What: DARKFIELD – FLIGHT
Where: Garden of Unearthly Delights
Duration: 27 minutes
(Reviewed by Stephanie Rillo)
There are many worlds in which this plane lands safely…
This is the one-liner presented on the Adelaide Fringe promo page for Darkfield’s FLIGHT, and a solemn remark that the captain whispers deep into your ears onboard. This year, The Garden of Unearthly Delights welcomes three Darkfield experiences, and FLIGHT offers audiences the chance to experience something many of us have missed since the pandemic: air travel. With COVID-19 dashing the hopes of would-be travellers however, FLIGHT takes that despair and turns it into relief – thank goodness you don’t have to catch a real plane anytime soon.
FLIGHT operates entirely in the confines of a shipping container, but don’t let its industrial façade food you. The moment you step inside, the line between what’s real and what’s isn’t begins to blur, and you’re transported to the economy cabin of an aircraft. Soon after sitting and strapping on your seatbelt, the safety demonstration begins to play, and the lights fade to pitch black. From there, your on-ear headphones will guide you on a turbulent journey (literally) of alternate realities and existential crises.
This is not my first experience with a Darkfield production. Last year, I attended COMA in the hopes that it would be immersive and engaging, and maybe even a little bit creepy. I was left very underwhelmed however, and so I almost didn’t want to go to FLIGHT this year. After having attended, I can say with certainty that I definitely didn’t want to go to FLIGHT this year – but for all the right reasons. FLIGHT excels at what it aims to accomplish, and that’s an immersive, realistic, borderline traumatic simulation. By depriving your sense of sight, your other senses are simultaneously heightened, and there’s nowhere to look to distract you from the horrors that unfold. Despite the darkness, I often found myself clenching my eyes shut, but from what? The 3D binaural sound and movements do such a great job at creating the illusion that you are on an airplane, and so it feels all the more realistic when things go awry.
Personally, I cannot comprehend how anybody without masochistic tendencies would pay to experience a plane crash simulation. If, however, you’re the type of person who enjoys intense sensory deprivation and horror, then I cannot recommend FLIGHT enough. It’s beyond impressive how much Darkfield has managed to accomplish with so much as a shipping container and a pair of headphones, and for those who looking for an adrenaline rush with the comfort of being on solid ground, FLIGHT will undoubtedly impress. The scariest part of FLIGHT in my opinion is how realistic it is. You’re not dealing with supernatural, or fantasy, or other-worldly concepts. Because of this, I can’t guarantee that the trauma stops when you leave the container. I have a trip to Sydney planned in two weeks’ time and unless I plan on hitchhiking, it looks like my holiday will just have to wait.
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