530 West 27th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Monday - Saturday through July 21, 2012, $75 (extended indefinitely, tickets now $105)
The less you know about Punchdrunk’s dazzling production, Sleep No More, the better, but one thing you do need to know is that the runaway success is ending its long engagement on July 21, so you better get your tickets fast. Sleep No More takes place at the long-abandoned McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea, where guests are given masks and then left to wander on their own through the myriad rooms of the mysterious warehouse space, a different story going on behind every door and down each hallway. Don’t look for a linear narrative, although there are elements of Shakespeare’s Macbeth scattered about. Many of the rooms contain notebooks, diaries, postcards, letters, medical texts, and other paraphernalia that point toward the McKittrick, which was built in 1939 but shut down shortly thereafter, having been the site for some very questionable scientific experimentation, but don’t get too lost in that either. There are several ways to proceed through this spectacularly immersive theatrical experience; while some visitors prefer to go from room to room and floor to floor more or less in order, others select a character and follow him or her as they meet up with other characters, pause in a room to offer more personal hints at what’s going on, or coax a guest behind closed doors. Although we strongly suggest you get the early tickets and stay the entire three hours, you still won’t see everything, but don’t worry about that. Just catch what you can and let yourself get swept up in all the action, which includes contemporary dance, fighting, a bloody bath, detective work, interrogation, poisoning, nightclub performances, a fab dinner party, and virtually no dialogue. Punchdrunk artistic director Felix Barrett and choreographer Maxine Doyle’s lighting, Barrett, Livi Vaughan, and Beatrice Minns’s sets, and Stephen Dobbie’s sound design combine to create a dark, spooky mood that is exhilarating and intoxicating. And the more you put into it, the more you get out of it; be adventurous, wear comfortable shoes, and try not to bring a bag, backpack, or coat, because everything needs to be checked. Advance reservations are a must and are scheduled every fifteen minutes between 7:30 and 8:30 Monday through Thursday and 7:00 to 8:00 and 11:00 to midnight on Friday and Saturday. A collaboration between Punchrunk and Emursive, Sleep No More was a hit in London and Boston before becoming New York City’s must-see theatrical event. [Ed. note: Sleep No More has been extended indefinitely as of fall 2014.]