| Art |

COVID-19 Postpones Theater of the Mind, by David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar

Mala Gaonkar and David Byrne are the creators of Theater of the Mind.
Mala Gaonkar and David Byrne are the creators of Theater of the Mind.
Catalina Kulczar
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The concept of "immersion" is unsettling in the era of social distancing — and not surprisingly, some of the most anticipated immersive art and theater projects planned for Denver this year have now been put on hold (along with concerts, plays and other cultural events).

As many Denver businesses get ready to open in a limited capacity, venues remain closed for the foreseeable future, and performances continue to be canceled and rescheduled. The latest casualty is Theater of the Mind, one of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' centerpiece productions for 2020.

The immersive extravaganza, which was slated to take over an undisclosed 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Denver, was created by David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, and Mala Gaonkar; it also signed on a slew of Denver creatives. One was assistant director Amanda Berg Wilson, of Boulder company The Catamounts, who spoke with Westword about the planned production earlier this year.

"It's exciting that an artist of David Byrne's national reputation, who could coast on Talking Heads hits for the rest of his life, is doing something that's really experimental," she said. "It's neat to know that the same things we're tinkering with in the Catamounts lab, he's tinkering with in this much better-resourced and much bigger scale."

The piece, which she described as an exploration of neuroscience and the tricks that the brain plays on people, is almost a natural fit for this era of social distancing; after all, just sixteen audience members experience the installation at one time.

But too much is unknown about the months ahead, including when cultural events — even ones with small audiences — can return.

“Postponing this production, which has been many years in the making, is heartbreaking for everyone involved,” explains DCPA Off-Center curator Charlie Miller. “But given the uncertainties of what the future of this pandemic holds, we found ourselves with no other choice. DCPA Off-Center remains deeply committed to producing Theater of the Mind in Denver, and we hope to share this groundbreaking experience with our community as soon as we safely and responsibly can.”

To sign up for updates, go to the Theater of the Mind website

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.