‘Double’ // Realscape Productions and Darkfield Australia

‘Double’ was metaphysical.

Sending paranoia through any willing participant, ‘Double’ is the at-home thriller that invites you into the story and sets your heart racing. An illusory transmission presented by new project, Darkfield Radio, this audio experience has much promise in an isolated world.

With the coronavirus running riot on the arts industry and causing months of shutdowns and show cancellations, creative innovations like ‘Double’ have emerged, bringing theatre home and catapulting the industry into a new style of entertainment. Unlike Realscape Productions and Darkfield Australia’s traditional shows ‘Seance’, ‘Flight’ and ‘Coma’, which are usually performed in a darkened shipping container, ‘Double’ bursts through any restrictions, infiltrating audiences directly in their comfort zones.

Set in the confines of one’s kitchen, the binaural experience uses an intelligent audio soundscape to alter perception and misconstrue reality. It’s easy enough for participants to play along. All they really need is a mobile device, headphones, a willing buddy and a sturdy internet connection. From there, they download an app and wait until their allocated showtime. For the next 20 minutes, and through their own perceived reality, an intruder rummages through the kitchen, smashes glasses and whispers right to them. It’s a series of startles that has them questioning reality and replacing it with a stirring consciousness instead.

Without spoiling too much of the storyline, ‘Double’ explores the Capgras delusion; where the participant believes their friend has been replaced by an imposter. Whether this intention is interpreted clearly by the recipient or not is up to their own imagination. They may think it’s their friend, or they may think it’s an intruder, regardless the noise of someone stomping and banging around the room is extremely believable. Through the layered and crisp audio track, ‘Double’ introduces a new paranormal presence into the participants psyche.

While Darkfield has imagined some killer and experimental projects, Darkfield Radio feels like we’ve entered into an alternate universe. The overall presentation of the digital event, especially with its technological components and nerve-wracking countdown, makes it feel as though we’ve advanced years into the future of how audiences will one day access their entertainment. It’s cutting-edge, innovative and downright spooky. Looking down on the event, and from another perspective, participants sit in darkness channelling this dystopian world. As such, it’s hard not to recognise how easy these creative experiences can be delivered right to your door.

In saying that, ‘Double’ manages to clasp an audience’s engagement, although there could be more investigation into holding tension longer with the participant. When compared to their previous shows, ‘Double’ doesn’t reach its full potential. The audience is left wanting a bang or some kind of amplification to the overall storyline. Instead, it ends somewhat absurdly. That’s not to say the whole experience doesn’t deliver, as it does in spades, it just leaves the audience wanting more.

Despite this, the series has an overwhelming amount of potential and is a unique experience for those encountering Darkfield’s work for the first time. While the pre-play instructions call for a glass of water, it doesn’t play much into the storyline and instead works as a centring exercise to ensure the participant is in tune to their surroundings. For a fully immersive experience, definitely invest in noise-cancelling headphones to avoid any unwanted distractions.

‘Double’ is the at-home show that kicks it to COVID-19 and delivers in entertainment value. This experience is hair-raising and a must-do; especially during isolation.

‘Double’ is streamed until Saturday, 1 August 2020. Tickets can be purchased from Darkfield Radio’s Website

Warning: This event contains violence and is not suitable for those under the age of 15.

Darkfield Radio - Double - Audio Experience
‘Double’ is Darkfield Radio’s first immersive presentation.
Credit: Alex Purcell

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