Once intended for a limited run in New York, Sleep No More has become a permanent attraction enjoyed by locals, visitors and repeat patrons. It has spawned a new kind of theatrical immersive entertainment that is often intimidated, but never reaching the artistic heights and emotional experience that the Punchdrunk crew has created.
I’ve only done it once in August 2011, a few months after it opened that May. Meaning, I was into it before it became popular. Later, I went to Punchdrunk’s second production, 2013’s The Drowned Man, in London. Even though that experience was more to my liking (easier to follow, better music), you never forget your first time. I wore my tuxedo on a 90-degree summer night, not knowing fully what was about to happen. Masks? Rooms that change? No dialogue? You’re free to walk around? Nudity? I left disoriented, drenched in sweat and thoroughly amazed — sort of like the first time I made love to a woman.
Punchdrunk announced today their second iteration of Sleep No More will take place in a five-story building in the Jing’an section of Shanghai. The venue will be called the McKinnon Hotel, a riff on New York’s McKittrick Hotel.
As for the cast, creator Felix Barrett will use some Sleep No More original actors along side local Chinese performers. The show is set to open in December. Consider me curious if they try to re-create the New York production completely or try to put more of an international spin to it.