Dreamers and Insomniacs: Audiences in Sleep No More and The Night Circus


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

When the British theater company Punchdrunk brought their production Sleep No More to the United States, they offered audiences the chance to immerse themselves in a noir-style mash-up of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Rather than passive observers of a static spectacle, audiences of Sleep No More became active players in its world. The show developed a passionate fan following, including author Erin Morgenstern, who drew upon her experiences with Sleep No More as she was developing the magical circus at the center of her debut novel, The Night Circus. In both the theatrical world of Sleep No More and the fictional world of Morgenstern’s Le Cirque des Rêves, audiences are responsible for mapping their own journeys through the created spaces of the productions, shaping their own experiences of the event. Sleep No More and The Night Circus are tributes to the power of audiences, privileging spectator over spectacle.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.