Well it’s been a busy couple of days over here in NYC (we keep pinching ourselves to remind us that we are in New York – NEW YORK. Crazy. So incredible that we’re here, living here for the month, and watching a show every night. Like, who does this?! It’s the most amazing trip of our lives and wouldn’t be possible without all of you contributing to it, so thank you so much!) *gush over*.
So, it’s been a busy couple of days. Tuesday we headed back to the City Clerk’s office to get our marriage documents all signed off and stamped! We are now the proud owners of a certificate stating that we are legally MARRIED. So that’s pretty cool!
Then we headed over to Chinatown and Chels got all of her hair cut off! She’s been planning this for months because after growing her hair for the last three years for our wedding, she’s been going a little crazy. And she found out that in America it’s quite easy to donate your long hair to a charity that creates wigs for children with cancer. So she’s posting her ponytail to them. She’s much happier now that her head is a lot lighter and I think it’s a cute cut!
After leaving Chinatown, we had dinner in a really beautiful restaurant in Little Italy (just next door to Chinatown – who would’ve thought?!) and then headed out to Chelsea (the place, not the person) to see our next show…
Broadway Show #14: Sleep No More
Where: McKittrick Hotel
Seats: General Admission
Tickets purchased with contributions from: A. Nony. Mouse
This was the craziest theatrical experience I’ve ever had. It was exhilarating and confusing all at the same time. To start, you arrive at a random building, they get you to check in your bag and then “check-in” to the Hotel and you’re handed a playing card as your “room key”. Then you’re sent to a bar (beautiful, smokey, 1920’s themed) to mingle before your playing card is called out and at that point you’re led into a dark room and handed a mask that you must wear for the whole evening. You have to remain silent for the full three hours as well – and therefore remain anonymous for the whole experience. And then it all begins – you’re led into a dark elevator with a large group of other masked people and an actor stops the lift on various levels of the Hotel and lets different groups and individuals out to begin their experience (he split people up deliberately).
Chels and I were separated by our playing cards and we agreed that experiencing the Hotel alone was a great idea because then we could navigate as our instincts took us. The Hotel was created over five levels of the building and was super dark everywhere you went. The programme has notes from the directors describing that they were influenced by film noir in the lighting design and that’s exactly how it felt. From bedrooms, to insane asylum rooms, to graveyards, to forests, to a ballroom and banquet hall, (to name just a FEW of the spaces) this show had the most incredible production design I’ve ever seen. From the tiniest details to the grandest scale, all thought through and constructed to perfection. And you could interact with everything and anything, including the performers. The directors write that they chose to give the masks to the audience to encourage them to be bold with their exploration and perhaps be more voyeuristic than they would be without them. And that’s exactly what happened with everyone in the audience. Best moments for me: I saw a dance with two actors and a door between them (off it’s hinges) = amazing; a fight choreography between two men battling around a pool table; a solo dance by a nurse who had a body full of intense tics; and the most incredible slow motion scene playing out with all of the characters at a banquet.
Oh and I forgot to mention that the show is based on Macbeth, with hotel characters and story characters intermingling and on every level of the Hotel there were different scenes playing out between characters and you were free to stay for a scene and watch or you could just explore all of the spaces in the Hotel (Chels and I both clocked the whole building) and you could watch a scene play out and then follow an actor when they left a room to move to another space in the building. Fascinating. And the company running the whole ship is Punchdrunk, famous for their physical theatre, so no words used in this show, only dance. And the movement of the performers was extraordinary. So precise and deliberate and infinitesimal and grandiose. Amazing. Gush, gush, gush.
I’ve blabbed for too long now.. sorry. But on a final point. The reason this only receives a 7.5/10 is because although we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Hotel and experiencing something completely different, we only managed to see a couple of scenes from the story and had we not known Macbeth already, we would have no idea what was happening. But other than that, amazing. Oh and not only did they turn a large warehouse into the most incredible theatrical set, they also built a gorgeous garden bar on the roof that we had a post-show drink in. Amazing what money can provide..
Yesterday we had a rest day (because we’ve both got post-Wedding colds – blergh!) and we wrapped the day with another show..
Broadway Show #15: The Lion King
Where: Minskoff Theatre
Seats: Mid Mezzanine
Favourite number: He Lives in You
Tickets purchased with contributions from: Therese & John Clarke, Kjersti Engeland-Fors, Michelle & Bruce Commerer (and the whole Commerer clan!)
I studied the director of this show, Julie Taymor, when I was doing my Masters so I’ve waited a long time to see it in the flesh. And it was great! The puppetry mechanics are amazing and the dancing is beautiful and the direction is so subtle and so clever. I was actually expecting the show to be much more razzle dazzle Disney, with proof of all the cash they’ve spent on it. But actually it was beautifully theatrical. They really went for simplicity on this show and I loved that. I think that has everything to do with the director. There was one moment in particular that stuck with us which is when Mufasa dies and the lioness’ come out to grieve. The way Taymor showed their crying was the performers pulled blue ribbons down from the eyes of the lioness masks on their heads. It was so simple but so beautiful and moving. It really made me think a lot about Red Leap Theatre, the company I produce for at home, and how a lot of the work they create has similarities to the theatricality we experienced with this show. Amazing that despite huge differences in budget, Kiwi companies can create theatre just as beautiful as Disney.
Chels and I loved Timon and Pumba the best – they were definitely the life of the show! And the show adapted them a little like when they return to help Simba save Pride Rock and he needs them to be bait for the hyenas, instead of Timon dressing in drag and dancing the hula, like he does in the movie, he instead dressed in drag and danced the Charleston. Very cool! I loved Pumba’s puppet the best as well. The way they’ve designed the characters is really clever because the actor and puppet are integrated together – human and mechanics all in one. All in all, this one was a goodie.
Okay I think I’ve ranted enough for one blog.
Till next time,