A FRIGHTENING Fringe event is leaving audiences so terrified that some shows are being cancelled mid-performance.
Summerhall-based Séance is billed as enabling audience members to make contact with the spirit world – while trapped inside a pitch black shipping container.
But the show has proven so freakish that some have begged to leave the venue – meaning the show has to be stopped part of the way through.
“Someone climbed on the table and crawled out,” said co-creator Glen Neath, 51. “People have been frightened by it.”
Staff are now giving potential show goers a “debriefing” before each performance to ward off those scared of the dark, claustrophobic or easily offended.
One audience member said: “It’s a very clever show and very frightening so I can see how it would be too much for some people.
“You are left in complete darkness taking part in a séance, but some of the sounds seemed so real I had to take my headphones off to check. It was all very creepy.”
Glen has written novels, BBC Radio 4 plays as well as performances for stage. His debut novel, The Outgoing Man, launched Portobello Books in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. He teamed up with fellow writer David Rosenberg to create the Darkfield company and explore opportunities with binaural sound. The show is the first of three by Glen and David to manipulate the technique.
A recording method that uses two microphones, binaural creates a stereo sensation for the listener of being in the room with performers, instruments or other sources of sound.
“The show creates 3-D sound and messes with people’s perceptions – it suggests things are happening,” said Glen.
“We wanted to do something portable so we went for a shipping container and recorded the sounds in a similar sized space so the acoustics work,” said Glen.
He refused to give too much away for fear of spoiling the experience but said the show is based on the premise of someone being in the container with the audience.
“It’s not about the paranormal,” said Glen. “Most of our shows are an hour long but this is a 15-minute extreme experience.
“A séance creates a narrative that people bring with them because for 15 minutes, you can’t write a lot.”
The show has received “good reviews” said Glen, with 4,000 bookings in the first two weeks of the Fringe.
“We tell people before they go in that it’s like a fairground ride, once you’re on, you can’t get off,” he added.
“We do warn people in advance that once they’re in there, they’re pretty much in there but if it’s too much they can take their headphones off and it’ll be over quite soon.”