Posts Tagged With: sleep no more

The Great Big Theater Recap

As Rayna has pointed out, I am possibly the only grad student who is busier in the summer than during the school year. That’s because there’s simply so much to catch up on! The last half of May into the first half of June was a busy time for theater. And with that, I gladly present THE GREAT BIG THEATER RECAP.

  1. If/Then: First up is the new Broadway musical If/Then. The most exciting thing about this show was definitely Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. It was absolutely breathtaking to hear Idina sing live. It actually gave me chills. Then add to that the lovely story. Most musicals are about Big Things with capital letters—True Love, Adventure, Lions. But what I loved about If/Then was its immediacy. It is about the small choices we make and how they shape us. Add to that being in a similar place to the main character (new-ish to NYC, trying to build a life, over analyzing everything), a gorgeous score, and a really cool set design, and I was completely sold. I was also a happy/sad sobbing mess. But no spoilers!
  2. Mayfair: Ok, so this wasn’t really a show, but it was certainly theatrical. The annual Spring event at the McKittrick was over the top this year. I realize none of these places will make sense to anyone who hasn’t been to Sleep No More, but all these places are in the Mckittrick hotel, one magical building in Chelsea.We started in the evening with a performance in the bathtubs in the asylum, then a trek through the woods while ballerinas danced off the path. There was a Maypole dance in the streets of the town. The shops opened over the course of the night, with each one featuring different entertainment. Classic rock turned to karaoke in Agnes’s sitting room, while a blue-lit rave happened in the morgue next door. Violet and Maximillian hosted egg races Malcolm’s detective agency. The Fool from The Drowned Man performed in the window of the tailor shop.Wandering into the speakeasy, I found a full brass band and dancers on the pool table.  There were surprises literally around every corner. It was a fantastic night, one of the most amazing extravaganzas I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait for the next McKittrick party.
  3. Much Ado About Nothing: What’s not to love about Shakespeare in the Park? It’s free, it’s Shakespeare, it’s in the beautiful Delacorte Theater, and they are currently putting on Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite comedies. Add to that the gorgeous weather we’re been having (or had, it’s currently back to the usual muggy grossness) and it was enough to get me out of bed at 7 AM on a Saturday to trek up to Central Park. It was perfect weather for sitting in the park with friends, and despite the long line (no seriously, it was the longest line I’ve ever seen) we got tickets with ease. The show was wonderful. The set was gorgeous, and Hamish Linklater made possibly my favorite Benedick I’ve seen—the perfect mix of over-confident, funny, and charming. And we got to see Pedro Pascal (that’s right, that Pedro Pascal) as the plotting Don John, which was an added bonus. I’d definitely recommend catching this production if possibly; it was a fun, funny, and beautiful performance.
  4. Then She Fell: There’s a rabbit hole on a quiet street in Williamsburg. Or, more specifically, there is the Kingsland Ward, where the immersive story of Alice and Wonderland combines with the life of Lewis Carroll in an insane asylum. This production is not at all what I expected. Filled with the familiar thrill of anticipation at a new immersive show, I was prepared for something dark and brooding; what I got was a sweet melancholy nostalgia. Rooms full of boxes I could open and unlock, characters who fed you grapes or told you a bedtime story. It was a much more guided experience than Sleep No More or Queen of the Night, but the loose structure helped add to the feeling of fate; it was dumb luck that led you on your past rather than your choices. As with The Drowned Man, I don’t want to give any specifics because it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. But it was a beautiful show: very intimate, and the dancing was unique and gorgeous. It uses the space in strange and interesting ways, and I think I might have to go through the looking glass again soon.
  5. Cripple of Innishmaan: Finally, I saw this strange play on Broadway. Not going to lie, I went to mainly to see Daniel Radcliffe. But the play was fun; generally musicals are more my scene (with the exception of Shakespeare), but this was funny and dark and challenging. The set was absolutely gorgeous, somehow they actually created the effect of clouds rolling, and the rotating set made for some really neat scene changes. The play itself is about a small island village off the coast of Ireland. It’s about small towns and small people and the things that cripple us. It was really funny, and I enjoyed the way it plays with audience expectations. It was wickedly clever. It wasn’t my favorite show ever, but I think that might be more my taste rather than any particular fault with the show. It had some really great moments and I enjoyed it overall.

