I wrote recently that Sleep No More is in something of a renaissance. I’ve been to the show a few more times since, so wanted to add some further thoughts.

* I’d mentioned that Jesse Kovarsky’s Boy Witch is great. I saw it again last week and it got even better! He’s more confident in the role now, and he’s added more of his own unique touches. I was often smiling under my mask while following him - both because he’s clearly having fun teasing the audience, and because he’s just so good. The precision and beauty of his movement during the pool table solo is awe-inspiring. And I just love how he engages with his crowd - he’s so good at creating a connection.

* Speakeasy Barman is not a character I usually follow. I get the sense that you’re actually not *supposed* to.  But I gave it chance because Jesse was on, and actually it was very fun. Jesse just has a natural instinct for how to make a character interesting - he was subtle, but was always doing things to keep the audience’s attention and bring the character to life. If you catch him in the role, it’s worth spending a loop. 

* I was looking forward to seeing Leslie Kraus as Sexy Witch, and it totally lived up to my expectations. She’s like… an evil fairy sprite, or something. So tiny and delicate and teasing - she reminds me of Ching-I Chang, who was my all-time favorite. Like Jesse, she’s delightfully fun to follow. And her bar solo just KILLS it - it’s so absorbing, hypnotic, absolutely stunning.

* Austin Goodwin’s Porter has long been one of my favorites, and I loved seeing it from another perspective when I was following Boy Witch the other night. I only had a few moments watching the Porter, but even then Austin has such presence, and such a delicate, graceful vulnerability. If you’re following Boy Witch, it’s like a concentrated experience of the Porter, too - you see such key moments: the longing, the hope, and then crushing heartbreak. Austin is amazing at those scenes.

* Elizabeth Romanski’s Violet is always delightful. She says the intro speech perfectly every time - she’s funny, she’s welcoming, she’s threatening, and she’s otherworldly. She hits the elevator door HARD and I’ve never seen her get the timing wrong when introducing James.

In truth, I think the intro is often the weakest part of the show - when done poorly it can slide into “cheesy haunted house” territory. :/ But Violet absolutely lives up to the quality of anything else you see once inside the hotel.

* Nick Bruder is REALLY REALLY SCARY. He whispered that Macbeth thing to me the other day and, like, I wasn’t sure I’d survive the experience. It totally lured me into following him, though - second loop, no less.

* Paul Zivkovich’s Porter was already one of the best things ever in the show - the only Porter I’ve seen fully succeed at both the humorous and the tragic aspects of the character - and it’s gotten even better since he got back from Drowned Man.

I miss Paul’s Fool. The characters are distinct, but much of what made his Fool great is the same type of thing that’s making his Porter so good now. It’s *little* things - I don’t want to spoil, everyone should go see and be surprised - but the overall effect creates such a nuanced sense of character, someone that you feel you *know*, and that you like - just from watching him, observing the tiniest quirks, even just the way his eyes move.

The way he approaches the witches at the phone booths, for example - other Porters come forward with such a tense sense of expectation, of terrified hope, and Paul’s Porter has that too, but he approaches in such an understated way, sidling in like one of the audience, like he’s trying (and totally failing) to hide the immensity of his longing. It’s like, he plays so many layers and underlying emotional notes - not just the longing and the fear and the hope, but the character’s own awkward self-consciousness of those things, and he does it in a way that’s kind of funny, and terribly sad at the same time, and relatable in a way that makes you dread what’s about to happen, and wish you could protect him.

The way he relates to the other characters, also, reminds me of his Fool. Porter and Fool exist on the margins, observing the more dramatic people around them - in a literal way, they direct the audience to watch the major characters - but Paul does it so that his interest in them actually becomes an interesting trait about his own character as well.

Also - the Porter 1:1 is my favorite 1:1 ever, and Paul’s version is awesome.

