Copyright © 2011, Punchdrunk. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further
reproduction prohibited without permission.
Far and away, the best off-Broadway show to hit NYC in a long time, Sleep No More is a daring interpretation of classic theater (Macbeth) characterized by an immersive experience that has audiences and reviewers singing the show’s praises. Situated in the infamous McKittrick Hotel (is it real?), the story of Sleep No More is expressive, macabre, sensual, and haunting. The experience is so intoxicating and surreal that audiences can’t resist returning to the show again and again.
Imagine our excitement when Punchdrunk, the London-based theater company, asked Arkadia if we would work with them to conceive, design and produce the show’s program. (Hell yeah!) The rules were clear. The program had to serve as both a permanent record of the show’s concept, cast and crew, and also as a keepsake that would, by design, act as a permanent reminder of the audience’s experience. Punchdrunk insisted the program push the boundaries of print design in every detail.
At the beginning of the project, the client refrained from telling us the story of the show. They insisted we attend the production to appreciate the full depth of the immersive experience. Only then, they said, could we come up with ideas and concepts that were credible and authentic. And they were right.
Arkadia shot photography and created the illustrations. We searched the mills for the right paper. The red ink in the printed program had to be the color of blood. Even the thread that binds the program had to be reminiscent of materials used during the 1930s. The classic typography was carefully selected and the French fold of each page had to startle and surprise. No detail was left untouched as we even insured the smell of the book reminded readers of the show’s more macabre themes.
The result is a visual feast that readers can explore again and again. Jonathan Hochwald, Sleep No More’s executive producer said, Arkadia & Co just get it. They have a 7th sense that few possess — the ability to feel the soul of a creation and then to wrap the perfect design aesthetic around it. Their work is handcrafted, intuitive, thoughtful and inspiring, and they are an absolute pleasure to explore and imagine with. We are very proud of our Sleep No More program, a beautiful companion piece to the live experience. We look forward to creating our next edition together.
Now go see the show before tickets sell out and don’t forget to buy a program!