Where will the road take YOU?

Destination Diaries

Sleep No More

By Angela Ash

snm macbeth

I am not really sure how to begin this.  I am not really sure how to end this.  I am even perplexed by the pieces that fall in between.  The enigma that is Sleep No More can not be personified with mere words... but I will tell you this:  it is brilliant.

Housed in the eccentric McKittrick Hotel at 530 W. 27th Street, in New York City's neighborhood of Chelsea, the building itself is foreboding, to say the least.  Rising into the night, whispered promises of the macabre float through the air like autumn leaves.

snm hotel

And then... you enter.  You are immediately ushered to something eerily reminescent of a hotel check-in, at which point you are given a playing card to symbolize your "room key".  The "hotel guests" are then sent into the now famous Manderley Bar, where a beautifully re-created lounge scene is in full swing, with libations available for purchse, before your numbered card is called, and you begin, well... the most intoxicating night imaginable.

snm tub

What comes next is a myriad of forbidden fantasies, spread as deliciously as any buffet, with temptations around every corner, down every darkened hallway, and hidden in every night stand drawer.  Sleep No More takes each visitor on his own private journey through nearly one hundred rooms and scenes, all offering choices and scenarios that can either be followed, or discarded for a more interesting development in the next hidden space.

snm attorney

Try as one might to make this a group effort, it is nearly impossible, as each guest must don a mask upon entering, as well as stumble through this massive labyrinth... in absolute silence.  This proves much more difficult than it seems, for in each new zig and zag in this plot based on a twisted Macbeth, it is often almost painful not to ask questions, or to share a secret that was whispered in the forest maze.  However, do not fear, because all other forms of communication and investigative methods are highly encouraged, including touching props, digging through file cabinets, or sampling gumdrops in the candy store.

The scenes that may be viewed are completely invigorating... ranging from an elegant dance in a ballroom, to bizarre rituals and bloody baths.  One never knows what to expect at the McKittrick Hotel... culminating in what can only be described as the most surreal moment ever offered by the performing arts.

snm front desk

So what exactly is Sleep No More?  That answer is quite complicated, because it can mean so many things to so many different people, quite dependent on the paths chosen and the mindset possessed during the experience itself.  However, if pressed, I believe that it is equal parts art at its most tragically beautiful, terrror within its strongest and wildest grip, and absolute pure, unadulterated imagination.

Experience it for yourself.  Or are you afraid of the dark?