Lily Ockwell Changed My Life
Written by Aaron ⋅ Published on Friday, 5th April, 2013
In the weeks since returning from New York, Sleep No More has continued to echo in my mind. Based on Macbeth with a film noir twist, Sleep No More is an immersive theatre and dance experience by Punchdrunk and presented by Emursive. I loved every moment and hope to go again.
When you arrive at Sleep No More you are given a playing card at coat check and told to continue on down a hallway, almost void of light. Soon enough you arrive at the Manderley Bar, dimly lit and reminiscent of jazz venues like Birdland. When your card is called, you’re lead to another room with those holding the same card and given identical white masks. Here you are told not to speak from this point onward, that anonymity is vital. Should things become too much, you are instructed to seek out someone in a black mask and they will lead you back to the bar. Next you’re lead into an elevator; as it rose we were told fortune would favor the bold. The elevator stops on several floors, only a few people are allowed off on each floor. Once you step off the elevator, what you do next is up to you. There is no back stage or intermission, the artists are in character for the duration of the performance. As you move into the world created in Sleep No More, you might forget you’re watching something that is staged.
Once off the elevator, I began to explore the dimly lit hotel; 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; in danced Lady Macduff, played by Lily Ockwell. The surreal beauty of Lilly Ockwell’s performance, the seamless flow of dance and acting held my attention completely. 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, and ended with her kiss on my cheek.
What I mean by “Lily Ockwell changed my life” is, seeing her performance as Lady Macduff in Sleep No More made me realize I need to sort out my priorities. I’d ignored this for a while but, as my twenties progressed, my life began to feel lackluster and unmotivated. The dedication of everyone involved with Sleep No More inspires me to do more with my life. I want to make good art and see more of the world. I want to have more amazing experiences like Sleep No More. I want to motivate students and be amazed with what they create. I want to live deliberately.