First Look: An Unnerving Night at the Theater

Macbeth is undoubtedly one of Shakespeare’s most haunting works, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this spooked by a trip to the theater. Situated in and around 93 creepily noirish rooms, Sleep No More is a modern interpretation of the Scottish play produced by Emursive and performed by Britain’s Punchdrunk group. Their “immersive theatrical production,” which starts this Monday (purchase tickets at, lets audience members wander aimlessly around a trio of six-story warehouse buildings totalling over 100,000 square feet in Chelsea. You’ll start the night by ascending this staircase and then get thoroughly lost in a darkly lit labyrinth, encountering storytelling actors and bizarre settings everywhere you turn. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Lady Macbeth’s bedroom overlooks a newly constructed garden with brick walls and pathways built from scratch by set designers and volunteers. Photo: Wendy Goodman

I was especially intrigued by this installation in one of the dining rooms. The forks were glued into the shape of crucifixes and stuck into mounds of salt by one of the show’s legion of interns. The crosses are meant to counter the spells of the Weird Sisters, whose witchy presence seems to be everywhere in this place. Photo: Thom Kaine

A makeshift cobblestone street leads to an office filled with notes, old photos, and clippings. Photo: Thom Kaine

A detail of the office’s wall. All of the clippings, containing quotes from literary sources, have been stained with tea so they appear aged. Photo: Thom Kaine

The open cabinets in this sewing room contain thimbles made of salt. I need not mention again that witches can’t stand salt. The lighting in this photo is not what you’ll see in the show”it’ll get much spookier. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This prop really creeped me out. Each of the drawers is stuffed with locks of real human hair. Photo: Thom Kaine

This cobblestone street gives a sense of the vastness of the space. During each night’s show, there will be only a select number of audience members allowed in at a time”each given his or her own mask to wear. Better get your tickets fast; Sleep No More has already built a cult following in London and, at this point, is scheduled to last just six weeks here. Photo: Thom Kaine

First Look: An Unnerving Night at the Theater