If you’re anything like me, then Not Near Enough’s 360º video turned you into a child. At any chance I got, I was spinning maniacally in the middle of the virtual room like a four-year-old after one too many artificial sweeteners. Once my inner child was suitably appeased, I began to admire that the 360º video wasn’t used as a gimmick. There were no attempts to use the technology as an excuse to get lazy with the narrative.
The team didn’t use their advanced tech to boast, but to enhance a performance that didn’t solely rely on that one stunt. It’s been a crazy year, and so to see a performance that so seamlessly incorporated new, futuristic technology into theatre was so exciting. It’s nice to be reminded that we’re still moving forward.
The set was really effective. A particular favourite was the section with the doors. This could’ve been done without the 360 video, onstage, but when the technology was integrated, it became hypnotic. Because I had to discern where the voices were coming from, I was paying complete attention, and was utterly in the moment. I was constantly waiting for something to jump out at me, as I caught sight of the distorted hands pressed against the door’s windows. The screens were used to their full potential; a priest shouting down at you that God’s always watching becomes much more sinister when disembodied eyes on the walls that surround you begin to blink.
The atmosphere created was this piece’s greatest asset, but its construction only began once the prologue ended. The exposition before the performance slightly dulled my enthusiasm. The explicit explanations of the different sections of the piece limited its subjectivity, and I felt I wasn’t free to interpret the piece however I wanted once I’d been told how best to approach it.
Being in the disarming environment of the body of the piece was a wonderfully disquieting experience, and this was when my opinion of it started to hit heights. I only wish this powerful environment had been established earlier on. Throughout the main piece, the fantastically crafted tension made me feel I was always being watched. I may have been spinning around like a Catherine wheel on speed, but I was always watching the edge of my screen for something creeping out of the shadows. I felt incredibly alone and vulnerable, whilst simultaneously feeling constantly watched by a million eyes. My paranoia throughout serves as testament to the fact that the students at Falmouth University can, and did, build one hell of an atmosphere.