Séance is an immersive theatre project conceived by Glen Neath and David Rosenberg. Housed in an intimate shipping container, attendees are seated around a table before being plunged into total darkness, beginning an experience that will make even die-hard sceptics squirm.
The drama is delivered by way of a pre-recorded script which guests listen to through a set of headphones. It’s an interesting method which effectively militates against the communal dynamics of theatre. Instead of being part of a collective, one has the impression of total isolation, unable to see or hear your neighbours. The experience is a bit like sitting through a viscerally unpleasant radio drama.
The actual plotting is a bit thin. Suffice to say, there is a séance, we are advised not to take our hands off the table, somebody does and so things go South. Though the story may not be wholly original, Séance still manages to make a powerful statement. Neath and Rosenberg carve a space where we are left to reflect on our own tendency towards superstition. By depriving us of our bearing and control, one’s ability to rationalise rapidly deteriorates; within minutes, you’re in an almost pagan state of anxiety. Séance demonstrates a virtuosic ability to disorientate and freak out. Even now, the actual mechanics of the play seem mysterious… It’s unclear who exactly is in the room, at what point or what the table is doing or how they manage to it. The sound design is exquisitely uncomfortable.
If you can steel your nerves, the show is worth seeing if only for a fresh take on an old and morbid pastime.
Review written by Sean Gilbert.
Séance is currently showing at Latitude 2016. Latitude takes place from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th July. For more information on this year’s theatre and music line up, visit here…