entrance hidden at the back of an antique furniture
store. A staircase leads down into a space
with a dark, bending corridor, a deliberate act
of disorientation initiated by low-key lighting.
The functions are organised in a linear arrangement
of spaces, so the visitor has to move forward, as
if following a figure at night. The palette is simple,
throughout: monotone, with a hint at texture to the
plaster to give a lustre and depth.
‘ The visitor’s journey starts in darkness,’ says MDO.
‘ The only clues to which way to go is provided by a
faint cove light which reveals a gentle curving wall,
leading to a bright light coming from the waiting
room, complete with heavy velvet curtains, where
they are provided with a script, and transform
into characters denoted by numbers they are given
beforehand. ‘Light is used as a tool to reveal and
conceal; when the guests are ready to move to the
changing rooms, a light shines through a pinhole
aperture in the changing room door on to the dark
corridor floor,’ revealing their character number.
‘Inside a solitary lamp shines on to the next clue,
their costume for the evening. Here, the guest first
experiences colour. All other spaces are kept to a
monochromatic palette to create the decompression
from the outside world. When they first see the
colour of their costume and step into the main
theatre space, which is usually colourful and
highly decorated, the guest experiences a surreal
transformation, a little like Dorothy waking into
colour in the Wizard of Oz,’ says MDO.
In contrast to the threshold sequence, the lobby
is bright, creating a moment of respite before the
performance begins. Participants emerge from a
costume change into a small antechamber with
asymmetrical walls where they receive stage
directions. After the show, the sequence finishes with
a hall of mirrors, a final nod to cinematic tropes.
Curved walls, low-key lighting and monochrome materials combine
to create the atmosphere of a 1950s melodrama