Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Earlier today I was reading Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus. I first read it in college in 2001 in a seminar on Marx and Nietzsche. It opened my eyes to a very different kind of scholarship and a very different way of thinking about cultural history. I love that book. But reading it again all these years later I was stunned by how differently I feel about it. The scholarship is still strong, well-argued, and illuminating; but now I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the absurd narcissism of the whole project. This whole book because Greil Marcus felt a need to justify how amazing he felt when he heard the Sex Pistols; he went so far as to ascribe an entire secret and unconscious chain of historical relations and intellectual antecedents to them to give them the profundity they’d earned in his heart. It’s kind of amazing, brilliant, and sad all at once.
I mention this all because at one point in the book, he uses a quote that I love from Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. “People pay to see others believe in themselves,” she said, “on stage, in the midst of rock ‘n’ roll, many things happen and anything can happen, whether people come as voyeurs or come to submit to the moment.”
That sort of sums up my feelings about Sleep No More, sixty shows and 3.something years later. This is a very complicated recap, because it involves a lot of history, and personal experiences, and opinions. If you’ve read this whole blog and come on this journey with me, a lot of this will make sense. If you don’t like that I “speak with authority” about things, do me the favor and tune out now. If it bothers you that my opinions invalidate your experiences, that’s too damn bad, load your own opinions with more conviction next time around and stop trying to invalidate my experiences with your opinions… about my opinions.Read more
I never saw Mateo’s Tuttle. I never saw Paul’s Fool. I never saw Jude’s Conrad. I never saw Tomislav’s Doctor. I never saw Jane’s Alice.
I once read a book about travelling the world, in which the prologue stated baldly, “you can’t see everything.” Much of this prologue was devoted to pointing out that round-the-world travel doesn’t entitle you to believe that every country, every landmark, every natural wonder is accessible in your lifetime, and that there will always be things other people talk about in hushed tones which you willneverget to see yourself.
Attending TDM (presumably this is also true of SNM) is a lesson in appreciating what you can have, not cursing what you don’t get. So I prefer to think about the wonderful, amazing moments I’ve had. Catching Leslie’s Wendy as she first emerged from her trailer at the start of my second visit, and having her all to myself as she danced through the trees. That remains, more than any 1:1, my happiest memory of TDM so far.
It’s all very well to bemoan what you’ve missed, but I’ve had eight 1:1s, two walk-downs and countless ‘moments’ with many of the characters. And this is already far, far more than most people attending the show will ever get. I have been blessed. I want more, of course, but everything from now on just adds to my store of riches. So although I have targets and plans for my next trip - all of which I know will be foiled to a greater or lesser extent - I am also content that I’ve had more unique delights from TDM than I’ve had from a good many experiences in my life.
Sleep No More extended through August 31. Cheers to another summer in Chelsea.
by NOEMI BERKOWITZ
It was pitch dark and I was holding a playing card, wandering through a black maze to a bar to get into “the experience.” That’s how Sleep No More began, an immersive site-specific theater piece open now in New York City, based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. I had “checked in” to the McKittrick hotel, a couple of warehouses that had been converted into five floors of rooms the audience was free to wander.
After getting through the dimly lit maze, I arrived at a bar and waited for my playing card number to be called. After a few minutes in the bar, you will be called “darling” by at least one of the gothic bartenders and offered a drink before you go in - according to them, “you’ll need it.”
It’s official, Mr the Snake is returning to Sleep No More for a 60th visit. I promised I wouldn’t buy another ticket until I had a new job and, well, I now have a new job, so it’s time for a celebration and homecoming.
Although I use some specific references to The Drowned Man for this, the list below could just as well apply to Sleep No More. From all the thoughtful responses (here and elsewhere) I received from last week’s post about Badlands Jack, I’ve come to realize the extent to which we are all…
deweydjb asked: Ok. So without too many spoilers here is where I am sort of confused. I at first thought the witch (?) wandering around in the Red Dress was Hecate, but Hecate has the cottage in the forest, right? But there is a nurse in there - unless the nurse is Hecate? I know according to the program that the bartender is Hecate's familiar but I have never seen him in the forest. But maybe the nurse is different? And is the man with the black satchel in the hospital the orderly? third tie coming!
Hecate is in the red dress. There are two “nurses” up on the 5th floor, one is Nurse Shaw (“the Nurse”) and the other is Matron Lang (in the pagoda). As for the relationships between all of them, well, that’s the fun part so I leave that blank. Have a great time!