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"The thing has happened, the thing I've dreaded, day after day, night after night."


SPOILERS ABOUND

Poor Players, Heard No More

Hello, my little cherubic jewels of the internet. It’s been a damned long while, and it’s high time that Maxim de Winter made his long-awaited return to the Tumblrverse. Keep your smelling salts on hand, ladies (and gents). I thought I’d get myself back into the swing of things with a little chat about the unseen guests at our favorite urban auberge.

The McKittrick Hotel, for all its artificiality in the face of some not-insignificant suspension of disbelief, is meant to represent a massive amount of space—a city, an asylum, a hotel, three residences, a forest and a graveyard. To contribute to the illusion that these spaces are “real” and “lived-in” requires a number of props that point to the existence of life outside of what we see in the show. Oftentimes this means implying the existence of other, unseen characters who do or once did occupy the space. The McKittrick would be a dead place indeed if we weren’t presented with hints that the twenty characters we see regularly interacted (at least during their ordinary, mortal lives) with other, perhaps less disturbed, folks about town.

So, here I will briefly list some of the off-stage characters of Sleep No More and will explain their significance to the show, such as there is any.

Lennox
While Lennox does not appear as a corporeal character within the McKittrick Hotel, his presence within the town of Gallow Green is remarked upon in several documents found in Malcolm’s detective agency, including the following lines from Act II, Scene iii:

(i) One witness statement in which Lennox is quoted as saying:

"The night has been unruly. Where we lay, our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say, lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death and prophesying with accents terrible of dire combustion and confused events new hatch’d to the woeful time. The obscure bird clamour’d the livelong night: some say, the earth was feverous and did shake.”

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Good afternoon, my darling readers.

Rebecca here, writing you all just a quick little note. It recently came to mine and Maxim’s attention that there have been some rumblings in the Tumblrsphere as to the Fair Use status of one of our posts.  To avoid the trouble of upsetting any of the talented and industrious men and women who work so hard to bring us the naughty chthonian pleasures of our favorite hotel, we promptly redacted some of the allegedly copyrighted material. 

In light of this, my darling idiot of a husband and I promise to be more careful in the future about posting original (that is to say, non-derivative) quotes from the show.

Cheers, and happy Sunday, everyone! 

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Once upon a time, there was a little boy. He was the happiest little boy in the whole world...

Her gloves were off. And her bare hands felt like a cool burn. The way she told it to me, it sounded like a fairy tale.

With my back against the wall, she buried her soft face against my chest and wept. And the rain swept against my face. And she smelled like a too-early love. 

“HELP ME FIND MY RING!!! I know you know where it is.”

Then she gave me a kiss I never earned and sent me away, back into the darkness.

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When Maxim and I first began thinking about the Porter’s function within the world of Sleep No More, we knew little else except that, in terms of the causal relationships between and amongst all the horrific events that occur within the hotel, he is, with the possible exception of Hecate, the most important character in the show. In every respect that counts, not only is he our eyes and ears into the goings-on of the McKittrick, but he is also, in some sense, responsible for those goings-on.

What’s more: Hecate’s story is about him.

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Anonymous asked: What have y'all been up to?

In a word, this:

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Rebecca and I have produced a complete, hand-bound edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, annotated with detailed notes about Sleep No More. We have painstakingly cataloged all the show’s references to the play and explained them in some detail using footnotes and cross-references.

We have already given away our first copy to the graceful, slender and painfully beautiful Thane of Glamis, and we will give more away as we produce more copies. 

We intended to follow the example and largesse of my man Friday, BloodWillHaveBloodTheySay, whose talent and kindness has benefitted us (as well as countless others on this tag) some lovely, hand-made studded masks.

Therefore, in that spirit, we intend to bind as many as we can (time- and money-permitting) and give them away to you fine folks.  So, if you have a hankering to see what’s inside, find us in the Manderley, get us drunk enough to flirt up a storm, and be bold enough to ask. Though, be advised, you may receive more than you bargained for.

