Darkfield: Séance – Flight – Coma | Auditory illusions & short-form experimental theatre
Head into the Lewis Cubitt Square in King’s Cross over the start of March, and you’ll see three shipping containers neatly lined up. Inside each of them, there’s a short, punchy, and reasonably priced experimental piece of theatre from a collective called Darkfield.
And trust us, they’re thinking very much outside the box.
They’ve already toured the shows across Edinburgh, Australia, and Mexico collecting 120,000 audience members along the way. The idea is to make the experiences quick (20-30mins), intense, and deeply immersive – in fact, they almost all take place in the pitch black, with headphones piping binaural sounds into your ear canals so as to create an uncanny sense of three dimensional space.
The three shows they’re putting on have all been generally quite well received, but by far the best reviews have gone to their first:
Described by one reviewer as being “like a ghost train that takes place inside your own brain”, this Victorian-style séance explores the psychology of a group of people who have been bombarded with suggestible material.
You’ll enter the space – 20 people at a time – and sit on velvet chairs around a long, narrow table with bells suspended above it. Headphones are put on. Your hands are placed palm-down on the tabletop. The lights are turned off, and you’re plunged into total darkness. And you won’t be alone in there. According to the Guardian, it’ll make you question “not just your senses but what you actually believe”. Next to that is-
A slightly more philosophical number, the interior of this container precisely resembles an Airbus 320 economy cabin. After taking your seat, you’ll have your attention directed to the onboard safety demonstration which will, ironically, make you feel considerably less safe.
A passenger – one Mr. Schrödinger – will go missing. Or not. Because reality will then split into two different timelines, and the existential questions will begin. And last but not least, there’s –
The space inside here is lined with roughly 30 individual medical-style bunk beds. Lying down, you and your fellow audience members will all put on your headphones, and hear a calm, authoritative voice command you to take the little white pill that has appeared by your bedside.
You do so without a moment’s hesitation.
And what follows is a waking coma complete with darkness, sounds, smells, and shared hallucination.
Like we said, it’s all quite leftfield. And according to the general feedback, while it’s all pretty good, some bits work better than others. But it’s all highly interesting, costs less than a tenner, and you won’t forget it in a hurry. Plus, it’s only in town for three weeks in March…
…before those containers are shipped off somewhere else.
NOTE: Darkfield’s shows are playing in the Lewis Cubitt Square at King’s Cross from 28th February – 22nd March. Tickets cost £8-£9, and are available right HERE.
Lewis Cubitt Square | 11 Stable St, Kings Cross, N1C 4BT
Fancy a bite nearby afterwards? Get thee to the Coal Office.