Is it weird to admit that what I fear the most about Sleep No More is the audience itself? I don’t even mean outright irritation with those who are pushy or even the clingy pairs. To be more specific, there is just one attendee that I learned to fear during the span of a single evening, and that fear extends beyond him to taint nearly everyone else. I cringe in the crowds and swiftly retreat.
Once upon a time, I attended REMIXED. It promised to be such an amazing night. I was giddy and early, and whoknowswhatmighthappen. To make a very long story short, another audience member pretended to be a performer and took advantage of me. He pulled it off quite well in the beginning. Sure, I was a little bewildered, but it was April Fools’. Actors in masks? It could happen. (And I guess, technically, it did…)
He acted as if he was taking me for a one-on-one. He made eye contact. Offered the hand. It was perfect. Trust me, he pulled it off with a certain air of confidence and familiarity with SNM. You know, up until he started behaving inappropriately. To the extent that I was essentially in tears in the middle of a room full of people, and not a single person noticed because, hello, masks.
Once I realized he was not part of the show, I slipped away and hightailed it back to the Manderley Bar. The staff was very prompt at dealing with the situation and having him removed, but my night was ruined. When I tried re-entering, all I felt was terror with a hefty dose of anxiety. I’ve since returned to The McKittrick Hotel. I still love it. And I adore the online community. But still, whenever I enter its premises, that chilly what-if returns. The one that never existed during my earlier visits. The circumstances were unusual. I doubt anyone would have been fooled if it had been a regular day. Still, if you are ever in attendance, and you notice a patron bothering another, please think about doing something. Even just let a steward know.
P.S. The Sleep No More staff = wonderful. Seriously. There wasn’t really anything they could have done to prevent what happened. It’s the nature of the show. But believe me, they went out of their way to make things up to me, and I appreciate that.
P.P.S. There are also plenty of nice people in the audience. Ones that will hold the door open for you or helpfully offer you a jar of candy from on high. Tall people who kindly let short people stand in front of them for scenes, and those who can’t help the instinctual whispered apology whenever there is an accidental stepping on toes or a crash in dark alley.
P.P.P.S. I’m nervous about posting this. If I keep adding postscripts, then I can put it off!
Monday, July 2, 2012