In a dark corner of a loud, smoky room at this year’s Midsummer Scream Convention, Shine On Collective has hidden a secret. In a small space, half the size of a bedroom, words and images scrawled across the walls—amongst the nonsensical letters and numbers, the word “alone” stands out. A man’s troubled memories are shouted in my ears—I’ve become him—trapped inside a terrible dream. This is Echoes in the Dark, the first tease of a multi-part series (similar to last year’s Sweet Dreams) that takes you on a journey deep into the mind of Victor Hamlin, a young scientist whose exploration of the human condition has taken him to a loathsome place. What have you done, Victor? What have you done?
Echoes in the Dark was presented in two short pieces over the weekend of Midsummer Scream, with guests experiencing two different subsets of Victor’s memory depending on which experience they participated in. In one, you, as Victor are faced with the very real and harrowing results of your gruesome experiments with the human mind—a creature (an unnerving Mike Merchant) born of your own ambitious machinations, disgusted with itself. In the other, the woman you once loved (the perfectly-cast Karlie Blair) lies cold, abandoned—the true consequence of your obsessions. She was real, Victor, and you left her alone. She begs you for help, but you can’t hear her over your own thwarted memory shouting ignore her, IGNORE HER, just like you’ve always done. But ignorance won’t work, Victor. Your Creature, your wounded love, they still exist, haunting you, forcing you to relive what you’ve done.
Shine On Collective has provided a taste of what promises to be a much broader, intriguing story—a study on memory, regret, and possibly redemption. What happens next remains to be seen; audiences should eagerly await the next chapter. Echoes in the Dark was just that—the echoing toll of Victor Hamlin’s past. Perhaps, very soon, we’ll get to see from whence that darkened bell was rung.
For more information about upcoming Shine On Collective shows, including future installments of Victor’s story, you can sign up for their mailing list on their website. You can also visit them on Instagram and Facebook.