Seance - DARKFIELD / Realscape Productions (Theatre in the Dark)

Are you afraid of the dark?

What’s your biggest fear?

Snakes? Spiders? Confined spaces? What about complete and total darkness? 

Maybe it’s a combination of these elements? It may sound anxiety-producing for some, but for UK-based company, DARKFIELD, testing someone’s fear threshold is just another day at the office. 

Presenting provocative and experiential art, the innovative group have introduced audiences to out-of-this-world theatrical experiences. In a collection of immersive scenarios, DARKFIELD’s productions explore the capabilities of one’s mind and imagination. Taking place in complete darkness and inside a 40-foot shipping container, audiences find a bespoke set, incredibly realistic and unique to each production, which creates a totally absorbing sensory experience. 

Using a signature combination of binaural sounds (a method that gives the sensation of a 3D stereo) audiences sport noise-cancelling headphones, which manipulates their sense of reality. Where someone’s vision is a leading perception, these immersive environments remove this sense, which ultimately heightens every other. As a result, audiences envision their own storylines in an incredibly powerful (and nerve-racking) way. 

Creative Director and DARKFIELD co-founder, Glen Neath, spoke of his inspiration behind ‘theatre in the dark’ and what led to him creating the concept with fellow creative and founder, David Rosenberg.

“David had been working with binaural sound and I had worked on a piece that situated audience members as performers with their lines fed to them through headphones,” he said. 

“Using binaural sound and darkness allowed us to make each audience member feel as if they are the protagonist in the piece – simply put, we can whisper in everyone’s ear at the same time.”

Sweeping Australia with a series of unique cerebral experiences, DARKFIELD’s latest expedition, ‘Flight’ is ready for take-off. Performing in Brisbane for a limited season, this new production jolts audiences into a parallel reality that is a multi-sensory and multi-universal one-way trip. When compared to their previous show ‘Séance’, which was a 2018 Brisbane Festival hit that explored paranormal activity, Neath indicated the two shows may utilise the same concept but are completely different.

“Flight is more technically ambitious and more abstract in its ideas,” he said. 

“It takes you on a more complex intellectual journey. Sėance is more visceral and plays more with the idea of who is in the container with you.”

While audiences’ reactions have been quite mixed to each show – with some finding the content unsettling, others finding it frightening, and most getting a kick out of the distinctive experience – Neath spoke of the extensive effort which goes into every show. 

“David and I create the content of the shows and obviously employ actors. Beyond that we have a whole bunch of people realising the container’s design,” he said.

“The process can be quick. We often begin with a design married to a conceptual idea, which we then populate with text and sounds that serve the experience we want to give to the audience. The recordings are short, the edit is longer, and we often assess what we have before doing a second round of the above.”

While all DARKFIELD’s productions have been made since 2016, the art has been realised in Australia by producers, Realscape Productions. Described as featuring an astounding audio design that takes audiences on a wealth of crusades, it’s no doubt that this isn’t the last of its kind. Neath revealed plans for their next instalment, which will head to Australia in 2020. Ready to debut on our shores, ‘Coma’ is a mass experiment that slips audiences into a collective dream.

“Our third show, Coma, has just premiered in Edinburgh and London and is coming to Australia next year,” Neath said. 

“In this one, we invite the audience to lie down and share in a collective dream.”

Whatever your personal nightmare, DARKFIELD is guaranteed to set pulses racing and hearts thumping. Their engrossing and haunting experiences utilise cutting-edge technology, taking theatre to the new innovative level that tests audiences like never before. Whether you’re a horror-fiend or someone ready to experience something new, ‘Flight’ and ‘Seance’ will transport you to worlds not often encountered. That’s if you dare to enter…

‘Flight’ and ‘Seance’ play until Saturday, 5 October 2019. To experience the power of binaural sound, visit DARKFIELD’s Website. Book quickly as tickets are bound to sell out fast.

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