* I had doubts when I heard Oliver Hornsby-Sayer is playing Porter and Macduff - I was never a Dwayne fan. But he’s *really* good - his Porter is so expressive, with an innocent quality that makes him extra sympathetic. He’s an excellent dancer, of course, and his durational scenes were interesting and effective - I love how they all put their own spin on certain moments.  His 1:1 was great - that innocent quality totally draws you in.

* I’ve never felt very engaged with Macduff before - he seems like a character that exists mainly to do impressive choreography and to have a wife who’s way more interesting than he is. But Olly’s Macduff drew me in, with that same expressive, innocent quality of his Porter. You really believe that Macduff adores his wife, that he’s bewildered about how to help her but trying really hard - and his later abandoning of her seems less blatantly negligent and more just naive, which makes him a lot more sympathetic. Plus he’s doing the wall climbing choreography now, yay!

* The other night, David Botana gave the best elevator intro I’ve ever seen. I actually hung back so that I could see everything he’d do. It was kind of like if a really hilarious Norman Bates was running the elevator? But with like, a completely tongue-in-cheek awareness of the elevator operator tropes.

* Aside from that random brilliant Botana intro, James Graber is otherwise the winner at running the elevator. He is ominous and funny and you are guaranteed a better show if he is there telling people not to hold hands. THANK YOU JAMES GRABER.

* Paul Corning! His John Lindsay is always a delight at the Heath, and it was fun to see him bringing some of that charm to the Manderley recently too.

* Since he’s great in the bar, I decided to try following Paul’s Taxidermist, which was an odd experience. I’ve never followed the Taxidermist before, and I found it really scary. I wanted to run away. He’s so creeeeeepy. Which I guess means he was effective! I really enjoyed his performance, but my own timid reaction weirded me out.

* I’m literally still in shock that I saw Conor Doyle as Boy Witch the other night. I was drinking absinthe right beforehand so maybe I just hallucinated the whole thing? Hopefully one day I’ll hallucinate seeing his Porter, too.

readwithjoy:

drinkthehalo:

recreatethemagic:

Book #21: The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles, Book 1) [by Dorothy Dunnett]
Words aren’t gonna work for me very well right now. This story is too fresh in my memory, these characters are too close to my heart, my emotions are just too raw.
Maybe it’s enough to say that I’ve never read anything like this in my entire life. Apparently I didn’t even know what historical fiction was until I opened this book. Dorothy Dunnett will unfortunately never know how thankful—truly, honestly, grateful—I am that she existed and that she created the character named Francis Crawford of Lymond.
It would be an understatement to say that Lymond utterly devastates me. I am beyond fascinated by his complexities, by his scarred but nonetheless brilliant beauty. I have only finished the first installment of this series, but I am taken aback by how much this character means to me already.
This is one of those books that I desperately wanted to finish, yet never wanted it to end.  

Yes - this was my response after my first read, too.

I read this about 18 years ago. Clearly I am long past due for a re-read of the entire series. Such a brilliant book.

Yesss OMG! Re-read!! 18 years is definitely overdue - I’m pretty much always in the midst of re-reading this series…. :)

readwithjoy:

drinkthehalo:

recreatethemagic:

Book #21: The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles, Book 1) [by Dorothy Dunnett]

Words aren’t gonna work for me very well right now. This story is too fresh in my memory, these characters are too close to my heart, my emotions are just too raw.

Maybe it’s enough to say that I’ve never read anything like this in my entire life. Apparently I didn’t even know what historical fiction was until I opened this book. Dorothy Dunnett will unfortunately never know how thankful—truly, honestly, grateful—I am that she existed and that she created the character named Francis Crawford of Lymond.

It would be an understatement to say that Lymond utterly devastates me. I am beyond fascinated by his complexities, by his scarred but nonetheless brilliant beauty. I have only finished the first installment of this series, but I am taken aback by how much this character means to me already.

This is one of those books that I desperately wanted to finish, yet never wanted it to end.  

Yes - this was my response after my first read, too.

I read this about 18 years ago. Clearly I am long past due for a re-read of the entire series. Such a brilliant book.

