people, jazz and drinks mixed up in a 30s atmosphere.
3 of hearts! was shout out. It was my turn to leave. My friend stayed. I was given a mask, like the other 5 people that had had the same card. We got in an elevator. The adventure begins. Randomly, we were getting off in different floors of the hotel. I totally felt that I was in another time, in another place.
There were people with masks. Just like me. And some others without. Those were actually actors, performers. And these guys were, at some point, acting in front of us and the acting was sometimes wild! I remember watching sword fights, fake murders or even naked people having sex before my very eyes! And suddenly, just like a break in the story, the performers were running out of the room to carry on the story somewhere else: and most surprising fact: all of the ‘audience’ does just the same: follows the actors to know what’s coming next. It puts one in a very tricky position: as if we were kind of forced to watch the scenes behind our mask, just like perverse.
Having noticed that everyone was trying to follow whatever story was going on, I decided to do the same and create my own story : “If there’s a door, try to open it. If there’s a character passing by, follow him or her.” You go with it, not sure what to expect. You pass through dark hallways, find yourself in the middle of a lover’s quarrel, wander into hidden rooms, encounter a visibly disturbed naked woman shivering in a bathtub. It’s so believable, and the line between what is real and what is theatre is so blurred. It’s like an intricate acid trip, forcing you to suspend all disbelief without even realizing it.
Running through the five floors of the hotel and with enough time, you could see the interactions between the different characters and what was happening. Some of them caught me and told me secrets, gave me tea and cookies..everything was weird. I definitely knew that something big was happening around me. A story. And that probably I was being the witness of it. And that’s how it was. Throughout the course of three hours, you begin to morph into an actor. I won’t tell you the writer nor the piece which I became a character of 4 hours long . I will just tell you that you will feel lucky to be part of one the most played pieces in history of one of the best writers of all times.