Running Into The Fire

A few months ago, I saw Sleep No More- an extremely interactive and highly conceptual interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth- for the second time. It’s an incredibly unique show in which audience members are free to roam about an intricate, multi-level “abandoned hotel” as scenes from Macbeth are voicelessly played out around them. You can choose to follow the actors wherever they may go, and see as much or as little as you choose. Each audience member’s journey is different, and the production advertises that the “brave are rewarded.”

The first time I went to Sleep No More, I was petrified. I was jumpy and nervous and clutched my best friend’s arm with a Vulcan death grip the entire time. We saw the entire show together because I was too scared to go off on my own. I still managed to enjoy the production and marvel at it’s detailed set and incredibly talented performers, but nothing extraordinary happened to me.

This time though, I refused to just passively make my way through the production. Don’t get me wrong, I was still terrified and shaky and extremely on edge. But I was determined to take action.

And I did.

If a dark, lonely hallway intimidated me, I dove straight into it.

If a character intrigued me, I ran after them. I ran and ran and ran and ran.

I chased one character who turned out to be Banquo for 10 straight minutes. I chased him through a giant ballroom filled with fake trees, swatting them out of my line of sight so I wouldn’t lose him. I chased him until the few audience members who were tagging along had fallen away. I chased him down stairs, through long hallways, and around corners. I was panting and shaking and sweating but goddamit I was going to interact with this guy. And lo and behold, when he suddenly came to a locked door and pulled out a key to unlock it, he turned around to face me, took my hand, and let me inside. He then proceeded to deliver the most beautiful and earnest monologue as if I were his son, anointed me with oil, embraced me more intensely than any human ever has, and as he opened the door for me to leave told me that I “must hide among them.”

It was the coolest fucking thing that has ever happened.

It may sound silly, but the whole experience was honestly the most alive I’ve ever felt. Every single nerve in my body was buzzing and every turn felt like a new opportunity for something incredible to happen.

And that’s how life should be, you know?

It’s not enough to want things, you have to chase them wildly.

It’s not enough to make choices, you have to run into the fire. Because that’s just when the coolest shit happens. It’s when you surprise yourself in the best possible way.

And that’s all I really want in the New Year. Resolutions are so boring and empty and stupid and make me want to bang my head against the wall.

Let’s just promise to keep finding those fires that terrify and intrigue us, and run right into them. 

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