For years now it looks like we’ve been immersed within the phrase “immersive.”
Simply in my inbox within the final couple of days, the phrase has been utilized to a margarita-making class at Margaritaville Resort Instances Sq., New York’s new flight-simulation attraction, the brand new Apple TV+ sequence “Severance,” a falconry workshop, a HBO Max particular live performance sequence, and — splendidly — a water park.
Perhaps this says one thing about my inbox.
However certainly it additionally says one thing in regards to the affect and attain of “Sleep No More,” which premiered on March 7, 2011, on West twenty seventh Road in New York. The present did unbelievable issues with Shakespeare and modern dance, however it’s important achievement was phenomenizing (if not inventing) a style of leisure expertise that works in your thoughts and physique like a form of drug.
After two years, the present reopened final week, its tortured ghosts reawakened and reset on their doomed, countless, looping paths, its guests welcoming the dramatically altered state of consciousness.
Aside from company now having to put on two masks — a modified model of the unique ones together with standard-issue KN95s — it looks like little has modified. The lights are nonetheless nightmarishly low; the air remains to be sizzling and thick with Bernard Herrmann’s cluster chords; the gaggles of spectators are nonetheless in sizzling pursuit of flexuous and engaging performers.
It’s tempting to say that, two years since we had been all launched to “social distancing,” the audience-performer proximity of the “Sleep No Extra” is exponentially extra thrilling. And sure, that is defiantly anti-pandemic theater. However the reality is, the blurring of personal-space boundaries within the present has at all times felt electrical and illicit. With no scarcity of “immersive” experiences on provide, there’s nonetheless little or no that compares with the standard of immersion in “Sleep No Extra.”
New York is at all times altering. The constructing that grew to become the McKittrick Lodge as soon as supplied a distinct form of escapist pleasure to the town’s techno heads. In 2001, the road was abandoned and being eulogized in the Village Voice. “Sleep No Extra” premiered a few months earlier than the opening of the middle part of the Excessive Line, and is now a brisk stroll, previous gleaming new condo buildings, from the 7 line and the Hudson Yards advanced.
Amidst all of the change of the final a number of years, a revisit to “Sleep No Extra” feels, of all issues, comfortingly acquainted. Which at this level is its personal form of thrill.