So that’s the GREAT BIG THEATER RECAP for May and June! I’m hoping to try to get to Hedwig and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, but I’m afraid that might be impossible post-Tony’s. Keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, I’m heading home on Friday. I’m looking forward to taking a break from the city and seeing my family!

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Just Getting Started

As you may be aware, we have gotten a ton of snow lately. This has resulted in at least one snow day a week for the past month (I went back to work today after 5 days off, between the snow days, the weekend, anImaged Presidents Day). I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thoroughly sick of snow! SO SICK OF IT. At least in Ohio I could hide in a nice warm car…in the city it’s all ice slicks and puddles and sand-snow-slush. I like winter, but I’ve decided that February is a pointless month. It should just go home so we can all go outside again!
The plus side to all the snow (besides the snow days) is that I’ve finally forced myself to sit down and write a blog post! January was quite a month. 2014 has certainly gotten off to a great start.  In addition to 50-something inches of snow, there’s been a birthday, some good news, and some adventures.
The birthday was quite the extravaganza. I had some extra vacation days from 2013 that I had to use by the end of February, so I decided to take a four-day weekend for my 24th. I celebrated with some excellent mac and cheese and even better company Friday night. If nothing else comes from New York, at least it’s introduced me to this wonderful, crazy bunch of people. I continued my revelry on Saturday with a a birthday visit to Sleep No More with Rayna and her sister. It was another excellent show. I really love that each visit brings me deeper into the story and helps me solve some of the mysteries. I think Rayna and her sister enjoyed the show; it was their first trip to the McKittrick. I’m hoping I can lure them back another time because there’s still so much to discover! While at the McKittrick, I finally met up with some of the Sleep No More fans I follow on Tumblr. They were very friendly, and I’m hoping we can meet again soon to compare stores!
So, other adventures. In January, I got tickets to see Birdy perform at the McKittrick. It was a lovely, intimate little show, and I really enjoyed it. From what I overheard in the elevator, it was mostly a show for music tobogganindustry people, so the crowd was really chill. I quite enjoyed myself, and Birdy herself was amazing. What a voice! Later in the month we braved the Super Bowl crowds to ride the toboggan in/near Times Square. It was an hour and a half wait (after you got the tickets), but it was fun! After all, how many times can you say that you rode a giant slide down Broadway?
So far, February has been just as busy. We returned to school at the end of January and I’m loving my Children’s Publishing class. Finance is finance, but not the worst thing I’ve ever taken. On the fun side, I managed to snag a pair of tickets to see the Colbert Report, which was a blast. If you see the February 4 episode (Pussy Riot was the guest), you might be able to spot Sari and me in the crowd (though I hope not; I was completely unprepared to go to a taping of a show; I was wearing a I-need-to-do-laundry sweater from the back of my closet and my hair was…well, my hair. But spontaneity, right?). Later that same week I went to another comedy taping for Steve Byrne. He was…semi-funny. If you run out of things on Netflix and watch his comedy hour on Netfilx, you might see me and Rayna looking vastly uncomfortable in the fifth row. But even if the comedy wasn’t super funny (it was sort of funny), I enjoyed watching how they set up for a comedy taping like that. Plus, the opening comedian was the guy taking over for Seth Meyers on SNL, so that was cool (Note: He was much funnier than Steve Byrne). And I got to have Eggs Benedict for dinner.
Now, finally, for the big news: I’m going to London with NYU! NYU is organizing a trip to London to volunteer at the London Book Fair, and I was one of the students selected to go! I’m so excited; I love going to BEA, and I can’t wait to see what a more internationally-focused book fair is like. Plus, my friend from Brazil, Marilia, will be there on business, so I will get to celebrate her birthday with her! We don’t have many details yet, but I can barely wait until April!
2014 has been a success so far! I’ve always felt more comfortable with even years, so I hope there’s more to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings!
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A Trip Home, a Trip on a Boat, and a Trip to the McKittrick.

This is John the lion.

This is John the lion.

