Although cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field, its central questions are ‘what is humanity?’ and ‘what is emotion?’ Since the field of theatre and performing arts is deeply concerned with humans and emotions, we expect that it will contribute to the understanding of these concepts. Immersive theatre is an experimental performance form that emphasizes site, space and design while immersing spectators in a play. The number of immersive theatre companies or productions has been growing worldwide. This paper discusses Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, directed by Felix Barrett and performed in London (2003), New York (2011-) and Shanghai (2016-). While elucidating the cognitive impact of immersive Shakespeare performances on spectators, this paper aims to uncover new artistic and cultural value in Shakespeare plays performed in an experimental form in order to advance their contemporary relevance.
Cognitive science, 4E cognition, immersive theatre, „Sleep No More”
Alston, Adam. Beyond Immersive Theatre. Palgrave, 2016.
Barret, Felix, and Maxine Doyle. “An Interview with Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle.” Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More Program, pp. 20-29.
Biggin, Rose. Immersive Theatre and Audience Experience: Space, Game and Story in the Work of Punchdrunk. London, UK, Routledge, 2017.
Blair, Rhonda. “8. 4E Cognition for Directing: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Caryl Churchill’s Light Shining in Buchinghamshire.” The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science, edited by Rick Kemp and Bruce McConachie, London, UK, Routledge, 2019, pp.91-99.
Bloom, Gina. “Videogame Shakespeare: Enskilling Audiences through Theater-Making Games.” Shakespeare Studies, English Department, University of California Davis, vol. 43, 2015, pp. 114-127.
Bulman, James C., editor. The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Cook, Amy. “47. 4E Cognition and the Humanities.” The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition, edited by Albert Newman, Leon De Bruin, and Shaun Gallagher, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 875-90.
Drees, Danielle. “The Sleeping Spectator: A Sleep Cultures Critique of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More.” Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, vol. 21, no. 1, 2016, pp. 101-105.
Drinkthehalo. “sleep-no-more-shanghai-concluding-thoughts.” http://drinkthehalo.tumblr.com/post/155070437523/sleep-no-more-shanghai-concluding-thoughts/
Eckert, Stephen M. “What is Immersive Theater?” https://contemporaryperformance.com/2017/12/09/immersive-theater/
Gordon, Colette. “Pedestrian Shakespeare and Punchdrunk’s Immersive Theatre.” Cahiers Élisabéthains, vol. 82, 2012, pp. 43-50.
Hamana, Emi. “Translingual Performance of King Lear: Lear Dreaming as a Case Study.” Litteraria Pragensia: Studies in Literature and Culture, vol. 26, no. 52, 2016, pp. 90-105.
Hutto, Daniel D., and Erik Myin. “5. Going Radical.” The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition, edited by Albert Newman, Leon De Bruin, and Shaun Gallagher, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 95-115.
Judge, Alysia. “Interview: ‘Playable Shows Are the Future’: What Punchdrunk Theatre Learned from Games.” The Guardian. 8 Feb. 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/feb/08/playable-shows-are-the-future-what-punchdrunk-theatre-learned-from-video-games
Kemp, Rick, and Bruce McConachie. The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science. London, UK, Routledge, 2018.
Lack, Hannah. “How a British Theatre Company Found a Tribe of Superfans in China.” AnOther. https://www.anothermag.com/ Accessed 14 December 2018.
Machon, Josephine. Immersive Theatres: Intimacy and Immediacy in Contemporary Performance. London, UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Machon, Josephine, editor. The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia. London, UK, Routledge, 2018.
Markič, Olga. “Extended Cognition: Feedback Loops and Coupled Systems.” Inter-disciplinary Description of Complex Systems, vol. 15, no. 4, 2017, pp. 270-280.
Newman, Albert, Leon De Bruin, and Shaun Gallagher, editors. The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2018.
O’Hara, Meghan. “Experience Economics: Immersion, Disposability, and Punchdrunk Theatre.” Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 27, no. 4, 2017, pp. 481-96.
Papaioannou, Spyros. “Immersion, ‘Smooth’ Spaces and Critical Voyeurism in the Work of Punchdrunk.” Studies in Theatre and Performance, vol. 34, no. 2, 2014, pp. 160-74.
Prince, Kathryn. “15. Intimate Epic Macbeths in Contemporary Performance.” The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance, edited by James C. Bulman, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 250-63.
Punchdrunk. Sleep No More. New York production. Program.
Purcell, Stephen. “17. ‘It’s All a Bit of a Risk’: Reformulating ‘Liveness’ in Twenty-First-Century Performance of Shakespeare.” The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance, edited by James C. Bulman, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 284-301.
Qian, Jin. “The Sleep No More Superfan, Explained: As the Immersive Play Hits 500 Shows, We Talk to Its Most Loyal and Biggest Fanatics.” 20 Aug. 2018. https://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/arts/the-sleep-no-more-superfan-explained
Ritter, Julia M. “Fandom and Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More: Audience Ethnography of Immersive Dance.” TDR/The Drama Review, vol. 61, no. 4, 2017, pp. 59-77.
Torpey, Peter, Ben Bloomberg, Elena Jessop, and Akito van Troyer. “Remote Theatrical Immersion: Extending Sleep No More.” http://opera.media.mit.edu/projects/sleep_no_more/