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David Byrne To Launch Trippy, Immersive "Theater Of The Mind" In 2020
Today, the music and theater world got some exciting news: GRAMMY-winning multi-hyphenate and Talking Heads co-founder David Byrne is bringing his latest avant-garde art experience, "Theater of the Mind," to Denver in summer 2020. This trippy, interactive performance piece is centered on human perception and reality.
Breaking news: David Byrne & Mala Gaonkar to open "Theater of the Mind" in Denver with #DCPAOffCenter. “As far as I can tell,” Byrne said, “this show is pretty unprecedented.” Here's our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW--> https://t.co/tgdu0PsN4Y@DBtodomundo @americanutopia @AmericanTheatre pic.twitter.com/pVKdE4pfNd
— DenverCenter (@DenverCenter) November 8, 2019
Byrne first tested out an initial version of the "Theater of the Mind" back in fall 2017 on Governors Island in New York City as "workshop performances" in partnership with 600 HIGHWAYMEN. According to his conversation with Rolling Stone, he decided to take the new run to Denver, specifically to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, because "the Denver Center for the Performing Arts have done immersive things like this before," he told the outlet.
"Not quite like this," he continued, "but they've cultivated an audience in Denver. I am so convinced that because it's about perception and sensory stuff, there's gonna be a lot of gummy bears and other stuff in there."
The "Once in a Lifetime" singer also explained a bit about the layout and interactivity of the experience, although exact run dates have yet to be revealed.
"It will be in a warehouse, where it's divided into a bunch of different rooms. A group of 16 audience members will go from room to room and experience these perceptual things. When they leave one room, another group goes in there. That way, you can get 400 people in from 6 p.m. to 10. You get the same number as if it were a theater show, but you get more in small groups," Byrne said.
"When people come out of this thing, my hope is that they will have had a really good time," he told the Denver Center.
The new Theater of the Mind Denver website, where you can sign up to be notified when tickets go on sale, reveals more details about the experience. The site says performances will begin in August 2020 and go "for several weeks." Tickets will be available in the spring
The immersive experience is co-created by Byrne and researcher/technologist Mala Gaonkar. The pair has worked together before; in 2016 they brought a theatric version of scientific research studies—which they named "The Institute Presents: Neurosociety"—to the forward-thinking Pace Gallery in Menlo Park, Calif.
"Inspired by both historical and current lab research, 'Theater of the Mind' takes you on an immersive journey inside how we see and create our worlds," its website states. "The show uses stories from their own lives to shape the narrative you'll see, feel, taste and hear.
Witness the wonders of your mind for yourself as you follow The Guide through a spectacular 15,000-square-foot installation with 16 fellow audience members. As you explore intriguing environments, participate in a narrative and try a series of sensory experiments, your Guide will question how beliefs, memories and even our identities are less fixed than we think."
Currently, Byrne is busy showcasing his critically acclaimed "American Utopia" show on Broadway, in which he and other musicians dressed in coordinating gray suits perform favorites from the Talking Heads and his solo albums, including 2018's American Utopia. As RS notes, the Broadway run was recently extended until Feb. 16, 2020.