I find it only fitting that my first post on this blog is about my new obsession. I’d heard about Sleep No More before I moved here and this week I finally went. Now I’m kicking myself in the ass for not going sooner! I plan on going many, many more times (and will of course be documenting each visit in the process). So here’s a summary of my first visit.
I had been thinking about going to Sleep No More for months and finally just went for it and bought myself a ticket. I didn’t want to know all the secrets, but I wanted to have a vague idea of what I was getting myself into. I already knew the basics (you wear a mask, get “sorted” into the elevator with playing cards, you must be silent the entire time) but I wanted to have an idea of anything special I should keep my eyes open for. Through my minor research, I discovered that during the show sometimes actors will take an audience member into a locked room to give them a scene by themselves (AKA, a 1:1). This, of course, sounded amazing. However, it seemed getting a 1:1 wasn’t exactly simple as there were people that had been 10+ times who had never experienced one. Knowing this, I decided to forget about a 1:1 until I had been a few times. Little did I know, I would be in for a treat.
About 20 minutes after I had stepped off the elevator, I ran into a pregnant woman stumbling about. I began to follow her, and a few audience members joined us. She sat down and we stood silently, watching her. I stood about 3 feet away, not wanting to crowd her but also not wanting to be so far away that I felt as if she were a zoo animal I couldn’t feed. She stared at me at said “you have arrived” and held her hand out. At this point, I wasn’t quite sure if this was a gesture for me to come to her or if it was just some sort of action put in for drama. My questions were answered when she motioned for me to come closer. I did, and she took my hand as she got up from where she was sitting. When she stood, she didn’t let go of my hand and began to lead me away. At this point, my heart was pounding. Was I really about to get a 1:1 at the very beginning of my first visit? I knew that I was as soon as she took a key to unlock a nearby door and pushed me inside. I won’t reveal the details of what happened, as I don’t want to ruin the moment for anyone else who might experience a 1:1 with Lady Macduff. I was left with a page from a book that she folded into a bowl/cup and filled with salt. I stuck with her for a while after this, feeling as if I owed a debt to her for giving me this amazing experience. She led me into the lobby and I was no longer able to follow her; somebody else had grabbed my attention.
A man who was running the front desk was dancing against a mirror, as if dancing with himself. He greedily kissed the mirror and I knew I was hooked, I needed to know more about this man. I am going to admit, I spent most of the night following him around. I missed a few parts of his story as I tried to explore other areas, but I found myself rushing back to the 4th floor, trying desperately to remember how to get to the hotel lobby so I could continue to find out more about this strangely alluring man. I would later discover, as I peered over his shoulder while he wrote a letter (in beautiful handwriting, might I add), that this man was known as The Porter. I have plenty of visits planned for the future to SNM, but as for now The Porter is definitely my favorite. He left me with a ring and a haunting memory of him looking deep into my eyes, tears on the verge of falling from his.
My other favorite moment of the night was with the Taxidermist. I was in a child’s bedroom and had discovered that the mirror was actually a two-way mirror. I was looking into it and had whispered to myself “there’s another room” when I suddenly became aware that somebody was right next to me. It turned out to be the taxidermist, who proceeded to sit near the bed a sew up a torn teddy bear. Afterwards, I followed him into a small hallway where he spent about 5 minutes climbing the walls (literally). It felt like such a cool moment. Since I was the only one there, I almost felt like I was getting another 1:1 as I watched him work his way to the ceiling and sit for a minute before flipping to the other side of the wall and then sliding down and doing a headstand.
It’s 3 days later and I still can’t keep my mind off of that night. Planning who I might want to follow next, what areas I want to explore more in-depth, how to try and get another 1:1. This experience really was everything that I had hoped for and more.