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Now that I've got your attention with that subject-header...

This past weekend, chelidon , lylythe_strega  and I attended the play "Sleep No More" in Boston. OMG the show was so wonderful! It was a hybrid of "MacBeth" and "Rebecca" (much easier to figure out if one sees Lady MacBeth as the living Rebecca). It was held in an old school. When we entered, everyone was given white carnival masks, and we were told that we weren't allowed to speak, and there were only certain areas and situations where actors would directly interact with us. We started in a bar appropriately named "The Manderley", where, after a glass of decent rum punch, we were led to an elevator where different groups of people were left off on different floors of the building, so we didn't even start out in the same place. At first, the area where I was was largely empty of actors, so I was wandering around a dark building with spooky music playing in the halls. I now know what it’s like being a character in a horror movie. We were allowed to touch the props, go in to any room that was unlocked, open drawers, read books and whatever, which was fun (some of the rooms were not as well-lit as others, so I was carrying things to light sources on occasion- then putting them back). One area was a photography studio with an assortment of what looked like crime-scene photos hanging on lines around it. Found a taxidermist's office- partial and completed taxidermy all over the place. Also found a shower with bloodstains in it and bloody playing cards nailed to the walls, plus a few on the floor. There were a couple of chapel rooms with Christian religious statuary (lots of Marys)- saw MacBeth frenziedly praying in one. There was another room with a few shelves and an old radio sitting on a table playing- just static and occasionally a muffled voice speaking a sentence or two.

As it turned out, the layout of the building changed as the evening went on, as did other features. At the end of one hallway there was a baby carriage with a package in it. When I returned to the same place later, I found that the wall had been temporary and was now gone, opening up a new area of the building. When I passed by still later, I saw that there were now two packages in the carriage. Some rooms were open, others locked, and this changed as well as some were closed off and others opened over time. I'm told there were also crawlspaces that connected a couple of the rooms.

I wandered in to a bar at one point, and the bartender gestured for me to take a seat across from here. She gazed intensely in to my eyes and dealt me a hand of cards and we played a game that seemed to involve setting cards on the table and trying to beat the other player's total. I lost the first two rounds, and won the third, which netted me a shot of absinthe.

As time went by, more and more actors appeared. Hearing some intense industrial music beneath me, I dashed down the stairs and ran in to a night club where it turns out the Witches spent most of their time, and I caught the tail-end of Banquo's murder, just as MacBeth ran howling out of the room leaving a bloody (and naked) Banquo behind. I also caught a disturbing dinner scene with a lot of the cast sitting at the dinner table moving in slow motion (eventually leading to all of them making out with each other regardless of gender then fading in to the background). Also caught a scene in a dining room with a pregnant woman (never figured out who she was- MacDuff's wife?) sitting at the table where, as she reached for a glass of milk, the Mrs. Danvers character snatched it away and put it on another corner of the table, again snatching it away when she reached for it. This continued for several repetitions until Danvers stormed out of the room and the pregnant woman then walked around the room and turned all of the mirrors to face the wall. At another point I walked in to a room that had an empty crib in it and a horde of headless baby dolls (joined together at the neck) hanging from the ceiling. Another room was bare and empty except for a single chair in the middle with a light bulb hanging over it.   One oddly disturbing sight was my rounding the corner on a stairway and seeing MacBeth there- feet on the railing, shoulders against the opposite wall, about three feet off of the stairs, moaning to himself.

At one point, when I was following MacBeth, He walked to one of the landings, closed the doors behind him so no audience members could get near him, then sat there raving to himself and throwing himself up and down the stairs and around the railings (including at one point rolling down the railings on his side- gotta admire the man's physical prowess). Caught a scene in a room full of bathtubs (with various things in them- bloody water in one, an eel in another) where Danvers walked in, started writing on a chalkboard on the wall, then started drawing a circle around one tub and writing around it. Lady MacBeth walked in and they went in to a slap-slap-kiss routine that definitely was playing on the slashy Rebecca/Danvers implications from the movie. Later I went in to the main hall where the dinner party had been and saw a number of cast members dancing together to some jazz while Danvers served cocktails (and snatched a cocktail out of the pregnant woman's hand and gave her a glass of milk, which caused her to swoon after drinking it). Returning to the room later, while chasing MacBeth after he ran off somewhere, the room was filled with Christmas trees (Birnam Wood). My coat caught on one and pulled it down- when I went to right it, I got a handful of pine needles, so I took off after MacBeth again while pulling needles out of my hand. Ow. There was a MacBeth and Lady sex scene - more throwing each other around the room and half-fighting. They were in underwear but Lady MacBeth had slipped out of her dress right next to me (Chelidon was slightly disappointed that he missed all of the nudity), eventually leading to the washing-the-blood-off scene in a tub in the room (so I saw MacBeth naked too), then MacBeth getting dressed and storming off again. I left the room after hearing some screaming, following it to the scene where Duncan's body was discovered.

More wanderings through the rooms led me eventually back to the main hall and a second dinner party scene, only this time it ends with a light coming on on the opposite site of the room and an entranced MacBeth walking in to it, to have MacDuff leap on him from behind, grab a rope dangling from the ceiling and hang him- the lights going off as MacBeth is swinging from the rope. One of the Witches then grabbed my hand and led me from the room- to the exit back to the Manderley, where we had a couple of period cocktails and listened to some jazz before taking off.

On the way back we stopped for food and drinks at a place amusingly called Bukowski Tavern. Aside from the name, it was a also a good indicator that most of the clientele were dressed in black and there was some decent Punk playing on the sound system (X-Ray Spex). Surprisingly diverse menu for a bar, and an amazing selection of beers- including quite a few I'd never heard of (Kelly had one called "Santa's Butt"). I keenly encouraged them to set up a website, upon finding out that they had none.


Apr. 24th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Hi there -- this probably seems like an odd comment, but I found you because I was wondering how chelidon is doing. He hasn't posted anything since Dylan was born, and the couple of emails I've sent him have gone unanswered. We've been online friends for years, and I'm just hoping he and his family are well. Please pass on my regards when you see him next. Thanks so much. :)

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