Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sleep No More NYC

One floor of the hotel had a bar, a creepy replica of the bar we were in when we first entered. No singing or drinks here. Hecate passed by me and stopped, and looked at me for a long time - a minute? Trust me, that's a minute that goes on forever. She then smiled, touched my neck and told me that she knew me, or recognized me, or was expecting me. Then she took me by the had and pulled me into a hall. She told me to wait where I was standing, that she had something for me, and then ducked into a room and shut the door behind her. I stood in that hallway for awhile, and I think I remembered there was a person in a black mask right next to me, so I would not have been able to follow her into that room. I didn't try to walk away, although I was pretty terrified, and wondered if the black mask person would try to stop me from leaving if I did. After awhile, Hecate came back out and took me by the hand again and led me into a small tea parlor. She removed my mask, sat me down at the table and told me a story. She looked at my palm, said a name - John? James? - and then placed a teacup on my hand. She talked about a boat at sea caught in a storm, placed a small folded boat (I think it was the same kind of origami boat that I used in a project last year), rocked my hand back and forth so as to create waves, then pushed the boat under water. She whispered something in my ear I think, something like "but we know what really happened." Then she pulled me out of the room and into a pitch black hallway. I couldn't see anything, not even her. She started laughing and pushed/pulled me back and forth while I was being sprayed with water, like being caught in a storm at sea. Then she abruptly shoved me through a door and slammed that door shut.

I think, once I was on the other side of the door, that I burst into tears.

I usually really hate stuff like that, or more accurately I hate being an audience member forced into audience participation. But as soon as I was separated from my friends at the beginning of the evening (there is no way to really see this production while staying with your group, it's an individual experience) I made the decision that I would try anything or go with anything presented to me. The white mask I was issued at the beginning helped with this. When she was staring at me it was all I could do not to run away. The combination of that fear, the unknown, and this INTENSELY PERSONAL experience was just plain hot. Thrilling. I'm pretty sure I was turned on the whole time, as well as scared, which made for interesting reflection later. Not that I wanted sex with Hecate or anyone, but that the experience was so personal and potent that there was no other way to physically respond. Later on I bumped into Hecate again, and she walked right up to me and put her arms around me and all I could think was "oh god, she's really going to kiss me." She did, but the mask's long "beak" prevented any contact and instead she kissed the mask.

I don't think I will try to create anything like this for a good long while. Nothing that I could do would be anything more than a derivative of this experience.  I feel like something fundamental inside of me has shifted - not just with me as an artist, but me as a person experiencing life.

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