Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has announced details for a new stage production entitled ‘Theatre Of The Mind’. The project is a collaborative effort between himself and friend Mala Gaonkar, who is an esteemed neuroscientist. The production debuts on August 31st in Denver and will finish its run on December 18th.
The production intends to “take audience members through an immersive journey of self-reflection, discovery, and imagination, inspired by and grounded in neuroscience.” The statement continued, describing it as “a visceral theatre experience inspired by neuroscientist experiments”.
Selected groups of attendees will participate in sensory experiments intended to “reveal the inner mysteries of the brain”.
The production is based on scientific experiments and research with scientists; it intends to make the audience question reality as they know it. Gaonkar stated: “The experiments and ideas of the labs we met, several of which we embedded in our narrative, seemed as engaging as any piece of theatre.”
Byrne added: “For me, the broader implications that these phenomena have in our lives, our sense of the world and our sense of self is key. We decided that a kind of narrative, the life of The Guide, told backwards, might be a way to connect these experiences to our daily living… and it might introduce an emotional connection as well.”
‘Theatre Of The Mind’ will take 16 groups to the exhibition show with a guide. It will then “[use] stories from our own lives to shape a narrative you’ll see, feel, taste and hear,” meaning that each experience will be individually tailored to the specific participant.
The intended result is that the participants will “question how beliefs, memories and even our identities are less fixed than we think.”
The organisers added: “Side effects may include a distrust of your own senses, a disorientation of self, and a mild to severely good time. You may not be who you think you are. But we’re all in it together.”
The plan has been in production for a few years, in 2019 Byrne said of the project: “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 6pm to 10pm. You get the same number as if it were a theatre show, but you get more in small groups.”