April 14, 2011

Sleeping Not Advised

Punchdrunk, the innovative (and interactive) theater company, has brought a new version of Macbeth (that well-known Elizabethan murder fest) to New York's West 27th Street, renamed it "Sleep No More," and invited in the audience. Or perhaps one should say, "Sleep No More" is a derivative work, notes New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley, who describes it as "a largely wordless production...not without thought-churning aperçus. These have less to do with the comely dancers who act out the doomed paths of Macbeth and company than with those clumsy, anonymous lugs in white face masks who keep elbowing one another out of the way to get a better view of the sex and violence. That’s you and me, my fellow theatergoers." Yes, the audience is unmasked, and the players are sometimes, well, in the alltogether. Without masks, as it were.

Counsels Mr. Brantley, "An unimpaired sense of balance and depth perception is crucial to attending “Sleep No More,” which leads its audience on a merry, macabre chase up and down stairs, and through minimally illuminated, furniture-cluttered rooms and corridors. The creative team here has taken on the duties of messing with your head, which they do just as thoroughly as any artificial stimulant." More here from his piece (subscription may be required).

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