Flight: A Journey in Complete Darkness
Amid the carnivalesque atmosphere of this year’s Garden of Unearthly Delights at the Adelaide Fringe Festival sat a white shipping container. Inside, it was decked out to replicate a commercial passenger plane. Passengers were handed boarding passes as they shuffled into the cramped cabin. Once they’d taken their seats and adjusted their headsets, a flight attendant welcomed everyone aboard via the overhead speaker.
It’s a familiar scene. But as the muffled inflight announcements became increasingly more disturbing, it became apparent the plane might not land safely. The grumbling sound of turbulence reverberated through the cabin. And then the lights went out.
This is Flight, the newest unsettling performance from UK immersive-theatre company Darkfield, the team behind Séance. After its debut season at Edinburgh Fringe last year, creator David Rosenberg, in collaboration with Australia’s Realscape Productions, took the experience to the Garden of Unearthly Delights for the entirety of the Fringe and then Brisbane and Melbourne. Now it's coming to Perth.
Like Séance before it, Flight takes place in complete darkness and inside a shipping container. But this time the creators tap into a universal fear: being 30,000 feet above ground and powerless.
For the audience, that fear is amplified by sensory deprivation (the cabin is plunged into total darkness) and binaural sound recordings (3D audio transmitted directly to each audience member). Throughout the flight unnerving creaks, whispers, sounds of children crying and phones ringing play out on the periphery. With the absence of visuals these sounds take on lives of their own, and audience members are never sure of what they’re experiencing for real.