2019 Fringe Festival Review: SÉANCE

What: SÉANCE

Who: Realscape Productions in association with DARKFIELD

Where: The Garden of Unearthly Delights 

When: See website for all dates

Cost: $20.00

This show is not for the claustrophobic or the faint at heart. We each file in to a dark and narrow shipping container and place earphones over our heads for the SÉANCE experience. Not knowing what to expect next, the lights are out, you are sitting in complete darkness and sensory deprivation. Feeling only the seat you sit in, and hearing the ominous humming from the headphones.

We slowly adjust to our new environment, and everything we hear through the headphones becomes our new reality. The headphones are incredibly effective at conjuring our new space by utilising the effects of surround sound. In the complete darkness, the unknown, the surround sound mimics movement all around us, we are made to believe the space around us is limitless. Despite knowing we are in a confined shipping container I frequently found myself twisting my head around to try and look at my surroundings.

Our experience is guided by a host, who requests us to place our hands on the table in front of us. In the darkness we can feel him walking amongst us, his movements agitating the table under our hands. His continued guidance and commentary is excruciatingly intimate. His voice pierces through the headphones in to our inner ears, and permeates down my spine (similar to watching ASMR videos, if you are in to that).

The actual storyline and content of the show did not have great substance. However, the main take away I had was being able to encounter something new, seeing technology used in a way that questioned my sense of reality. Such an immersive 4D performance was captivating, a creative way to distort our environment, and raise questions about whether ‘seeing is believing’.

This show is innovative, conceptually clever, and an exciting way to be entertained. It is a gimmick-like experience for festival goers that you would not normally experience. This kind of entertainment is the epitome of the culture of the Fringe, it expands your perspective and adds to creating a well-rounded Fringe season. It is a bit steep at $1 per minute, but a fun and worthwhile experience. 

3.5/5 stars 

– by Rachel Wong 

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