On my last trip in NYC, my friend and I decided to be a bit more cultured after practically eating our way through Manhattan and Brooklyn for a few days in a row. We decided to splurge some money and get tickets for Sleep No More, an interactive theatrical experience based on the tragic story of Macbeth by William Shakespeare.
The play is located at the McKittrick Hotel. Don’t be misled by the name though – the McKittrick Hotel is no hotel. It is an old warehouse which has been converted into five-storey sets that mimic the structure of a hotel. It’s got a bedroom, a ballroom, a bar, etc, very much like a hotel, except you can’t stay in there, and trust me, you wouldn’t want to.
I did not do much research before going to the play, apart from reading up on the story of Macbeth. The upside of this was that I went in not knowing what to expect and was pretty blown away by the whole experience by the end of it. The downside of this was that I was not mentally prepared of what was to come. Macbeth storyline isn’t the most cheerful in the first place, and when being put in a contemporary setting, it could get rather creepy.
Plus, you are not allowed to talk throughout the whole thing, which probably explained why I could hear all my thoughts very clearly. So clearly that I decided to share some of them with you which could possibly be useful in case you are still deciding whether to go for it or not.
- The bag check-in lady was so rude. And four dollars for a bag, that’s a rip-off! (Tip: remember to travel light that day and consolidate your bags. Also, you are not allowed to hold anything in your hand, so be sure to wear something with pocket so you can carry your phone and credit card around at least.)
- Why do I feel like we are going into a haunted house?
- I can’t do this. All these dark corridors are scaring the hell out of me. I’m going to turn back now and wait for my friend somewhere.
- Except that I paid USD 90 for this. I paid freaking 90 bucks to be scared out of my wits!!! WHY!?
- Oh wait, that’s not too bad. The corridors just led to a bar. This is not scary at all. And the person at the place said no one was going to come out and scare us.
- Ok this is scary. Where is this elevator bringing us to? I’d better cling on to my friend. (She said she felt her arm went numb after a while because I was gripping it so strongly. I’m sorry.)
- More dark corridors. And the music. And what’s with these scary looking sets?? Are you sure we are not in a haunted house??
- We are just going to follow the other 2 people in front of us. I don’t care if they get annoyed with us. They can’t recognise us anyway since we are all supposed to wear masks throughout the whole journey.
- This mask is starting to get uncomfortable. My nose is sweating and it keeps slipping off my face.
- Oh I certainly hope that this mask has been sanitised. I hate to think how many people have sweated in this thing. (TIP: Don’t worry, everyone gets a new mask since you are allowed to keep it afterwards.)
- Oh there is an actor. He looks like Aaron Eckhart. We’d better follow him.
- I have no freaking clue what is going on.
- Oh gosh, why did he disappear so fast? And we have to climb up so many stairs.
- These people are all in my way!! I need to find out what he is doing!!!
- Ouch! That hurt! (I tripped over the stairs, fell flat on my face, in front of a lot of people of course. I basically just hurt my knee and threw my dignity out of the window.)
- Wow, that is some good acting. And all the characters stayed impressively in character despite being stared by so many people all around them.
- I’m slightly jealous at Lady Macbeth’s toned arms and legs. And she moves so gracefully.
- Oh, nice six packs, Macbeth! (There are a few bits of nudity and bizarre scenes, which was probably why they were checking our IDs at the entrance. And of course, there was alcohol served at the bar).
- You know what, I may actually start to have a clue on what’s going on.
- THIS IS AMAZING!!! I’m going to start from the beginning and follow a different character this time.
In the end, we spent about 3 hours inside the ‘theatre’, which was the recommended amount of time to spend there. Knowing the storyline before hand would be a great idea, so you can appreciate what is going on in the whole play better.
I would suggest getting the 7 pm ticket, so you would have more time to explore the sets and follow more than one character. The place closes at 10 pm and you are allowed to roam freely inside for as long as you like. And try to get back to the bar before the last batch of people do (this would be right before 10 pm) so you can get some seat and enjoy the performance and drink some water (trust me, it can get very stuffy and tiring with all the running inside).
Is it worth the hefty sum of money? I would say so.
Is it necessary to clutch on your friend’s arm? Probably not. With a slightly less kind person as company, I might have already earned myself an enemy before the ‘play’ even begins.
And please DON’T even think of turning away before you even start. You would be kicking yourself if you knew how much you would have missed.