Image courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse.
Free admission (all visitors, all hours)
St. Ann’s Warehouse has partnered with Complicité to host a stream of the company’s smash hit “The Encounter,” created and performed by Simon McBurney. The show will be avaiable for a week, from Friday, May 15, at 2pm EST through Friday, May 22, at 5pm EST. Inspired by “Amazon Beaming,” a novel by Petru Popescu, “The Encounter” is what happens when an American photojournalist, Loren McIntyre, gets lost deep in the Brazilian rainforest while searching for the mystical Mayoruna tribe. McBurney is our guide for what he calls “a walk across the brain”—a journey that tests his perception of reality. McBurney performs all the roles (including the occasional insect) and live foley effects to create the noises of the brush or river.
The Encounter lends itself remarkably well to being experienced at home, as audiences are immersed in the enveloping binaural (3D) sound design of Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin. As it was in the theater, The Encounter is performed to audiences listening through individual sets of earphones. At home, you wear your own. “Almost as soon as you put [your earphones] on, your sense of time and space is altered,” Ben Brantley writes. “Mr. McBurney suddenly seems to be standing right next to you, whispering and (oh, wow!) blowing into your ear. Then he’s over there, behind you, and there, in front of you, and then practically sitting in your lap.” In the theater, he never left the stage.
The upcoming webcast of The Encounter is free to the public and features a new introduction by Complicité Artistic Director Simon McBurney, situating the work in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. A live discussion event and public Q&A featuring McBurney and guests including filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro, who hails from the Xingu region of the Amazon, will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, May 20, at 2: 30pm EST. Audiences can register for the event here.