Creators: David Rosenberg, Glen Neath and Andrea Salazar
How does the proverb go again? As one door closes, the kitchen one swings wide open? For months now, the world’s theatrical industry has been faced with decisions surrounding its future, but in the here and now, creativity is blossoming in the shadows of adversity, neglect and strife. What better time to embrace a unique exercise from an innovative production that tests expectations, reality and truth.
Distilling their three container shows into a digital audio series, Darkfield Radio begins its hallucinatory transmissions with DOUBLE which requests listeners to surrender themselves for twenty minutes, as their imaginations envelop them as the 360° binaural experience preys on the immersive capabilities of their doubts, minds and imaginations.
All one needs to experience this digital exploration into the Capgras delusion is a phone app through Android or iOS and some quality headphones, oh and a glass of water. Double is designed for two people, sitting across from one another over the kitchen table, and for those unfamiliar with the delusion, it centres around a timeless and genuine fear one may have that their partner or a family member has been replaced by something with malicious intent. The language tying together the concept is poetic enough to seduce, accessible enough to invite. The Siri-Esque voice welcoming us into the programme and the slick design of the app itself all play a part in the world-building; think Black Mirror or theatrical toying with Augmented Perception.
Gradually, the kitchen table you sit at with your partner dissolves, as fiction overtakes the commonplace and Darkfield Radio’s manipulation of the aural elevates a short audio drama into a piece of well-adapted media. Everything so far indicates Darkfield Radio’s series has promise in deconstructing reality, seeding the events of this immersive audio drama throughout homes, with a well-crafted episode to spark off the series, hopefully with more established performances as the shows continue.
Unravelling, DOUBLE’S immersion shatters quite startlingly with the introduction of Christopher Brett Bailey, whose performance fails to strike the correct notes, with the artistry of voice-over coming across as a watered-down stage execution with little weight. Lacking visual connection with the audience to convey the required emotions, narratives and twists, Bailey’s performance requires tighter, adaptive tones and pace to correlate with the situations he is describing. Bailey’s tempo doesn’t balance with the underlying story, one where stretching the annunciation and delivery to heighten the atmosphere is paramount.
If possible, procure high-quality headphones, ideally, noise-cancelling. The tricks of the industry called upon to control the listener’s direction of focus are bewilderingly successful, from questioning if the kitchen doors are slamming in reality, or if you need to question your sanity. Toying with the audience, DOUBLE’s sadistic scheming masks an overall enjoyment from the audience.
Conceptually, this is sorcery, balancing the augmented dynamic with a digital audio experience with a well of creativity to plunge into. For a brief time, reality is false, and the person whom you have loved, known, and cared for has come into question. DOUBLE conjures a peculiar world, where the physical plane of consciousness is stripped away into an unrecognisable domain of intensity, where even the most stringent of truths will unravel. Dare you listen?
DOUBLE is available here to download/stream from tonight.