The Most Poetic Haunted House Ever

The Shining was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I used to daydream about turning every corner in that infamous hotel, anxious and curious and losing my mind.

Last night, I came pretty close to that creepy experience at The McKittrick Hotel, where the English immersive theatre company, Punchdrunk, staged Sleep No More (NYC), their version of Macbeth. Equal parts dance theatre, vibrant installation, and sociology experiment, the production is, indeed, completely immersive. A woman’s bedroom smells like roses; an infirmary smells of formaldehyde; and doors creek as they open.

The story of Macbeth is gestured rather than told and the characters are indicated more than embodied. There are subtle, hidden references to Shakespeare’s actual work if you look closely, but you have to be curious enough to seek them out. The plot is hardly the point, however. Choose your own adventure and you won’t be disappointed. Be sure not to miss the remarkable climax, though, especially if you love tableau vivant and really loud music!

At Rooftop, we’re always trying to create new, immersive experiences for our audience. Punchdrunk has raised the bar for New York now with Sleep No More, running Monday-Saturday through April 16. If you’re in the mood for an artistic adventure, don’t miss this show.

[Big assist in this review to my brilliant fiancé Stephanie Skaff.]