Complicité theatre to stream Simon McBurney’s The Encounter online
James R | On 13, May 2020
Complicité theatre company is getting in on the theatre streaming game this weekend with the online debut of The Encounter.
With theatres across the UK shutting their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, audiences have been turning to streaming theatre services and initiatives to keep up with culture – you can read our guide to digital theatre here.
While the National Theatre at Home series has blazed a trail on Thursday nights, other theatres and companies across the country have been joining in too. Complicité is one of the most daring theatre companies out there. Founded in 1983 by Simon McBurney, Annabel Arden and Marcello Magni, it uses projection and other technology to stage such dazzling productions as The Master and Margarita.
It’s only fitting, then, that it should turn to web to stream a play during lockdown – an intimate one, no less, with Simon McBurney performing The Encounter all by himself.
The one-man show follows National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre, who, in 1969, became lost in a remote part of the Brazilian rainforest while searching for the Mayoruna people. His encounter was to test his perception of the world, bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus. Threading scenes of his own life with details of McIntyre’s journey, the play incorporates objects and sound effects into this solo performance to evoke the depths of the Amazon rainforest. The show’s ground-breaking binaural sound design (3D audio) by Olivier Award winner, Gareth Fry, was transmitted to the audience through headphones in theatres when it debuted at the Fringe – and then Bristol Old Vic – back in 2016.
A recording of the production from London’s Barbican will be streamed on YouTube for free on Friday 15th May.
“We are, as a consequence of this pandemic, bodily cut off from one another. Disconnected. Isolated. But perhaps this sense of our separation one from another, is simply a heightening of what we felt before this all began. We are thinking now, not only about how long this will last, but also what happens on the other side. To reconnect we need, perhaps, to learn to listen more closely. To each other. To our communities. To other cultures. To nature itself,” says Simon McBurney, Complicité Artistic Director. “The Encounter is at its heart a story about ‘listening’, not ‘hearing’ but listening; to other, older narratives which, at the deepest level, form who we are, and if we do, we can imagine how we can ‘begin’ again.”
The stream premieres at 7pm and will be available for seven days on-demand. A live, online discussion with McBurney and guests will also take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th May.