In other news, we have a few more essays nearly ready for publication. Rebecca is finishing a real doozy right now that will knock your socks (and trousers) off. Meanwhile, I have been taking a page out of dismantlethepsolc’s book and have worked out the perfect recipe for a martini. You just pour out five measures of gin, then you drink it whilst staring at a bottle of dry vermouth from across the room.

Be well, my fiery scoundrels and libertines of the internet.

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Anonymous asked: I was wondering if you knew what music is playing during both the Sexy Witch/Boy Witch dance in the Telephone booths and the Boy Witch/Porter dance in the booths? They've been stuck in my head, but I can't figure it out!

This is a bit difficult to answer, as the music that plays during the phone booth dance is original to the show and is, as far as we can tell, unidentifiable as such.

We do know that, immediately before Sexy Witch joins Boy Witch at the phone booths, “The Window” and “The Porch” from Bernard Herrmann’s score to Psycho play in succession. This is during Sexy Witch’s delivery of the prophesy to Banquo in the sitting room of the lobby, during which she seduces him to sleep and sprinkles some fairy dust on him. Immediately afterward, however, the music shifts to a very low, humming, ambient piece that seems to consist of an endlessly repeated two-note figure. This ambient music is what accompanies the Sexy Witch/Boy Witch phone booth dance, as well as Boy Witch assault on the poor Porter. Interestingly enough, this same piece also accompanies the first confrontation between the Porter and Agnes Naismith (with the tea tray and the wad of cash).

All told, our final answer is simply “We don’t know.” However, seeing as all the other ambient music in the hotel seems to be heavily-altered, pieced-together sections of the songs and scores you hear elsewhere within the hotel, we’d lay money down that the piece of music you’re referring to is a very fuzzy, very slowed-down version of either the score to Psycho or Brian Tyler & Klaus Badelt’s score to the film Constantine

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Two Birds with One Bone

Good evening, my dears. My, it has been a while, hasn’t it? What with an overwhelming multitude of arrangements to be made, social engagements to keep, and hangovers to be had, I simply haven’t had a moment to spare.

As you can imagine, getting sufficient beauty sleep has been of prime importance this last month or so, and I am delighted to report that my favorite hotel has been haunting my dreams during the month I spent away. During my most recent visit, I was struck by a vague feeling of déjà-vu as I watched the faces of its regulars, sometimes gay and laughing, but more often either distressed or painfully vacant, as they moved among the rooms, reenacting the stories I have witness so many times now.

I was especially drawn, and not for the first time, to a few of those eerie and coveted objects that move about the hotel with ease—those that floated across my darkest dreams during the last haunted month. I will refrain from repeating myself in my musings, as my husband and I have already recorded the cyclical journey that the blackbird’s corpse takes each night, but that little birdie isn’t the only morbid charm to be found making its way through the McKittrick. We have also spent some time with a little bird skull—complete with its spine intact and attached at the base of the skull—that is also traded between characters around the hotel.

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What follows is our observation and analysis of the bird skull’s course through the hotel.

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To the Crack of Doom: Mirrors in the McKittrick Hotel

Apologies all around for the general radio silence from our front lately. I’ve been absolutely swamped managing the estate, and Rebecca, in usual fashion, has been on a mid-Atlantic cruise for the past month (where she was no doubt quartered on the “port” side).

Having been married to Rebecca for what seems like many agonizingly long centuries, and furthermore having allowed her to festoon our precious Manderley with innumerable self-portraits and looking-glasses, I have come to understand some very fundamental truths about vanity. I have also gotten very used to never showing up anywhere on time, as Rebecca has made an obsessive avocation of primping and preening in front of the mirror.

Then the thought hit me—about how important mirrors are to the décor, ambiance, and the stories within that home away from home of ours, the McKittrick Hotel. Please bear with us as we get back into the swing of things with this minor discussion on the significance of mirrors within the world of Sleep No More.

