Illusionist, mentalist and performance artist Scott Silven takes his audience on a mesmerizing crossing from their homes to his in rural Scotland in The Journey, performed live and online, for an initial two-week run from October 20 through November 1. The West Coast Premiere of The Journey is co-commissioned and presented by The Broad Stage.
Following his sold-out, raved-about world tour of At the Illusionist’s Table, Scott performs this all-new, immersive and uniquely intimate experience for only 30 participants (as individuals or households) per show. Each show is shaped into its own compelling adventure – and supported by groundbreaking technology – through Scott’s direct interactions and engagement with the audience as The Journey unfolds.
The Journey is directed by Allie Winton Butler, one of Scotland’s leading creative talents, having directed productions at Traverse Theatre, Citizens Theatre, Bike Shed Theatre, and Southwark Playhouse. It is written by Silven and Rob Drummond. The creative producer is Michael Mushalla.
Set amidst the landscape of his childhood, Silven tells a long-forgotten story that reveals mysteries of the mind and unlocks the secrets of his glorious Scottish homeland. Through incredible illusions and feats of imagination, The Journey explores the sense of home and the transformative power of place. The audience is invited to join others in this virtual event like no other, and discover the path that connects them to Silven’s past, their own present, and a collective future.
Silven said, “At this profound moment, we are developing The Journey as a piece that speaks to these times. As soon as the pandemic hit and had us locked down, I knew that I wanted to create something that could connect an audience despite us being physically apart. The format we are employing affords an amazing opportunity to bring people together who normally wouldn’t share a space – and uses digital technology not as a limitation, but as a compelling element to allow the audience to participate directly with me and shape the events of the show. There is something truly powerful about gathering together from across the world for a moment to reflect and discover what we might take to the future.”
The music is composed by Jherek Bischoff. The designers are Broadway and West End award-winning veterans Jeff Sugg (visuals) and Gareth Fry (sound), Tony winner for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Sugg and Fry are employing technologies from the real world. This application of that realm of technologies will be introduced to theatrical presentation in order to handle the amounts of information required to create a paramount video and audio experience of the transcendence of the exterior landscapes of Scotland and the interior landscapes of the mind and heart.
Tickets can be purchased starting September 9 at thebroadstage.org. Members of The Broad Stage may purchase tickets during their exclusive pre-sale period starting September 2.
For further assistance, call Patron Services at 310.434.3200 or email email@example.com. Tickets are limited, so it is recommended that the audience plan ahead.
The Journey’s immersive soundscape is best experienced with headphones or earbuds.
This engagement follows the world premiere September 29 through October 18 at the Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas; The Journey is created with the generous support of the Momentary.
Scotland is a nation of storytellers
Scott Silven said, “Scotland is a nation of storytellers; a place where myth and mystery are woven into the fabric of its identity. How I started exploring my craft as a kid was by hearing these incredible stories of the landscape of my youth that allowed me to see wonder in the world. The Journey explores me leaving that behind to go to America to achieve my dreams and ambitions. But, now being forced back into a standstill, reflecting on the past being a crucial part of who we are. It’s a show that is a love letter to Scotland, and focuses on the serendipitous path that led me back to my childhood home because of lockdown. But more importantly, it uses this personal landscape from my past to ask the audience to reflect back to their own connections to place and home as well, all with some unexpected surprises along the way. The Journey will weave together storytelling, illusion, and compelling visuals to explore home, place, and the power of connection to transform us.”
Director Allie Butler said, “The challenge of connectivity is really Scott’s North Star, the guiding light in making this show. So many people have returned or been stuck at home including Scott, who had to leave America to spend lockdown in Scotland.”
“The Journey asks questions about how physical space and landscape affect the sense of emotional place in the world. So, by exploring themes of time and place, we found that those resolved themselves into a story about traveling across a familiar landscape that suddenly becomes unknown and unfamiliar but managing to find a way home again. The theme of memory is important in all of Scott’s work as a mentalist. The Journey guides the audience to share aspects of their own past, which really allows the show to speak directly to that particular group of people every night. Scott wants to ask them to examine the world around them in a different way and in doing so, look at themselves in a different way. If that sounds like a really big offer, we mean it to be a gently provocative way of exploring your own sense of memory and identity in the world.”
Silven continued “Everything I’ve strived to do in my work is draw on the audiences own thoughts, memories and experiences to guide the narrative forward and become the catalyst for the illusions. We are strangers that are coming together, connecting, and creating a magical experience as a group. It is driving force of The Journey. I am just the conduit for my audience achieving the impossible together. For me, that’s the great joy of the work.”
The audience experience
The Journey is personal – in that, each person taking part from their own home, are surrounded by objects of meaning to them. In the weeks preceding the performance, the audience will receive materials to preview that explore the Scottish landscape and a short set of instructions asking the audience to consider a memory and bring an object to the broadcast that could become a key moment in the narrative of the show.
Visual designer Jeff Sugg said, “We are taking broadcast grade hardware and applying it to theater, repurposing it to our needs. The visual landscape includes projection mapping of the entire space. We then use a live controlled, multi-camera system to bring the stage to your screen.” With this technological wizardry at their command, the creators have conjured an enveloping and involving multi-dimensional visual experience.
The visuals are then paired with an equivalent spatially geographic soundscape. Sugg continued, “Multiple tracks of music and sound have been mixed into a stereo feed, best experienced – but not required – through headphones. Our goal is that the technology, used in this application for the first time, be invisible and seamless, so that the audience can engage with the experience, instead of the innovation.”
About Scott Silven
Scott Silven, who pushes the boundaries of his craft by creating stylish, smart, and uniquely immersive performances for stage, screen and now in the digital realm, has mesmerized audiences across the globe for more than a decade. He is a modern-day marvel like no other.
Hailed by Vogue as a ‘world-renowned mentalist,’ his work has been described as ‘a marvel’ (The New York Times), ‘mesmerizing’ (Town and Country) ‘truly astonishing’ (The Daily Beast) ’unforgettable’ (Entertainment Weekly) and theatre that ‘wows everyone’ (The New Yorker) through a combination of ‘elegance, sheer mind power, and profound philosophical insight’ (Manhattan Digest).
The Journey follows previous shows including two major sold-out runs in New York and an extensive tour on the international stage including headline engagements with leading arts organizations including the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Sydney Festival, Stanford Live, Luminato Festival, Seattle Theater Group, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
As a child, Silven reveled in mystery. His innate fascination with the enigmatic and unexplainable guided him to the craft of illusion at a young age and evoked a sense of wonder that he knew he had to share with others.
From stage to screen, Silven’s objectives remain absolute: to orchestrate an awe-inspiring experience, to reveal the mysterious side of human nature, and, ultimately, to lead his audiences to a place that suggests untold possibilities, a place that challenges perceptions; a place that allows them to look at the world, and themselves, in an extraordinary way.