Yesss OMG! Re-read!! 18 years is definitely overdue - I’m pretty much always in the midst of re-reading this series…. :)

As happy as I am with Sleep No More right now, I really, really want to go to Studio 8 again. To watch his eyes as he tells me the sad story, and to follow the red string, the Fool clutching me tighter and tighter, both of us trembling, and then that wild adrenaline rush of running together through the darkness.

They Are Everywhere

riverlethecruises:

I am still working my way through the ground floor. I’m getting forgetful, and also hating that I have left out so much from these descriptions that I adored (Claude has barely featured, despite being such fun to follow. I wish I could capture Alice and Stanford’s dance with the desk, but I just don’t have the words!) In the meantime, I thought I should write up my encounter with the Seamstress whilst I could still remember it at all, and I’ve tacked on some random character notes I wrote immediately after the close of the show. Ephemera. I’ll finish this eventually…

………………………………….

THE SEAMSTRESS (1:1)

(Annabeth Berkeley)

It is in the dressing room mirror that she chooses: as she scrawls that cruel message for Wendy - “They are everywhere” - in lipstick upon the glass, the eyes of her reflection meet mine, guiltily. For a moment she looks scared, then defiant - she turns, stands, her motions brisk and birdlike. She picks up a pair of shoes and hands them to me. Taking them, I hurry after her as she strides away, up the stairs, back to Studio Two, through the dark maze behind the sets to the dressing area. She gestures for me to put the shoes on the stool, firmly takes my hand and leads me to a door in the corner, which she unlocks, pulls me inside, and locks once more behind us. It is a small dressing room room, well-lit and painted in cool colours, with a bank of mirrors at one wall, and before it a long, white dressing table laden with make-up. The only incongruous touch is the dried herbs hanging, faded and dusty, in thick bunches from the ceiling. She has me sit on a low stool before the dressing table and perches herself on a slightly higher chair, so she looks down on me, a kind of condescension. She takes off my mask, with a broad smile that does not reach her frightened eyes. Everything about her is neatly perfect, from the scarlet lipstick to every glossily aligned strand of her beehived hair. She reaches up to a bunch of the herbs and plucks something from it, which she drops into a small dish “for later”. She picks up a silver hairbrush and begins by combing out my hair. This is followed by powder brushed softly across my cheeks “You don’t want to shine too bright out there!” And lastly whatever was placed in the dish is smudged across my lips - it is hard and crumbles as she applies it and makes my mouth sting slightly. It takes a long time to apply it, and as she does, she chats to me, adopting a conspiratorial, all-girls-together tone.

“You remind me of a queen. Oh, one of the beautiful ones!” She adds, hastily reassuring. And she begins to unwind a tale of an ancient queen who gathered power from her beauty, from her seduction of great men. Men who soon died. “They say her secret was in her ruby red lips” She says, as the last of the herb crumbles between her fingers. “But some say it was poison. Others, witchcraft. Tell me” She leans close, gripping me tightly and hissing into my ear in a harsh tone, caught between anger and terror “Do you know which it was?” And as she speaks, she turns my head around, forcing me to look into the mirror beside me. It has turned onyx black, and within it, beyond the shadows of my reflection, is another face, a pale thing built of dried flowers and leaves. My own image is haloed in the dead roses of its skull, a ghostly memento mori.

And abruptly, she releases me. The mirror clears. She straightens and looks as me again with that glassy-eyed, too-bright smile, quick and businesslike. I am told I must hurry, I am needed on set, but before I go she presents me with a gift. A necklace, a silver horse charm on a turquoise ribbon. “Perhaps it will keep you safe.” She says. “Or not!” Her words are hard and clipped. I cannot help but think to Wendy’s necklace, to the charm hung with Romola’s dress, ill-fated. But she is ushering me away now, replacing my mask, bidding me run back to the studios.

………………………………….

