Door into the Dark
For most of us, being lost is a discomfiting experience. May Abdalla and Amy Rose have managed to get people to line up for it. In April 2015, for its North American premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes competition, “Door into the Dark” induced festival-goers to take off their shoes, put darkened goggles over their eyes and headphones on their ears, and walk into the void alone with only a rope to guide them. As they felt their way through a labyrinth, iBeacons triggered the low, oddly soothing voices of individuals telling their own stories about what it means to be lost—a university lecturer who wrote a book about losing his sight, a mountain climber who nearly died, a man who ended up in psychiatric care after walking the streets at night in an attempt to lose himself.
Billed as “an immersive documentary experience about what it means to be lost in an age of infinite information,” “Door into the Dark” triggered a wide range of reactions—mild panic, disorientation, claustrophobia, compassion, wonder, euphoria, a sense of discovery and even liberation. “It offers a meticulously crafted storyworld that allows us to cerebrally, emotionally, and quite literally leave our baggage behind,” the Storyscapes jury said in awarding it the prize. “. . . Ambitious, simple, and profound, this work marks a fresh and promising direction for the field of immersive theater.”