THE word “seance” conjures up images of candles, ouija boards and a group of people holding hands while sitting in a circle.

However, this could not be further from the truth at an installation which comes to town this weekend in a pitch black shipping container.

Under the guise of Darkfield, writer Glen Neath and director David Rosenberg make spatial audio so convincing its plays are watched in complete darkness.

Seance is the third collaboration between the pair, who previously curated successful installations Ring and Fiction. While Seance follows the trend of the previous two in its use of dark space, David says the 15-minute presentation means they can dial up the suspense.

“With Seance we really wanted to make a show that wasn’t reliant on the infrastructure of a theatre. Also, we wanted to create a more intense experience.

“It’s quite a commitment for most people to sit for an hour in the dark, but 15 to 20 minutes is just about manageable. It also meant we were able to increase the intensity of the performance, to a point we would not have been able to sustain over an hour.”

Instead of playing directly into its audience’s fears, Seance promises a far more immersive experience solely through audio, its guests’ imaginations and psychology playing an essential part in providing the visual element of the show.

Of course, getting the setting just right was a massive consideration in the making of Seance which relies so much on being able to manipulate the audience’s belief in what they can see or hear.

“This is the first time we’ve intended for a show to be frightening. We really wanted to explore fear and the ways in which people tap into their own fears.

“When people are greeted by total darkness – where they cannot even see their hand outstretched in front of them – their minds will after a short amount of time begin to play tricks with them.

“They may begin to see their hand, which is impossible, but the brain knows it should be there so it fills in the gaps.

“What’s important about the container is that it’s something that everyone is familiar with. Everyone knows the approximate dimensions of the space, but the darkness meant we were able to play with what the imagined dimensions of the space are.

“This ubiquitous block that everyone knows feels very different once you’re inside. Take away the light and it’s very easy to get the notion the space is being altered or transformed.”

Through the extreme darkness of the container, the audience’s basic sensibilities will be challenged, the audio exacerbating the effect.

Ultimately, David hopes Seance will provide people with an opportunity to surprise themselves by the power of their imagination.

“Progressively as technology improves, people are being asked to imagine things less and less. You can have anything in front of you instantaneously without having time to get lost in your own consciousness.

“This gap between what we’re being offered and ourselves is diminishing, and I think that one of the most interesting things about Seance is that it opens that gap up again.

“You have to then bridge it with images that you create.

“It makes it very personal and allows people to place themselves into the narrative, which is what makes it so effective.”

As the show isolates the members of the audience, each one will feel like the sole protagonist. And the result?

You may learn something about yourself you could never have thought possible.