Presented by Complicite
Reviewed 7 March 2017
This is story-telling, but like you’ve never experienced before, as you are taken into a world far away from our own on an audio journey through the Amazon rain-forest.
British actor Richard Katz transports us into the real-life journey of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre who travelled to the Amazon in 1969 to find and photograph the mysterious Mayoruna tribe. After McIntyre’s first encounter with some of the tribes-people he follows them deeper and deeper into the forest and soon comes to the horrifying realisation that he is completely lost in the middle of nowhere.
Through McIntyre’s encounter his life is changed as he experiences mystical telecommunication and the limits of human consciousness in this two hour story-telling. The experience of a primitive culture raises questions about modern society such as consumerism, the loss of truth and the idea of lasting memories.
One of the reasons The Encounter is like nothing you’ve ever experienced is because of Katz’s interaction with modern technology including the use of multiple microphones, voice changers and something known as a binaural dummy-head microphone (3D audio). As the name states, this is a dummy head that has a microphone placed in each ear with the idea to mimic our natural hearing system (which it definitely does).
Each audience member gets their own set of headphones so as to allow for the realistic experience of the sounds being made on stage. As varying sounds, noises and words fill your ears it’s almost impossible not to close your eyes and let the Brazilian jungle envelop you as you journey in McIntyre’s shoes; you become completely immersed in his amazing Amazonian story.
Combined with the impressive technological factors, the story itself is utterly thrilling, leaving the audience on the edge of their seat salivating to know what’s going to happen next. McIntyre’s experience in the Amazon is nothing short of unbelievable as he deals with drowning rain-forest downpours, flesh-eating insects, murderous tribesmen and mind-altering drugs (that are licked off the back of a frog).
Somehow, Katz manages to keep up a high energy narrative throughout the entire two hours, and not once does he stumble. These two hours involve him yelling into microphones, jogging around the stage, throwing himself onto tables and becoming dynamically destructive with a range of props.
Director Simon McBurney has done a fantastic job at making sure every single element comes together to create an extraordinary narrative performance that transports the audience into another world and another life. The Encounter is truly a once-in-a-lifetime theatre experience and is not to be missed!
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Street, Adelaide
Season: 7 – 11 March
Duration: 120 minutes (no intermission)
Tickets: $30 – $89