Global Now / Week 8

Shakespeare in the Dark

Name: Emma Pratte

Headline: Sleep No More

Date: 10/8/12

Source:  NOW Magazine

Picture by New York Times

Every week, I have tried to tie the readings/lectures into my final paper topic and this week could not be easier. We took a break from our sustainable design path and went down one where we must look at presenting design in a new way, rather than making making design in a new, green way. I couldn’t help but think during the lecture his work was the opposite of sustainable – a freezer in a museum? Must have taken a lot of energy to simple showcase a frozen car.

Any way, I have chosen to focus on Sleep No More. It is an Off-Broadway show that takes place, not in a theatre, but in what was an abandoned hotel. The story is that of Shakespeare’s MacBeth with a couple of wonderfully macabre twists. Audience members wear white Venetian masks and follow the characters through their dimly lit, mostly silent stories. They can get up close and personal with the action, and sort of be a part of it – a voyeur’s dream. Previously, interactive theater was when the actors came down the aisle and maybe sat on some laps of some uncomfortable audience members. This is truly is presenting an art form in a way it hasn’t been presently before, not only that but instead of an expensive theater they are using a space that would otherwise be left to rot. They converted the space to a sort of a crazy wonderland that the New York Times said wouldn’t be surprised if it “landed on the cover of Architectural Digest, blood stains and all.” Following the actors through the different rooms as one would follow a person through their house. It is a way for the audience members to interact with the actors/dancers and for the performers to interact with the audience in way that isn’t possible in the traditional theater.


Global Issue: Abandoned Space

Primary Design Lens: theater Set/lighting design

Secondary Design Lens:  architecture


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