Lily Ockwell Changed My Life

Written by Aaron ⋅ Published on Friday, 5th April, 2013

The title of this post might seem like an exaggeration, but it is not.

It has been nearly two months since the Arts Education trip to New York. Not one week has gone by when I didn’t think about the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More. The design of the set, music, & lighting are extraordinarily intricate. The dancing & acting are mesmerizing. The story is based on Macbeth with a film noir twist, Sleep No More is an immersive theatre performance & unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

Upon entering the McKittrick Hotel, I was given a playing card & told to continue on down a hallway almost void of light. Through this dark maze, I arrived at the Manderley Bar; dimly lit & reminiscent of a speak easy. After a moment, the card I & a few others in the Manderly held was called. We were lead to another room. We were given masks, invited to wear them. We were told anonymity was essential, instructed not to speak or use our personal telephones. Next we were lead into an elevator; as it rose we were told fortune favors the bold.

I began to explore the dimly lit hotel; slowly at first, then with growing curiosity; reading notes, opening drawers, peeking at mirrors that had been turned to face the wall. I was in a small sitting room when a scream came from one of the hallways; Lady Macduff, played by Lily Ockwell. The surreal beauty of Lilly Ockwell’s performance held my attention completely, the seamless flow of dance & acting felt like the embodiment of beauty. That the experience is staged was forgotten long ago, as was any apprehension I’d had about seeing the show. I might have explored more of the hotel or followed other characters but I chose to stay with Lady Macduff; this involved a lot of running, being locked with her in a small closet sized room, & ended with her kiss on my cheek back in the Manderkey Bar at the end of the show.

Lily Ockwell changed my life. Her performance as Lady Macduff was magic. Never have I been so deeply captivated. This experience makes me want to do more with my life, to abandon doubt more often & embrace adventure. The dedication of all the performers in Sleep No More is inspiring. I definitely need to see Sleep No More again, & plan to find other immersive theatre experiences in the future.

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