Thrilling sound performance in the dark
There’s not much to see in David Rosenberg’s performance The Ring, in fact there’s nothing at all: almost the whole show takes place in complete darkness. Entering a dimly lit room, each audience member is given a set of headphones through which plays a binaural recording, giving the sensation of 3D sound (essentially tonight’s performance).
As the lights dim we’re told that the group will be moving the chairs into a circle for this evening’s meeting – the scraping of metal and the murmur of voices can be heard in the exact places you’d expect to. The sense of space that’s created is remarkable. Later a person whispers into your ear, and in another instance a small group gathers around creating an unexpected moment of intimacy. What’s really powerful though is the simple fact of being in the pitch black. There is not one crack of light; no sheath of yellow seeping in from under a closed door, no neon exit signs. After a while you wonder if that was a shadow you saw, before realising that that would be impossible – this performance encourages the imagination to run away with itself.
The story we’re immersed in doesn’t quite live up to the novelty of this innovative format. Ideas of complicity run strongly through it but much goes unsaid – namely, what exactly is this group we’re part of? While the mystery adds to the atmosphere, overall the narrative is too vague to have any significant emotional punch. But for the initial, undoubtedly thrilling, set up alone, it’s a piece worth experiencing.
The Ring was part of Fuel Fest at Tramway, Nov 2012.