Three white sea-containers loom in the dusk of a cool summer evening. Bold, black lettering along the sides of the containers label each – COMA, FLIGHT, SÉANCE. I’ll admit to being trepidatious. I have no idea what I’m about to experience, unsure what to expect, and uncertain how to prepare myself for whatever it is.
Producer Nathan Alexander says audiences can expect the unexpected.
We use complete darkness, so that sensory deprivation along with 360 degree binaural sounds creates a totally unique experience.
COMA is the third installation of the highly acclaimed multi-sensory series, Darkfield, presented by Realscape Productions (AU) in association with Darkfield (UK).
Patrons (or, rather, patients?) emerge from the container labeled COMA. Some look a little dazed, disoriented, discombobulated. A few minutes later, the next group of ticket-holders is called forward. We’re given a briefing that also serves as a somewhat ominous warning – if you are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark, this is your last chance to opt-out.
We enter the container and discover that triple bunk beds line each cream coloured wall, and make our way down the narrow path between them. The solid door of the container closes behind us. As we each climb into a bed, we are instructed to lie down and place our headphones on. It’s not long before we are engulfed in complete darkness. I’m no longer certain if my eyes are open or closed, and I realise that it doesn’t matter either way…
SÉANCE tests the audiences’ susceptibility to suggestible material, using binaural sound to immerse us in the centre of a supernatural experience. We each take a seat in a red velvet theatre chair along the sides of the container. We face those opposite us across a long table that runs the length of the container, like guests at a doomed dinner party. Participants are instructed to put their hands on the table and their trust in the hands of the medium. Together, we work to try and contact the spirit world. Do you believe?
For my final adventure of the night, I board a FLIGHT. Despite not having flown for a year due to covid19, the setting is familiar – the cushioned seats with comfortable headrests and uncomfortable armrests, the netting on the back of the seat in front forming a pocket for the in-flight magazine, menu and safety card… I fasten my seatbelt as instructed, the safety demonstration video glitches, then darkness. Loss of vision heightens the remaining senses, making them vulnerable to the manipulation that ensues.
Darkfield dares you to slip into a COMA, participate in a SÉANCE and board a FLIGHT like no other in the Woodside Pleasure Garden until 14 February 2021.
Tickets are available at www.fringeworld.com.au