Skip to main content

The Encounter

Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Five stars

It's not immediately apparent that the man in jungle fatigues and army cap who slips onto a stage littered with microphones, speakers and a smorgasbord of hi-tech twenty-first century kit is Simon McBurney. Nor that his jokey demonstrations of sensurround binaural sound inbetween taking pictures of a headphone-clad audience on his iPhone for his children means the show has begun. But then, defining the beginning of time itself is what drives McBurney's mind-expanding exploration of human consciousness in this world premiere of a co-production between McBurney's Complicitie company, Edinburgh International Festival and a host of suitably pan-global partners.

Inspired by Romanian writer Petru Popescu's book, Amazon Beaming, The Encounter ostensibly tells the story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre, who in 1969 stumbled upon the Mayoruna tribe on the edge of Portugal and Brazil. McIntyre's experience with a people already pillaged by white western developers is enlightening enough in its consciousness-raising voyage into the unknown. McBurney's telling, however, transcends the story's roots to become part action-packed adventure, part immersive meditation, peppered throughout with an aural cut-up of scientific commentary, a contemporary classical underscore and the voices of McBurney's own children bringing him back down to earth.

McBurney and his army of collaborators, who include designer Michael Levine, sound designer Gareth Fry and co-director Kirsty Housley, have integrated a dazzling technical display into McBurney's journey. At the piece's heart is McIntyre and McBurney's encounter, not just with a lost civilisation attempting to preserve their purity, but with their very being and an entirely constructed western so-called civilisation they navigate their way through in an astonishing theatrical feat where discovery is all.

Supported by Sir Ewan and Lady Brown through the Edinburgh International Festival Commissioning Fund.

The Herald, August 10th 2015


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…