Flight takes place in a shipping container outside Summerhall. Inside, it is a convincing replica of an airplane where we are asked to put our bags and coats in the overhead lockers before taking our place in the seat number on our boarding passes. We have been carefully briefed beforehand, so everyone knows there will be about 20 minutes of complete blackout. Messages from the captain and cabin crew can be heard and we also have headphones for the in-flight experience.

While it is difficult to simulate the gravitational pull on the body during take-off, once we are at cruising altitude the effects are quite convincing and it is easy to imagine that we are in a plane and that it is a long way down to terra firma. This is participatory performance and imagination is what we need to make it happen… wait a minute, why is the intercom crackling? What did the captain just say?

What follows is something like the thrills of the Big Dipper with lashings of existential angst. To describe it too fully would be to spoil the experience, but needless to say we are confronted with the prospect of our own death in a crash, and the possibility that we will survive only in alternative realities.

The experience will be personal to each individual trapped there in the darkness; this is the moment each of us must face alone. The special effects are good enough to confront us with questions, many of them, no least about how we live our lives. If we survive, will we live differently? Or is it all just about the thrill of being taken to the edge and back again.

Saluatory for the soul.

Jackie Fletcher