Valentines Day at Sleep No More: Part 1
In an attempt to recount and hold on to the memories of last Tuesday and Hecate’s Valentine Party at Sleep No More, I’ve decided to write down as best I can what it was I witnessed. Upon doing so I’ve come to realize that it would perhaps be best if I broke up the account into a series of posts. The first of which you will find below, there is more to come soon. It is not meant to spoil anything, as I do not believe the show can be spoiled. It is merely meant as a record of what I witness as much for my own use as for those who frequent this blog…
To experience Sleep No More is to experience something unique and in a way dream like. The experience is like a waking dream that lingers on the edge of a lucid nightmare. One where a host of players emerge from the shadows of the past to created something both otherworldly and strikingly timeless.
For me the encounter started Tuesday around 2:00pm. After a meeting at work I came back to my desk to find a small jewelry box with a bow tied around it waiting for me. In it, a single playing card, the two of hearts with the enchanting words of Hecate’s Monologue inscribed on it’s face. This was a puzzle at best. A mystery sided with the statuesque figure of The bard’s three headed mystical fem fatale.
Much later I found myself swept away to the infamous Mckittrick Hotel, where the humble staff took ours coats and Smoky sat us at a table with bottle of champagne. We were given more playing cards, and then asked to proceed into an elevator behind a dark curtain…
It didn’t feel like the elevator was moving but it was. The fifth floor was where it all began. The doors opened to reveal a dark sterile world. A room lined with old bathtubs and in the corner a desk covered in clutter. A nurse walked by and I was tempted to follow but decided to see where she had come from instead. I entered a long dark hallway, the exits clearly marked yet also confusing. One door lead into a room lined with twisted branches that sprung up from the ground like long wooden fingers making a maze like fence from which I could see other masked revelers making their own way through this indoor forest. I followed the path past a small hut before coming to wrought irongate and then oddly enough a goat.
Inevitably, I made my way downward, taking the corner flight of stairs to the next floor, only it wasn’t a floor anymore. Gone was any resemblance of the hotel replaced with an empty street, lined with storefronts yet casted in shadow. Here a man lay huddled close to the ground. His fine suit in shambles and his face visibly upset. Emotions, I soon learned where at the heart of everything in this performance. Turning my head for just the tiniest of moments allowed for just enough time for more actors to enter the scene, from behind me they raced, two men locked in a struggle that appeared to defy gravity. The combatant’s leap at each other with a force that seemed both trusting yet, conflicted, running across the store windows and brick falls, they fought and when it was over, one man disappeared down a thin dark alleyway, and the other through a open doorway that lead into a rustic speakeasy.
Following close behind, my footing suddenly felt uneasy traversing the sawdust laded floor of this hidden bar. The man met others, I could only assume they were friends by how they engaged in that most carnal of past times; drinking. The bartender and another joined the man at a small table lit only by single hanging lamp that seemed to sway ever so slightly with the solidary breeze that filled the room. They played cards and goaded each other on with shots of whiskey until another man entered the scene.
He was covered in blood and his arrival was not meet with warmth. Chaos ensued, and a fight broke out. The bartender falling victim to a brick to the head before stoically making his retreat, falling behind the bar as the other men fled into the night. I looked for the bartender after the others had gone. I went right to where I saw him fall only he was gone. It was as though he had vanished into thin air…