So, I completely fell in love with Sleep No More the first time I saw it. Going back the second time was less dream like for me, though I felt a little panicky when I first stepped off the elevator because I had that visceral body check feeling of oh god, this dream again, I remember this dream. Oh god, what do I do? Don’t go in the hospital again, DON’T GO INTO THE HOSPITAL AGAIN! And then I managed to pull my shit together and find the hotel lobby where I promptly ran into Lady MacDuff.
She was one of the ones on my list to follow so I was delighted. I felt more of a connection to her than anyone I’ve ever followed, maybe because I followed her during a lot of her quieter moments and I was at times the only one following her. I felt sorry for her more than anything but she also sort of seemed like a theater-fied real person if that makes any sense? Like, who doesn’t have a laudanum addiction problem, dead children (which is why the problem started) and a kind but distant husband who is having an affair right in front of you with a bona fide fuck shit up witch? Hmm. Maybe not. But I stayed with her while she folded baby clothes and cried while looking straight at me so I couldn’t help but get kind of weepy back. She sat down to drink some tea at a table for two and since it was just us, I sat across from her while she ate and I contemplated pouring her more tea.
Also, this might sound strange, but because most of MacBeth’s dirty deeds are done off stage, I always sort of saw him as someone who over reached but wasn’t evil enough to be like Iago level of evil which made him more like most of us (only most of us don’t murder but whatever, middle age scotland didn’t have a board room) until he was murdering my Lady MacDuff. It was brutal. Like SUV levels of brutal. The actors are mostly silent, so whenever there’s a noise, it’s especially startling so him dragging her around the floor in a stylized dance-murder scene while she screamed No, no, no! was super distressing as was him spitting on her dead body. I stayed with her when her husband came and found her dead and cried until he left and all the visitors left and I sat gently near her dead body. As the performance “loops”, each actor who has a death has a different coping mechanism for coming back to life or how they do so. With Lady MacDuff, she started like she had a dream and walked over to me and put her arms around me and sobbed directly into my ear so no one else watching could hear, “Love makes traitors of us all.” (a version of her quote from the play: “His flight was madness. When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.”) and even though I am not much of a person who cries publically, a sob welled in me and we held each other for a moment and cried.
I got to finally see my beloved witches’ work room which was everything I hoped for and more (and of course managed to catch a blood orgy performance) and followed the bald witch who radiated this crazy hot butch energy and would lock eyes with me and look like she was going to eat me whole (reow!) and then shocked the hell out of me by going to this secret side room with her witch companion and proceeded to sit at a vanity and put on a blond uber girly wig and exuded this super femme energy, between that swap and her strong dancing, I was super impressed with her. I saw a ritual with the witches and whiskey that was cool also.
I followed the King and saw his chambers (I also so much more of the MacDuff’s chambers and several chapels I had never seen before) which I hadn’t seen before and saw him get killed by MacBeth by smothering him, which was also pretty brutal because the King struggled and MacBeth was screaming incoherently as he did it and left with blood on his hands and witnessed the King’s solemn funeral.
I also got to find the speakeasy which was really interesting because there was this sexy young dude who was feeding an audience member booze and dancing with her and then he sat her down and unmasked her in front of everyone which feels surprisingly intimate and risque when everyone is wearing masks (which made me think of Holly Black’s White Cat where the protagonist finds sexy pictures with no one wearing gloves which is forbidden in that world). Being unmasked by an actor seemed to be a v. intimate act in this setting. I also found a vintage diary in a bedroom that was mostly not written in except for the name “Clara”.
It was also interesting to me how much the audience members change the vibe of the performance and watching how an egregor really works in person. My first time going, the audience was smaller and everyone except two girls (who were reprimanded strongly) were reverent and polite (talking is forbidden, but people would murmur an “excuse me” as they were getting past) and totally into the experience. The way they interacted with the actors was beautiful and solemn. This time it was way more crowded and the crowd was clearly not taking this seriously and were more interested in ransacking the place with wild abandon and staying with their group and being sort of pushy and disruptive while also not wanting to participate - generally someone helps carry Lady MacDuff’s body but no guy would step up to help (I was willing but well carrying a chick even a dancer is still a bit heavy) which was obnoxious. While Jow was watching one of the King’s funerals, in his group someone actually poked the dead King in the forehead which …I don’t even have the words for frankly. They keep extending little by little and if we are able to go again, I’d go during the week with all the other hardcore fangirls and boys.