The Upper East Side crew of Gossip Girl recently headed downtown to film an episode of the hit series at the fictional McKittrick Hotel, where Punchdrunk's interactive off-Broadway theater experience Sleep No More is currently in residence, according to EW.com. The masquerade-themed episode will air on November 14 on the CW network.
“It took months to get it together,” Gossip Girl executive producer Josh Safran told the site. “It was incredible to use their space, their actors… the whole thing. We like to do a masked ball every year, and this just dials it up so many notches. We were very much attuned to keep Sleep No More's secrets. At the same time, they were also really helpful in letting us utilize stuff that they maybe normally wouldn’t. We shot there for two days—several of the rooms, different floors.”
In Sleep No More, five floors have been converted into a giant performance space to re-imagine the story of Macbeth, set in a 1930s hotel. Audience members enter wearing Venetian masks (to keep their identities a mystery to performers) and are free to investigate dozens of rooms during the performance. The elaborately designed spaces include luxurious bedrooms, a fancy hotel bar, a psychiatric ward, a stable and a forest. The actors roam the floors (sometimes individually and sometimes in groups) to perform elaborately choreographed scenes. Audiences are encouraged to follow different actors and watch the scenes unfold in any order.
Safran notes the dark nature of Sleep No More will work well with the episode's tone. “Unlike our previous masquerade balls, there’s blood; it’s darker. There’s Lady Macbeth, there’s Macbeth. It’s a little more twisted than usual, and that episode also holds in it so many surprising, romantic twists … It’s sort of a big, sexy, blood, everything-comes-to-a-head kind of an episode. Even if you haven’t [seen Sleep No More], it’s fun if you’re just a fan of Gossip Girl because they really kind of all perfectly matched worlds.”