The cabin of a passenger jet with headphones at every seat, it is adequate if not luxurious, so sit back and enjoy the flight. It’s only a short hop over a long distance, although the preflight announcement makes it apparent that there is a clear divide which will only grow wider, the first class passengers enjoying a jacuzzi and the economy passengers warned that the toilet has been removed, and if he is aboard could Mister Schrödinger make himself known?
Billed as an immersive thriller devised by theatre company Darkfield and with numerous departures throughout the day, Flight is not for nervous travellers, the first hints of the duality about to unfold the video introduction running on the above-seat monitors, the uniform of the air hostess flickering between two states, a quantum superimposition occurring as the passengers are strapped in.
The lights going out, the darkness is total and consuming, the floor vibrating as the engines move from idling to the thrust of takeoff before settling in at 35,000 feet; trapped in a metal box unobserved by the outside world, the experience parallels the famous thought experiment of the cat in the box, but as death carries no memory into the future, if we know this is happening to us then surely we must be alive?
Shifting between the alternate possibilities, a safe landing at a distant destination or explosive decompression at altitude, the soundscape creates terror and reassurance, the sound of the refreshments trolley arriving, the pop of the tab and the fizz and the carbonated water pours, a whispered voice – you are in the safest seat – in the absence of visual information the mind is in freefall, holding onto what it can to survive.
Darkfield’s Flight runs at Pleasance Dome until Monday 29th August