Excuse me, I’m having a Macbeth moment

Catherine Quayle at the PBS website:

ScreenHunter_07 Jul. 22 22.56 …at the “McKittrick Hotel” in Manhattan, where the U.K. theater group Punchdrunk is nightly haunting five floors with its performance piece, “Sleep No More.”

Based — rather loosely — on “Macbeth,” the performance is an interactive, immersive experience in which the audience roams freely around the space, which is at times hotel, family home, ruined garden, psych ward, cemetery, while actors run in and out, performing wordless scenes, dancing, kissing, undressing, killing each other and then disappearing into the smoky gloom. It is deliberately disorienting, a full-scale demonstration of the term dreamlike, with one space sometimes leading into another via snakelike passageways so you are never sure which direction you are facing and from which you came, the light and temperature changing, the floor giving way to dirt or gravel or straw as you move from one unexpected setting to another. There is a labyrinth of tree branches lit by a hazy moon. A room filled with antique bathtubs, another with children’s beds. On one of the higher floors, we suddenly stepped into a cobblestone street lined with storefronts.

You could easily spend two hours there being only vaguely aware that this experience has anything to do with “Macbeth.” It wants as much or more to be a noir detective story in which we are all recruited to the case, though nothing will be solved, and we know this. But there is something deeply familiar about it. The scenes out of sequence. The known settings, disarranged. The fragments of meaning, the fleeting sense of something important happening, but the more you pursue it, the more it eludes. The pervasive, unexplained anxiety, the forest (literally!) closing in.

More here.