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Anonymous asked: I feel as if I've heard the song Moonlight and Shadows by Artie Shaw somewhere in the hotel but didn't see it in your most recent (and wonderful I might add) piece on the music of Sleep No More. Could I have heard it in the Manderley?

First of all, darling, I must say that a girl could get used to being interrogated anonymously. It’s so much more exciting when it could be just anyone doing the grilling.

Anyway, I have to say, my love, that the song is unfamiliar to me. And my pretentious husband doesn’t seem to have heard it, either, despite acting as though he’s got it all figured out. While we can say with confidence that it does not play on the first, second or fourth floors of the McKittrick, it is entirely possible that the song plays in Nurse Shaw’s office (whose soundtrack we do not doubt is incomplete) or the Macduffs’ Apartment (which has a small unaccounted-for gap that neither of us has investigated yet).

As you suggest, you very well might have heard it in the Manderley. There are a slew of great songs on loop in there (such as Marlene Dietrich’s “Falling in Love Again” and "Blue River" by Jack Teagardenthat mesh so well with those heard in the show proper that it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish where exactly one heard them. 

All this notwithstanding, do we have anyone out there reading these notes and queries who has a better answer for our delicious guest?

The first who manages to come up with a correct answer gets a big kiss from me.

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All There Is: The Music of the McKittrick Hotel

Whenever she’s had a few too many, Rebecca is quick to remind me “Al Jolson is greater than Jesus,” and I don’t disagree. She knows I have an acute sensitivity to music and, between the two of us, we have a formidable collection of records in our library.  

And because we are slaves, body and soul, to our hunger for all things McKittrick, our collection has come to include every piece of music played inside the hotel that we have been able to identify. We’d thought we’d take this opportunity to share this part of our collection with you.

What follows is an exhaustive list of all the incidental music that appears in Sleep No More, including notes as to the major action that accompanies each piece of music and, where applicable, very cursory analysis.

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Before we go on, I would like you to please note a few things:

  1. While we are confident that we have been able to accurately identify the pieces mentioned herein (as well as accurately noted their accompanying events), we cannot be absolutely sure that this list is exhaustive. So, if you feel as though we’ve missed one, please let us know!
  2. I have neglected to include the few ambient pieces featured on the show (e.g. the low hum that rumbles through the labyrinth on the fifth floor; the low, two-note figure, that scores the first confrontation between Agnes and the Porter, itself most likely derived from a figure in the score to Vertigo; the twinkly, record-scratched music box piece that plays in the Macduffs’ apartment on a loop during quiet moments; etc.). This is for two reasons. Firstly, whereas I have identified with confidence the pieces listed herein, I cannot say the same for the ambient works, which are all but unrecognizable as heard in the show. Secondly, despite the fact that all the ambient pieces can be safely said to be original compositions arranged by the sound designers themselves, they are most likely derivative works (i.e. heavy distortions of brief samples of the music cited below—particularly the Bernard Herrmann scores), and therefore already are covered in some form herein.

With that in mind, let’s get on with it.

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Bird-Watching at the McKittrick, Part Two: Sleep No More

Hello, again, my lovelies. Whilst Rebecca has been off for two days now mucking about at God-knows-where (and with God-knows-whom), I’ve taken a sort of stay-at-home holiday. I’ve been taking my tea in the library, playing patience by the fireside, and riding through the estate with the vigor of a much younger man.  I’ve even managed to get though a sizeable chunk of Samuel Pepys’ Diaries—I’m particularly partial to the scene in which Mrs. Pepys catches her husband “embracing” a scrumptiously young Deb Willet beneath her petticoat.

In any case, this essay is long overdue. I had begun many months ago to write on the bird motif as it appears in Sleep No More, only to stop short of actually mentioning the show at all. In the time since, my beautiful, impetuous hellion of a wife took it upon herself to help me with a bit of the legwork, but here I shall at last round out my discussion of birds.

Let’s get to it.

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