Complicite Production Transferred from Edinburgh Festival
On September 20, 2016, The Encounter began previews at the John Golden Theatre. The official opening night will take place on September 29, 2016. This one-man show is conceived by, directed by, and starring Simon McBurney, who is the founder and artistic director of the London-based company, Théâtre de Complicité, more commonly referred to as Complicite. An accomplished actor of both stage and screen, McBurney is that rare genius that continues to execute innovate work as both conceiver and performer well into his career. The Encounter is scheduled to run for a limited engagement until January 8, 2017, with selected performances (Wednesday matinees) featuring Richard Katz in McBurney’s stead. This marks McBurney’s Broadway debut as a performer, although he has directed twice before on Broadway: the 1998 production of The Chairs, and the 2008 production of All My Sons. The co-director of The Encounter is Kirsty Housley, and the associate director is Jemima James. Simon McBurney is also well known for his screen roles in such films as The Manchurian Candidate, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Robin Hood, The Theory of Everything, The Duchess, The Golden Compass, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Complicite is that rare company that has become well known for incorporating surreal elements and strong visual movement into the text of their works, which are often devised from concepts or found texts. Some of their past productions include The Master and Margarita, The Elephant Vanishes, Measure for Measure, The Noise of Time, Mnemonic, and The Street of Crocodiles. Their theatre is both surprising and disruptive, and incorporates what is most active and alive about the work at hand to create an entirely inimitable work of performance. The 1998 production of The Chairs was the only other time a work by Complicite has come to Broadway. It helps that The Encounter is a one-man show, which makes it financially more feasible to bring across the Atlantic, but there is an a big risk in trying out such an experimental work in this environment. The Encounter had its world premiere last summer at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival, and it was inspired by a novel by Petru Popescu called Amazon Beaming. Based off a true story, McBurney plays a photographer who found himself lost amongst the remote tribe of people in the Javiri Valley, which is on the border between Brazil and Peru, in the year 1959. The show incorporates 3D technology, wherein the audience members are asked to wear headphones which provides a mix of recorded sound along with the live sound. Following the Broadway production, The Encounter will go on a tour, with dates already announced for Ann Arbor, Michigan (March 30 to April 1, 2017), Los Angeles, California (April 6 to 16, 2017), with further dates to be announced.