Okay, this is a bit of a cheat since this post will focus exclusively on my 1st trip to NYC two years ago. I realized that I never really went into full detail as to what I did during my weeklong visit there and I thought it’d be selfish not to share.
Let’s start off with my favorite part of the trip
I recommend EVERYONE visiting NYC to try this. EVERYONE! Please go. It’s such an amazing experience. I even have a friend that has gone multiple times because each experience is different. For those of you unfamiliar to it, I’d describe Sleep No More as interactive/immersive theater. Ever do one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? This is kind of like that.
Sleep No More takes place on 5 floors within the McKittrick Hotel. That’s right. I said 5 floors. (After a little digging, this actually isn’t true. There’s a secret 6th floor. It’s very tricky to get to so read only if you want spoilers). This isn’t your usual play where you just sit back and watch the actors. You actually get to follow them around the hotel as the scenes unfold.
You’ll check into the hotel on floor 2 where you’ll receive a card from a deck of cards. If you’re in a group, chances are you’ll be split up. It’s more fun that way. Trust me.
When your suit is called, you enter the elevator and the bellboy will start letting a few people off on each floor. As soon as you’re on the floor, start exploring. It is a bit creepy because everything is dimmed, but the set is MEANT for you to explore. All the props are meant for you to look at or even play with. There’s even candy in one of the rooms, which you can actually eat.
Each floor has something going on and it’s always changing depending on where the play is currently at. The characters don’t speak and are always moving around the hotel and so you’ll have to be quick to follow them. On the hour, the main characters will reconvene on the 1st floor to do their final scene. After the final scene, the characters will reset and walk to their starting position within the hotel and the whole play with start again.
There are opportunities for one on one encounters with the characters. This is pretty uncommon, but it does happen. (For the most part, you’ll be watching the play unfold with your fellow audience members). Characters will single out an audience member and pull them into a secret room. In the room, you’ll share a scene with the character. This is the only instance in which the characters will actually talk to you. Play along. It’s more fun that way. During my trip, I was lucky enough to have two one on one encounters. I won’t spoil it for any of you, but I will say that each encounter was unique and gave me a little souvenir to keep. Note that some characters have one on one interactions. Others do not. Do your research if you want to know which characters have one on ones. If you’re chosen, savor the moment. It’s a really sought after experience.
My final note is that this play is not for everyone. It’s based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth and like any Shakespeare, there’s a lot of tragedy. There is also some full-on nudity and bright lights involved.
Here are a few of my suggestions for Sleep No More:
- Wear COMFORTABLE shoes. You will be walking up and down a bunch of stairs and the characters move quickly.
- If you’re in a group, split up. There are so many things happening all at once that you can’t experience it all within the 3 hours alloted. Everyone can meet up at the end and talk about all the different experiences and you guys can piece the plot together.
- If you lose a character, don’t fret. All the main characters reconvene on the 1st floor near the hour to act out their final scene. You can then follow the characters back to their starting point.
- Maintain eye contact with characters. It’ll increase your chances of getting a one on one encounter. I tended to isolate myself from groups and that made it easier for the characters to pull me away.
- Don’t get too up close and personal (like up in their faces personal). I saw this a few times and I think it just irritates the actors/actresses.
- Explore as many rooms as you can. They put so much detail in it. It’s crazy.
- There are a few side plots that occur simultanousely with the main plot. Choose your adventure wisely. Some plots are more exciting than others.
Stay tuned. I’ll re-cap my other adventures in NYC next week.
Have you ever been to NYC and gone to Sleep No More? Did you enjoy it? Did any of you have a one on one encounter? I’d love to hear all about it.