Continuing with my obsessive Sleep No More blogging, vague acquaintance Deborah Castellano blogs about the show from a Neopagan perspective very different from my own: Sleep No More as theatrical Hellenistic religious initiation.
Which brings us to initiatory experience, magic and theater. Let's talk some truth talk here, to get any kind of Pagan/Occult experience to have a certain level of theatricality, you're still dealing with your regularly practicing group and you're probably in someone's living room...Neo-Paganism, like it or lump it, has more in common presently with coming from the sixties radical movements than when theater and religion used to mesh together in Greece.
The closest to that Greek theater/nitiatory experience that I've gotten is seeing Sleep No More. Firstly, you're wearing masks and you're not to speak. Secondly, each room is amazingly detailed as it took over 400 volunteers to put together the rooms. Thirdly, they separate you from whomever you came with so that you can have a solitary experience that is exactly what you want to do at all times.
And after a certain point, it's hard to tell where you've been and what you've seen and things that are similar but not exactly the same and who is observing who and the fatigue that starts to give over to the ecstatic experience as it becomes harder and harder to tell what's real and what's dreamed. The *only* way you can ever experience such a ritualistic immersive experience is this way - to pay for your ticket and for there to be a cast of nearly a thousand people who have put this together to be so detailed and choreographed and the cast of thousands of devotees who have started their own strange rituals (like leaving their own hair samples in the room full of the four hundred volunteers' samples) happening under the sanctity of the production, just like it's happened in religion since religion started.
It's an ecstatic, spiritual experience that is not like anything you'll ever be able to experience again (and even people who have gone five or seven times have different dreamlike experiences each time) so as Ferris once said, If you have the means, I highly recommend it. If it gets extended until the end of the year, I'll sell whatever organ I have to so I can go again. It's been two weeks and I'm still dreaming and thinking about it.
Again, a very different perspective from mine, but spot on. Having been a religious person myself, I agree that in me, at least, this show pushes a lot of the same brain-buttons.