Oh, what a weekend! Though first, I suppose I should back track a bit and talk about my week home. It was wonderful to go back, even though the flight to Cincinnati was a little traumatic (I got vomited on a little. It was awful. Could have been worse. Got free booze, though.) It was an incredibly busy week. Mom and I did a lot of shopping, since I’ve shrunk at least 3 sizes since this time last year. So I have clothes that actually fit me now, which is exciting! (Being an adult is weird…I get excited about all sorts of boring things these days.) Dad and I went to the zoo, which was awesome. I got to go to the Black “Wild Stallion Eyes” Shelton concert, which involved rum and Waffle House. Country music, Jack Daniel’s Down Home Punch, and Waffle House are a combination that is either the best thing ever or the worst. The crowd watching was almost as interesting as Union Square or the subway after midnight.

The Cincinnati Zoo has made all sorts of changes since I was little; the most exciting has to be the new Africa exhibits. I got to feed a giraffe, and I got about a foot from a lion named John (there was glass between us, and he was a shy lion). The new facilities are gorgeous, and there’s scheduled times to watch each animal work with a trainer, so that’s pretty awesome. 10 year-old pre-vet me would have lost her mind. 23 year-old publishing me pretty much did lose her mind.

I ate SO MUCH FOOD. Everything tastes better when I don’t have to make it, and it’s even better than that when Mom makes it. I don’t think it’s my cooking skills; I think it’s just a universal fact. We also went to the Dublin Irish Festival, which was a lot of fun. I got to see a few of my friends there; though I wish we’d had more time. Time always seems to be the issue when I’m home. I discovered some great new bands (Enter the Haggis is pretty good, although they are about 150x’s better live) and we got to see Gaelic Storm. It was a fun weekend and a good way to end the week.

So, back to New York. The flight back was much more uneventful. We had the company picnic on Friday, which was nice. Less like an episode of “The Office” than I’d expected (I assume all offices function like The Office until proven otherwise) and I enjoyed talking about books with my boss’s daughter. This weekend was insane. Saturday we saw Jukebox th

Stolen from Sari because my phone decided it's too hipster for pictures.

Stolen from Sari because my phone decided it’s too hipster for pictures.

e Ghost, live in concert, on a boat. Yeah, that’s right, ON A BOAT. It was pretty awesome to listen to some of my favorite music while looking at the gorgeous skyline. It was one of those nights where I remembered “I live here. This is my city.” It was sort of magical, jumping up and down, feeling the deck rock, literally and metaphorically, beneath me and everyone else as the Statue of Liberty loomed overhead. I didn’t quite feel infinite, but we came pretty close.

And then last night was my last trip to Sleep No More. I will spare you all the details, as I’m sure most of you who actually talk to me are sick to death of hearing my ravings about this show (he

y, I could be addicted to hard drugs or One Direction. At least this is an artistic addiction!). But it was another wonderful night. I got a blessing and a necklace, a shot o

f booze, and a whole new perspective of bloody rave Macbeth. It was a great way to end things before my self-imposed hiatus.

Other than, that, things are pretty quiet here in the big city (or as quiet as they ever are). I’m getting ready to start classes next month. Was getting ready to start at OSU this confusing? I don’t know how I’d do this without all my lovely friends who started last year. And next week we’re going to finally make it down to Coney Island. I’ll let you know how it is, if I don’t get attacked by a shark and/or a homeless person. Signing off!

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I have Immortal Longings in me

Sitting at dinner with my friends last night, I was worried it wasn’t going to be as good as I needed it to be. I had been anticipating last night for a month, planning it for two…how could it not be disappointing? I was terrified Sleep no More wasn’t going to live up to my excitement.

And I was dead wrong.

I know, I know, I’ve posted about this already, but this is more of and in depth review of my experience last night, because I felt like it. So there. I think a good portion of my enjoyment of the show, or of anything at the hotel, comes from the buildup. The same bubbling of excitement and anticipation that happens every time I check in. It’s so strong it’s borderline anxiety. But it’s a wonderful feeling, it’s such a high right before you take the plunge and you’re immersed in that world. My friends back home are probably sick of me talking about this thing. It’s hard to understand how it is if you haven’t been, how utterly intoxicating it is. It’s like falling into an alternate universe where strange and mysterious things not only happen, but they happen to you.