THE FOOL

(Grieg Cooke)

No. Let’s call him Oscar. He deserves the dignity of a name he can forget while he tries to drink himself past caring. A ragged, wounded clown, prescient and in pain, stumbling through dark corridors at the whim of something other - but perhaps the nearest thing in the Studios to Stanford’s equal. The only other character we see with absolute self-awareness. He skirts the edges of oblivion like his tarot card namesake - fatalistically treading his inevitable path to Studio 8. He never looks more bleak than when he knowingly sends William to his death, but seems helpless to do any different. He knows he is a puppet, resisting the pulling of the strings and suffering for it, loathing his participation in events. Nonetheless, he will seek to make Lila smile, over and again, only to be mortified every time to hear Stanford’s words in his own mouth. And his courtship of Andrea is painful to behold, joyful in an act he knows to be inevitably futile - she is his shining light, his hope, even though he knows he has none. Grieg Cooke’s weary, soulful eyes are sadly apologetic as he softly takes my hand and leads me to that wooded hillside, where the terrible violence he has seen all along unfolds. His hand around my throat is almost absent-minded, but I can feel the horrible, screaming tension in his body as he takes a fistful of the fabric of my dress and jerks it viciously towards my ribs, a dumbshow of the stabbing occurring before our eyes. When it is over, he does not immediately applaud like the rest of them, but turns me and pulls me into a terribly gentle embrace. He knows this will happen again and again, and he is powerless to change it.

………………………………….

ALICE

(Pascale Burgess)

Stone-hearted Alice. What does this terrible scheme offer her? Her husband’s price is clear, his desires are base and transparent, but she is more of a puzzle. Is she a true believer in Stanford’s vision or simply a sadist? The passion in her eyes as she raises those bloodied scissors to the light is frightening. She relishes her role in Delores fall from grace, revels in the cruelty of it. “Right?” - it’s the bark of a jackal, a question as punctuation, bullying you into agreement and submission. To be assured of her friendship, as both Frankie and Lila are, is to know you have lost. She cares for no one, save perhaps her enigmatic employer, and even then “care” seems not the word. Serves, perhaps, for she is entirely his creature, although by the close of the show even that dynamic has twisted oddly about. As her fingers leave faint, bloody smudges on the Temple Pictures sign every time she passes through those doors - is it a kind of offering or more a compulsion, drawing strength from the symbol? It is the only moment she appears - naked. Unmasked.

………………………………….

FRANKIE

(Daniel Whiley)

Frankie was a strange one. I felt I wanted to follow him from my first visit, but never did until the very last show. A smiling naif, so out of place in the corrupting stygian dark of the Studios. But it had to be the right Frankie. Conor Doyle’s interpretation I found too obsequious and easy to believe when he confessed his tendency to annoy. In the end I had the inestimable good fortune to watch Daniel Whiley’s delicate, desperate, vulnerable boy. Poor Frankie. What draws him to the place? I don’t think it is fame or fortune, he just wants to be adored. It is 1962, he is not Claude, with wealth and status and the power to silence. In the outside world, high-strung, eager-to-please Frankie will get himself killed. For all that he despises Claude, I think he wants to believe his intimacies with him are more than some strange, one-sided transaction. His need to be loved is an addiction, all-consuming. I didn’t even register his infatuation with Marshall until that final night, and it is quite as tender as it is pointless. When, betrayed and broken hearted, he sits on the locker room set and weeps like the child he is, huddled and lonely, I can hardly bear to let Alice’s talons touch his shoulder. It is all I can do not to tear her away from him, knowing she only intends him more hurt. But inevitably his sanity will be sacrificed on Stanford’s altar. His strange, broken, hyena laughter as he runs from the place speaks volumes. Frankie will never really be a star. He is bluffing with no cards, and too innocent to realise everyone else is playing chess anyway.

Later note: I’ve read quite a lot of disparaging things about the characters of both Frankie and Faye. That they are shallow, manipulative (albeit ineptly). I feel sorry for them. Young actors know their sexuality is a commodity - Faye and Frankie are naively trying to negotiate their price, but it was other people taught them that was all they were worth.

