Simon McBurney’s solo play The Encounter, which required audiences to wear headphones to enter an immersive, sonic journey, is now available to experience online.
In The Encounter, McBurney incorporates innovative technology into his solo performance to create a shifting world of sound. He utilizes a Sennheiser Neumann KU 100 Dummy Head Microphone—a microphone shaped like a human head. This unique device replicates human hearing to achieve authentic, true-to-life stereo imagery and field perception. This is called binaural sound; when you listen to a binaural recording through headphones, you perceive distinct and genuine 360-degree sound.
The Encounter is now available to experience on YouTube through May 25. Headphones must be worn to experience the show's binaural sound design (3D audio). The Encounter was filmed at London’s Barbican Theatre in March 2016.
Watch the video above to experience the show.
Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, who collaborated as sound designers for the limited fall Broadway engagement of The Encounter, will receive special honors at the 2017 Tony Awards on June 11.
Written and directed by and starring McBurney, The Encounter is based on the true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre, who in 1969, found himself lost in the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. The story is also inspired by the book Amazon Beaming, by Petru Popescu. The book, which McBurney discovered 20 years ago, weaves McIntyre’s real journal entries from his time in the Amazon. McBurney uses the various microphones on stage to not only re-create the sounds of the Amazon rain forest—complete with the buzzing of insects, bird calls and the roaring of unknown beasts—but to embody McIntyre’s deep, captivating voice, wholly different from his own.