Anyway, a recap of last night. After my butterflies in the entry maze, I relaxed into the pull of the show. I decided to follow Banquo, because I haven’t had much to do with the main characters, and he walked me out last time, so I was curious. I lost him for a bit after Duncan’s funeral and scrambled to find him. I gave up, only to bump into him playing card in the Speakeasy. Sometimes I feel like the McKittrick leads you to where you should be. I’d seen his fight with Macbeth before, but having followed him, it meant more. I followed Dead!Banquo out into the main street; He stopped and turned and whispered to me before dashing off to the banquet.

I tried following Macduff for a time after the banquet, but he got crowded, and some of the other followers were a bit rude for my taste. I did get to see him find Lady Macduff, and I saw his dance with the door…that was amazing, I’d never seen that before. I left him in the Macduff quarters after one elbow-in-the-side too many and decided to visit the Porter.

I love the Porter so much. He’s longing so much for Boy Witch, even though BW with will never want him. But he wants so much…and I think he wants more than just love. He wants a life as someone more than The Porter. Watching him handle the items around the lobby, I got that impression last night. That what troubles him is more than just unrequited love. It is unrequited love, but he’s also so trapped in who he is, and he wants so much to get out. Perhaps Boy Witch symbolizes that for him. And god, I understand that wanting. That longing so bad that it aches, the hole inside you that you’d do anything to fill, that follows you constantly, and sneaks up on you every time you’ve managed to forget it.

I followed him for the second loop, and was crushed when he pulled someone else into his office. At loop’s end, I was still feeling his story, so I decided to hang around. And that was my moment. He met my eyes and pulled me off. It wasn’t what I expected, my heart broke for him, and he left me with a smear of lipstick and a ring. I love the Porter’s story even more now. (I read a very interesting and scholarly take on the Porter and Hecate and the loops, but selfishly I like the simple version of love and longing better for the moment, simply because it struck several chords in my last night. Besides, I’m still young and new, you have to enjoy the shallows before you can dive to the depths.).

After our moment, I felt sad and unsure, and I hadn’t visited the town much, so I decided just to stop up there for 10 minutes before the final banquet. I managed to stumble in on the rave, which was a bit of a jarring adjustment after the quiet of the lobby. After, I tried to stop back and check on the Porter, but the black masks were out, so I headed down for the banquet. After the final scene, Lady Macduff walked me back to the Manderly and wished me a good night.

Swapping stories with my friends was cut short by a very educational performance by Calloway (who was new to me; the previous times I’ve been to the Manderly, it’s just been Maximillian). It was a funny performance, and the cast got to showcase some of their other skills (how is it fair they can dance and sing? Bah!). It was nice to end the night on a lighter note. All in all, another memorable night at the McKittrick. Three down, many more to come I hope.

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I dare do all that may become a man.

Hello old friend!

Well, so much for my New Year’s resolution to post more. I have, however, kept my resolution to DO more. The past 3 months have been full of doing. From advanced screenings of movies to finding new bars with friends to sitting on the Iron Throne of Westeros.

I think one of my favorite discoveries is Sleep No More, a theater experience in a converted warehouse space in Chelsea. The show is Macbeth meets Hitchcock meets a creepy adult playground. There are five floors to explore over the course of three hours, and the show loops three times, splitting up and running all over the 100 different rooms. The show itself is beautiful and wonderful and more than a little intoxicating. The closeness of the actors and the fact the whole point is to be brave and explore (“Fortune favors the bold”) makes for a unique and exhilarating experience. But it’s more than that. The very atmosphere is magical, full of mystery and possibility. Even The McKittrick’s other event spaces are wonderful. Last night, some friends and I went to a concert at the upstairs restaurant, and it was wonderful. It felt like what New York should be, sitting in a booth with my friends sipping overpriced but deliciously classy cocktails and listening to chill bluesy covers in a dimly lit plush bar.

In a city that is very often isolating, where we put on our headphones and turn up our music and try not to meet anyone’s eye, there’s something to be said about an experience that makes eye contact sensual and a simple hand hold exhilarating. At The McKittrick, whether you are there for the show or just there to relax and have a drink, it’s easy to feel like you’re part of something, something sophisticated and secret and wonderful.

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