Darkfield’s Coma is the immersive company’s best yet – with off-the-chart production values that make this weird journey of pills, dreams and unconsciousness incredible.
The shipping container outside Summerhall is back and so is Darkfield, with their new immersive show Coma. After summoning spirits and crashing planes, they’re now ready to take us into a weird journey of pills, dreams and unconsciousness.
As we enter the cramped temporary venue, we’re asked to choose one of the aseptic white bunk beds, put noise cancelling headphones on and just lie there – waiting for the nurse to distribute medications. A red light above our heads is dimmed slowly while the doctor’s voice counts down from ten, until we’re engulfed in complete, pitch-black darkness.
“Breathe in, breathe out. Have you taken your medication? Good. Let’s recreate a copy of the room in our head, shall we?”. The doctor’s voice moves around the room, as other “patients” talk, speak, refuse to take the pill. He needs a coffee. He wonders if he’s real. He asks if we can smell his perfume. The doctor guides us through the whole journey and is extremely ‘real’; sometimes he seems so close that you can almost feel his breath on your face.
If you are claustrophobic, afraid of the dark or paranoid about being in a coma, this show is probably not for you. But oh, boy, you would miss out. As far as immersive theatre goes, Darkfield is probably as good as it gets. The production values are off-the-charts: the precision of the soundscape, the smells, the setting – no, I’m still not over those bunk beds – made the experience of Coma incredible.
I did get lost at times, with the narrating voice melting in my ears and going down rhetorical rabbit holes. I personally think that there is a limit to what you can demand the human brain to do, especially in those circumstances. But then again, maybe that was the effect they were trying to achieve? Other than that, I couldn’t recommend Coma enough. Having experienced Flight last year, I can honestly say that they outdid themselves and you should not miss Darkfield’s latest piece.