Coma Blog (Revised)

Dillon Stein

Coma was intense. I had a feeling this performance was going to be a unique experience due to the facial expressions of those who were leaving the play as I entered. I saw one of two looks, 1: a smile. 2: a look of confusion/fear. I even witnessed a woman seeking comfort from her significant other via hug. The second I walked in I knew I was in for an immersive experience. The performance took place in an empty shipping container, which created a completely isolated environment. To the right was an old-fashioned coffee machine. As I walked through the aisle, I saw beds stacked on the left and right three beds high. It made me think of the sleeping conditions a sailor on an old cramped boat might be familiar with. The bottom of the aisles was lit with a yellow light. The audience shuffled through and began to lie in a bed of their choice.

After everyone was situated the lights turned a dark red and the performance began. A male voice began speaking over the intercom. In a calm but rather unsettling manner. The bed was a white mattress and on the bed was a pair of black headphones and around 30 seconds after I got comfortable… the lights cut out. Immediate and complete blackness. Then the voice made its presence known again, imploring the audience to take the pill (there was pill that was offered, I missed it but was told that there was one and fellow audience members took it) the voice assured everyone that it would have no side effects and does absolutely nothing. Then the voice counted from ten, In the meantime background noise started to fill the headphones. A nurse started to call for a Jacob. The scent of coffee started to fill the room. This was really unique! It really set the stage and made me feel as if that room was alive and I was there smack in the middle of the performance. The darkness led to complete reliance on sound to convey the story to the audience. This was done damn effectively, so effectively, at a certain point I felt around just to make sure someone wasn’t actually there. Something was wrong and there was no going back. For maximum impact I will keep the rest of this thrilling experience shrouded in mystery in hopes you’ll go out and experience it firsthand.

Darkfield (performers of Flight) continue their tradition of using a shipping container as a stage. While also pushing boundaries and successfully created a collective sense of vulnerability. Stripping the sense, we arguably rely on most: sight. I have never experienced a performance where the audience was put on to an even playing field. If you’ve a fear of tight spaces or darkness this performance may prove too effective and I would not recommend this to you. Even I started to get antsy to escape back into an open space. The performance left me quiet for a while, pondering on the experience I just had.

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