Really interesting thoughts, especially about Frankie -  thank you for sharing. (Though I, very obviously, disagree about Conor’s version of Frankie. ;P )

recreatethemagic:

Book #21: The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles, Book 1) [by Dorothy Dunnett]
Words aren’t gonna work for me very well right now. This story is too fresh in my memory, these characters are too close to my heart, my emotions are just too raw.
Maybe it’s enough to say that I’ve never read anything like this in my entire life. Apparently I didn’t even know what historical fiction was until I opened this book. Dorothy Dunnett will unfortunately never know how thankful—truly, honestly, grateful—I am that she existed and that she created the character named Francis Crawford of Lymond.
It would be an understatement to say that Lymond utterly devastates me. I am beyond fascinated by his complexities, by his scarred but nonetheless brilliant beauty. I have only finished the first installment of this series, but I am taken aback by how much this character means to me already.
This is one of those books that I desperately wanted to finish, yet never wanted it to end.  

Yes - this was my response after my first read, too.

recreatethemagic:

Book #21: The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles, Book 1) [by Dorothy Dunnett]

Words aren’t gonna work for me very well right now. This story is too fresh in my memory, these characters are too close to my heart, my emotions are just too raw.

Maybe it’s enough to say that I’ve never read anything like this in my entire life. Apparently I didn’t even know what historical fiction was until I opened this book. Dorothy Dunnett will unfortunately never know how thankful—truly, honestly, grateful—I am that she existed and that she created the character named Francis Crawford of Lymond.

It would be an understatement to say that Lymond utterly devastates me. I am beyond fascinated by his complexities, by his scarred but nonetheless brilliant beauty. I have only finished the first installment of this series, but I am taken aback by how much this character means to me already.

This is one of those books that I desperately wanted to finish, yet never wanted it to end.  

Yes - this was my response after my first read, too.

arfman:

"We live inside a dream…"

arfman:

"We live inside a dream…"

Last night at the late show, I did the usual perfunctory check at the ballroom scene to see who was on. And I almost fell over the balcony.

Conor Doyle was Boy Witch.

Three and a half years ago, when I went to Sleep No More for the first time, Conor’s Boy Witch was the only thing that kept me from leaving early.

I didn’t like the show at first. It seemed wrong to do Shakespeare without dialog. Dance was not an art form that I appreciated.

There was one scene that caught my attention, which was this man lip syncing “Is That All There Is” while crying, and then this incredible, striking moment where this other man wiped the tears from his face.

(This is not usually what happens. But I swear I remember the Porter wiping the Boy Witch’s tears himself.)

I stayed at the show and followed the Boy Witch. I must have been impressed by the rave, but I don’t remember it. I just remember lurking on the edges of the shower scene afterward, having never had a more uncomfortably intimate theatrical experience. I didn’t help with the clothes, or interact with him at all, but just being there was bewildering and transformative. I was so disconcerted and scared and completely in the moment with the character - it becomes difficult to lose yourself in other forms of media after experiencing Punchdrunk at its best.

Boy Witch became my favorite character for a bunch of reasons. He runs an emotional gamut. He interacts with other interesting characters and all of his scenes are engaging. The way he teases and plays with his audience is so much fun, and just observing the crowd dynamics around him is fascinating.

I only ever saw Conor’s Boy Witch a handful of times. I never experienced his 1:1 or had much in the way of interactions. The last time I saw him in the role was almost two years ago.

And yet, every other Boy Witch, every time, I compare to him. There are others who are great. Austin is absolutely brilliant. Jesse is a new favorite. I’d started to wonder if Conor was really that good, or if maybe it was just that he’s the first performer I ever followed - maybe I’d just imprinted on him like a baby bird imprints on its mother. :P

He really is that good.

Every other performer who does Boy Witch is following a path set out for them by someone else. Some are really great at following it, but they are trying to embody this idea of the character in a way that has been taught to them.

