Time to cozy up to the radio kids, Darkfield Radio that is, as they invite themselves into your home with their latest immersive theatre with a focus on binaural sound and sensory effects. Just in time for Halloween, Darkfield has created two new intense shows, Double and Visitors, set in your own home.
Darkfield are no strangers to immersive, audio-focused shows, having recently put on the three-show “multi-sensory sonic theme park” earlier this year which successfully toured the UK and Australia.
Theatres around London are forced to adapt under the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, and Darkfield does not disappoint. During a time when we are forced to stay inside, Darkfield has brought us a reason to with their two new shows that only require a phone, a pair of headphones, and a second person.
Double is an exploration of familiarity and trust. How well do you know your partner or friend? Could you accurately describe them from memory? What about every nook and cranny in your house? Are there unexplored hiding places where strangers could be lurking in the dark?
Sitting across from my partner in our kitchen, I am confident that I know him and our kitchen, and what he and it looks like – but as I’m asked to picture every wrinkle, blemish and colour gradient on his face, the tiniest details become blurred. Doubt has been planted in my mind, and how certain am I that he hasn’t been replaced by an identical imposter? This is called the Capgras Delusion, and is explored throughout the show with the help of Chris Brett Bailey who voices this eerie narrative experience that takes place in your kitchen; a room otherwise so familiar to you, which in the dark has now been transformed into an unfamiliar, unnerving room.
Double was selected as part of the Best of XR at the Venice International Film Festival 2020.
Visitors explores what lies beyond the veil and blurs the lines between the living and the dead. You’ve just invited someone into your home – but are they good-natured? A dead couple are looking for a fleeting fix to their irreparable state, and you might be their solution.
Sitting in your living room, three meters away from your partner or friend, the space is taken over by your new guests. They seem nice, moving with ease in the dark, and wanting to get closer. And closer. And closer… Their yearning to reach out and touch you is palpable, and their visit sends shivers down my spine as they move closer; their whispering in my ears grows louder and more intimate.
Their desire to be close, to reach inside you, and the knowledge that my partner is so close yet so far away at the same time, is an apt commentary on our desire and need as human beings to touch each other, especially during a time when we can’t.
Visitors has been nominated for two awards at the Raindance Film Festival 2020, for an Outstanding Achievement in Audio and for Best Narrative Experience.
Co-creator David Rosenberg, who specialises in binaural audio, wanted to bring something positive out of the wretchedness we are all faced with from Covid-19 and transport his audience to new rooms. Using audio and by having the theatre, in this case, the listeners home, shrouded in darkness, and by creating this new world that was so closely linked with the present realism, the listener would be uncertain of what was real and what was imagined. Rosenberg wanted people to question what was real – not only in the shows but also in life. During a time when it’s hard to know what is real and what is doctored, Darkfield wanted to play with ideas that people think are real, and to create meaningful yet open work.
Using binaural sound and creating soundscapes, proved to lend itself to the themes explored in the two shows, as well as in their previous shows. Death, spirituality and the supernatural are common themes, but also a deeper exploration of the consciousness and the connection between human beings. It also doesn’t hurt that Rosenberg is a fan of the horror genre.
Rosenberg said that one of the biggest challenges with Darkfield Radio was how to control the space and the light. As an audience member, I can only recommend that you try to follow the instructions as best as possible, with lights off and eyes closed to enhance your experience.
During a time when productions are forced to adapt to the new normal, Darkfield created a semblance to the real thing, and it was a great feeling, knowing that we were part of a communal experience of the show. The two shows run on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings, and are £10 for two people per show. If you can only experience one, I would recommend Visitors, as I can still feel the shivers down my back.
Don’t let lockdown scare you from celebrating Halloween, have your own scary evening with Darkfield Radio. All you need is a phone, a pair of headphones and another person. But be wary of who you invite…
Review by Olivia Jannesson
VISITORS – the second presentation of DARKFIELD RADIO has been confirmed as joining the Official Selection for the Raindance Film Festival 2020, and is nominated for two awards – Outstanding Achievement in Audio and Best Narrative Experience. Prior to this, DOUBLE, which launched in July, was selected for the Venice International Film Festival (2 – 12 September 2020) as part of the ‘Best of XR’ (eXtended Reality a catch-all term for immersive productions including AR and VR) category; the first-ever audio-only experience in the programme. Previous DARKFIELD experiences SEANCE, FLIGHT and COMA, sited in shipping containers, originally premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and have since toured the UK and Australia.
DOUBLE is a troubling exercise in familiarity for two people sitting opposite each other on either side of their kitchen table. It asks ‘‘everyone to be who they say they are”. DOUBLE explores the Capgras delusion, a condition in which the sufferer is convinced that a loved one has been replaced by an exact replica with malign intentions. DOUBLE has been the most critically acclaimed and widely experienced show ever produced by Darkfield, with people in 35+ countries worldwide downloading it since the launch in July, including 500 participants of the Venice International Film Festival.
VISITORS, a strange and curious world built from 360 degree binaural sound – is the second presentation to be broadcast on DARKFIELD RADIO, also an experience for two people to experience in their home.
PLEASE BE AWARE SHOWS ARE 14+.
Experienced through the DARKFIELD RADIO app available for android and iPhone.