Sleep No More is set in the 1930s and based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth with influences of suspense from Alfred Hitchcock and dark shadowy scenes characteristic of film noir.
Typical theatrical shows consist of an audience viewing the onstage performance from their seats, but not this one! You will be standing among a sea of silhouettes in gray masks, while performers dance, act, and take you on a tantalizing journey. Sleep No More is a silent, immersive production where you follow the transient characters and possibly participate in scenes without knowing in advance. (The actors will just take your hand and lead you a few steps by their side.)
Tickets can only be purchased online in advance. The price for the Standard ticket includes admission only, but there are other ticket options available which include a pre-show dinner and early admittance into the performance.
Sleep No More Tips – Pre-show:
- Familiarize yourself with the story of Macbeth. Read a little bit prior so you have an idea of what you’re watching and where you’re at in the story (or piece it together if you enjoy that!)
- Wear comfortable shoes! Lots of walking and intermittent running if you want to keep up
- No bags or purses carried during the event – there is a coat check for $4 per item
- Dress appropriately as it becomes warm with so much activity and the hordes of people gathered in rooms
- For my fellow eye-glass wearers, try to switch to contact lenses if possible since you will be wearing a mask for the duration of the performance
- Arrive early! Come before your scheduled time slot since you will need to stand in line before entering. Once you enter the hotel, the Manderley Bar acts as a buffer and you can wind down before your number is called
Pro-tip: Make sure your tickets get you into the hotel absolutely as early as possible. We were among the first inside and upstairs. Initially, the hotel wasn’t crowded and it was easy to get around, but it filled up as the night went on and by the end it seemed like a full house.
Sleep No More Tips – During the Show:
- Restroom located on 4th floor (Asylum)
- Be interactive – Feel free to touch and look at the props, some provide details to the story but you won’t miss crucial information otherwise
- Eye contact with the characters might lead to a 1-on-1 where they will take you away from the audience for just a few minutes for a surprise chat
- Be prepared to make space for the performers to leave or enter a room quickly
- Don’t use your phones, the light will be distracting to everyone
- You can leave the show at any time and hang out at the Manderley bar (where you started) until it ends
Don’t miss (possible spoilers):
- Rave scene – follow Macbeth as he leaves the bedroom after Lady Macbeth helps him bathe and dress (Caution: 5 minutes of strobe lights, intense music, nudity, graphic scenes)
- Banquet is the final scene – all the characters end up directing the audience members to the finale in the ballroom so you won’t miss it
- Check out Gallow Green, their rooftop bar that serves food and drinks if you wish to stay and dissect the last three hours
The show lasts approximately three hours and each character will start their role again at the end of every hour in a continuous loop. You probably won’t know which part of the play you are watching most of the time since it is a choose-your-own adventure experience. This provides mystery and excitement as each new scene is uniquely intriguing trying to piece together the storyline. Performers will cross paths (they move fast) and you can decide which characters to follow (or not follow) through different rooms on four sets of floors.
Once the elevator doors open, a dark and mysterious world awaits. Remember you have the freedom to choose who to follow, so explore at a pace that is comfortable for you. Don’t be concerned about missing out on scenes as there are several characters rushing past you with a story to tell. It will be quite the challenge to see all the scenes in one night even with the 3-performance loop. For this reason, some will actually attend the show more than once to experience all of it.
Word of caution: There are intermittent periods of chaos, especially when following Macbeth. The silence, suspense, and perplexity are all part of the experience. Watch your step and be prepared for a memorable journey.