Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Methought I heard Bonnie Tyler cry, "Sleep No More!"

Why pay to see No-Doze when it's all on Youtube for free?

OMG, I finally like saw Sleep No More, which is like totally the hottest ticket in Boston? And OMG, it was way stupider than I ever thought it would be! I was sure the concept and all would be cool and millennial but OMG it was like I was stuck in a music video from 1985. And I was like oh no NOT more bad modern dance in the thrift shop! But YESSSS it was bad modern dance in the thrift shop 24/7! And WHAT was Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca doing in Macbeth anyway? OMG, it was like MacBecca! And WHY was the Second Mrs. DeWinter married to the old king, you know what's his name, the one who goes "This castle hath a pleasant - ACCCKK!!" I mean what was UP with that?

Ok, whatever. Somebody told me it was a lot better if you didn't know anything about the play or the movie and that's probably true. It's always better with the A.R.T. if you don't know anything going in. It would have been wicked cool, though, if like Mrs. Danvers had totally gone down on Lady M. but that was ONE opportunity they for some reason sadly missed. It WAS freaky sometimes when you'd be like watching some actress who you weren't quite sure who she was but anyway she'd be all intense and then you'd hear this SCREAM from another classroom, and you'd be like, whoa, I bet they just found that dead body I saw a minute ago! Awesome! And I did like the eel in the bathtub, that was kind of cool, but when I tried to catch it and leave it in somebody's locker this guy in a black mask stopped me and told me I'd be like ejected if I tried anything like that again. Bastard. LIGHTEN UP, okay? I guess there were some good parts where the guys took off their clothes but that was like the ONLY reason I was glad I saw this show and even that only happened twice unless I missed something. I mean half the time I'm like "Sleep No More"?? I'm nodding off already!!! But then BOOM the sound system kicks in and some asshole actor like SLAMS into you and all these jerks in their little white masks are chasing after him to get their 25 bucks' worth and you're like "Shit, wait for me! I'm tired of staring at all these antiques!!!" It would also probably be a whole lot better if it came with a card like from a scavenger hunt with things on it to check off, like "YES! I totally tagged the bloody baby!!" Anyway that would be my constructive criticism.


  1. This does not relate to the song, but it made me think of this study on sleep patterns as we age: the older you are, the more time you have to spend!

    That's gotta be good, right?


  2. OMG it was just like that video! You are too funny.

  3. I liked it better than you did. Read my entry!

  4. Hmm, I only caught the tail end of the orgy but didn't get stuck in a closet, so I think that's a fair trade, all in all. I, too, thought of the "Forever . . . and ever . . . and ever . . " bit!

    But was it even a good piece of installation art? The two rooms full of mud were interesting, the rest was pretty derivative. The banquet/Banquo's ghost thing was striking, but, ya know, a little dumb. As was the supposed connection between Hitchcock and Shakespeare - two authors largely opposed rather than in alignment, if you ask me! And frankly, this whole idea that you "made up your own Macbeth" was pure A.R.T. bullshit. You wound up running around after these actors, as much a slave to the performance and the text as ever. And then what they did didn't really add up.

    I thought about hanging around for the orgy to roll around again, but I just didn't feel like waiting. If Punchdrunk could figure out a tighter performance schedule, and really work the simultaneity angle (or the supposed "hypertext" angle, which REALLY wasn't there), their work could be interesting. Instead, we're all kind of pretending it's interesting. As we usually do at the A.R.T.

  5. Yes, I thought it was a little cheap to steal all that Bernard Hermann music. And, okay, as a piece of theater it didn't quite work: only one "scene" interested me, the rest seemed static and looping. I kept feeling like the actors might be thinking "okay, we've gone through the loop a few times, this gaggle needs to leave, so we can show this to new people." In general the relationships between any two people doing a "scene" went nowhere, so I just kept moving, trying to cover as much territory as possible. But an installation piece/sophisticated haunted house/dance piece, it totally worked. And it's not like I've ever seen anything like that before-- at least not that expansive...

  6. I must say that I enjoyed myself thoroughly when I saw this- but I do think it's only sort of classifiable as theatre and closer to performance/installation art then anything. And yes, if you go thinking that you're going to get a full story out of it you're going to be disappointed. "You make your own Macbeth" really is a pretty silly way to describe it when it's at best inspired by Macbeth; I thought a better description came from one blogger who described the experience as being a vision of what hell might be like for Macbeth- as scenes from his life replay themselves again and again. I'll echo Annie's thoughts and say that the power of it for me lay in the imagery and atmospherics and those I was impressed with. But maybe I'm just a sucker for a pretty picture.

  7. Well, I think my friend put it well when she said, "It doesn't illuminate Macbeth, instead Macbeth illuminates IT." In other words, the installation would have made no sense whatsoever without the unspoken text of the play hovering in our minds. Not that there was really any new analytical work about the play on display. (Fertility, superstition? Duh!) I will say that part of the piece's interest for me, if it had any, was in the way it revealed the thinness of the conceptual structure of many art installations (of whatever size and complexity). I mean Shakespeare is layered, structured in time - it UNFOLDS. This was pretty much just conceptual hit-and-miss, like most art installations, really: they lack the element of time in how they mold our perceptions. Punchdrunk, of course, HAD that element - they just didn't use it interestingly. Ok, sure, you can say it's "a cycle in Hell" - only isn't that just high-school-level Sartre?