‘In The Dark’ was atmospheric.
In the eerie underground venue of Spring Hill Reservoir, the audience was plunged into total darkness, the performers took their seats, and the comedy began.
Big Fork Theatre’s ‘In the Dark’ was part of Anywhere Festival, a Brisbane-wide event which sees companies and artists performing in surprising locations all over the city.
In this event, audiences are led downstairs into the stone, former water storage reservoir and seated surrounding the room’s centre. After a welcome and introduction, the lights are cut, and the crowd is left to hear improvisers work their magic on an audience-chosen theme.
On the Saturday show, the group was given the prompt ‘haunted’, and built an array of characters and worlds in a series of short scenes. Sitting in complete darkness in a circle around the improvising voices gave the show a clandestine atmosphere, and aided in the camaraderie and audience connection so important in improv.
The total lack of lighting also allowed the mind to run wild and mentally create the images voiced by the improvisers, as well as focus on the efforts of the group rather than individuals. Group soundscapes and chants ended scenes and transitioned into new ones, helping to maintain momentum and creativity throughout the show.
Some of the digressive challenges faced by improvised characters included a coming of age ostrich fight, a carrot soup with a strange curse, and a crippling turtle obsession. Highlights like these were aided by the distinctness of the voices used for each character, and the novelty and energy of the show’s setting and form.
Some scenes weren’t as strong, and the group warmed into the night, but there was a clear overall quality of improvisation and group understanding occurring on the “stage”. Huddled around these voices in the dark, the audience laughed, clapped, and sometimes commented on the bizarre scenes unfolding.
The combination of confident and unhinged performances, as well as the special location and darkness made for an atmosphere of intimacy and wonder. Alongside some skilled improv, these elements make ‘In the Dark’ a unique treat by Big Fork Theatre.
‘In The Dark’ performed for one weekend only at Spring Hill Reservoir as part of Anywhere Festival. For more information and upcoming productions visit the Big Fork Theatre website.