Conor, I think, might just be a witch in real life. :P Every choice he made seemed natural. He has, of course, so much confidence and awareness of how to perform in the Punchdrunk context. And he just, I don’t even know how to describe it, but every choice he made was just *witchy*, true to the character without having to try. He has this way of luring the audience in while completely not pandering to them - teasing, making them feel grateful for every bit of attention, then moving on disinterestedly to lure the next one.

I think Conor is my favorite not because he’s the first performer I ever followed, but because of the aesthetic choices he makes. He has this disturbing edge, this uncompromising way of disconcerting you, of making the audience uncomfortable. That blank broken Frankie stare as Claude predatorily kisses him; the way his Eugene would sit there for five minutes eating an orange in the messiest way imaginable, oblivious to the room full of people watching; how his Boy Witch hands you his laced shoes and expects you to figure out how to get them on him.

I’ve very rarely had the Boy Witch 1:1. Never before with Conor. After wiping away his tears, he ran the tissue down his face, below his mouth, down his neck, his eyes wide, welling with tears, staring into mine, his hand over mine, pressing uncomfortably hard for a long moment against his throat. This… is what I mean about powerful aesthetic choices.

It was such a surprise to see him again. It reminded me of the early days of the show, when much of the cast had originated their characters - the dynamic was so different back then.

I don’t want to rave too much, but Conor’s Boy Witch is great, and if you ever see him in the role, follow.

laindh said: How many do you know about the cast's own projects/ other performances other than SNM? So far I've only heard of EAM's Boy Friday and they'll soon give a performance ("Chez Bushwick Presents: 2Night Show October"). Also Jesse will be appearing in the Death of Klinghoffer (metropolitan opera)?

bloodwillhavebloodtheysay:

Here are a few things I know about—  I’m sure there are more, and I encourage everyone to share them.  It’s awesome seeing SNM cast members (current and past) in other contexts.

Erik Abbott-Main - Boy Friday 

Julia Campanelli and Brandon Tyler Harris in Pink Moon

Emily Terndrup - Debut at the Knockdown Center (Oct. 7-9)

Jesse Kovasrky and Nick Bruder in The Death of Klinghoffer at The Met (October 20 - November 15)

Haylee Nichelle in Then She Fell  and Torrent  (Fall for Dance Festival (October 16 -17)

Tori Sparks inThird Rail Projects’ Roadside Attraction 

multumolim:

In response to drinkthehalo's post about youtube playlist updates, here’s a sample of the mix I’ve made of the two songs used in the finale. Eventually Burnin’ Hell dominates but is sped up from when it is used in the hoedown and continues to have some of “We Are Enough” mixed in, I believe. Not sure if it was always this way. I’ll post it on youtube when it’s done.

Oh wow, how cool! Thank you!  Please share the whole thing on YouTube when it’s done. :)

throwtherose:

drinkthehalo:

Some Drowned Man youtube playlist updates.

Thanks everyone who sent tips. I put where each song plays if I knew, but there are still plenty with question marks, so keep the info coming if you remember anything. :)

I’m particularly wondering:

- What was the instrumental track that plays while…

Thank you so much for putting together the playlist. It really is genius and my foolproof way of mentally teleporting back to Temple Studios.

#67+#68 Way way back in the autumn, Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction could be heard playing to an empty Studio 5. I think the same goes for The Standell’s Dirty Water. Two Grade A classics.

#69 Jim Kitson used to sing My Funny Valentine as his Harry Greener solo in Studio 3. *memories*

#70 My Plea For Love by The Starlings used to play in the diner as background music during Drugstore Girl’s downtime. Pretty sure it was lemonade-magic music.

Also, I really don’t think I’m making this up but… didn’t the finale used to only be Melt Yourself Down’s We Are Enough? I swear I remember sitting in the woodchip (maybe in November?) and realising they had started mixing it with Burnin’ Hell.

Is this right? Or am I deluded?

Thank you!!

Do you happen to recall around what scene was lemonade time? Just trying to figure out what order to place that song in.

I also remember the finale being set to “We Are Enough,” and then one day realizing that “Burnin Hell” was in the mix too. I was never sure if it was a later addition or if it just took time for me to notice.