It is thought that as well as being the one sense that stays active during a state of coma, hearing is also the last to go when one dies. Aiming to investigate that concept, and the fine line beyond which our mind stops controlling our body, the audience is induced into a pretend state of coma with the help of multisensorial three-dimensional stimulation.
A now famous shipping container and binaural headsets are the essential tools in Darkfield’s signature multisensorial experiences. Brainchild of pioneering theatre-makers David Rosenberg and Glen Neath, the company specialises in immersive short formats and is now at its third show, after successful runs around the world with Flight and Séance.
Entering the shipping container, the walls lined with small bunk beds on which lay the headsets, we’re invited to lay down by a deep, reassuring yet impersonal voice. When this confined space is plunged into darkness, the voice continues to speak into our ears, guiding us towards a state of numbness. Background noises, smells and sudden changes in temperature all tingle the senses, conditioning our perception. Laying in the dark for fifteen minutes, we almost feel separated from our body. We can no longer tell the difference between what’s happening for real and what’s being generated through deception. It’s a fascinating sensation.
The spoken elements, however, need to be more solid if the aim is to make a stronger impact. The plot is weak, whilst the script does little to help stimulating our imagination. A more evocative language could have influenced us at a subconscious level at a time when, deprived from light, other neural functions are enhanced and we are easily impressionable.
Coma is a hair-raising experience, comparable to nothing else. It’s eerie without being scary, although it certainly won’t suit those who suffer from claustrophobia or have a fear of the dark.
Written and Produced by: DARKFIELD
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/coma
Booking Until: 25 August 2019