Audio filmmakers turn out lights, invite theatergoes to mind the gap

Instead of in-your-face 3D, audiences at Brighton U. in England are opting to explore an inner-dimension: the mind.

Theatergoers are given blindfolds, and sit in an auditorium in total darkness. Then they’re ready to listen to “Return,” a 50-minute presentation in which stories are told in a “filmic” way to a live score and sound design. The project, part of the city’s White Night festival, comes from Earfilms, whose principals, Daniel Clark and Steve Camden, the latter known as “Polarbear,” have been developing the concept for the past two years. “Return” describes a prodigal son’s visit to his hometown in contempo England, where he finds that everyone’s moved on, but not in the way he’d have liked. Will Hood provides the live sound design and Yael Shavit directs.

“The intention is to liberate … people’s imaginations,” Clark says. “The problem with TV and film is that they are so definite and they make us lazy.” Adds Camden: “(Here), you are just listening rather than being slapped in the face with images every third of a second.”

“Return” has been drawing crowds, so for a concept conceived of darkness, it seems to be a bright idea.

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