Edinburgh Fringe 2019
You enter a container and are instructed to lie down on one of the metal bunks. By your head there is a tablet; below you a sterile mattress. For the next 20/25 minutes or so, you are in darkness, with headphones on. Through those headphones a comforting voice begins talking to us, we then get the discordant feeling of people being in the room. We get smells that go along with the narrative before we end with things buzzing in our headphones and buzzing in our head.
This is something that Darkfield have developed over time; the immersive experience. Before entering the trepidation felt by many of my fellow audience members was clear. No matter how you dress it up, a coma does not sound like a good idea. Going inside and being instructed to just find a bunk in which to lie down was the beginning of feeling out of sorts. The voice that began our journey was a comfort. Repetitive and I am sure it must be psychologically bringing us to a point where we can have things introduced with some form of effect desired; I relaxed and felt at something close to ease.
The smells of the coffee and the aftershave were superb. Highly evocative it did lull you further. I liked both, your guard went down further.
When the sounds were of people moving around and they were in your ears it made things seem so much more real. As with Flight, the problems for me began with the breakdown of the narrative. Unlike Flight, I found this much more effective.
As people were asked to confirm if they were still there in your headphones you felt it was everyone answering. When people were being asked individually, there become two moments of real fear or disturbance. It was as if you and only you were being talked about as the voice was right beside you. That sudden change in volume was highly effective; I jumped.
Then the buzzing. Buzzing is a noise that does not bring any level of joy to anyone at any time. The idea that something had got in and was making its way around our enclosed space or that it was joined by quite a few of its pals was, well, not nice.
By the end I was glad to get out but also very glad to have had the experience. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant it sits just the right side of creative to make you feel that things are not good until you leave – then they improve but your experience here might inform why that is.