Deathbed is part of Trajal Harrell’s epic trilogy Porca Miseria where he unites three women from literature and history who were dismissed and attacked and who responded to these brutal assaults with a determined mix of pride and combativeness. In Deathbed he focuses on choreographer Katherine Dunham.
In Deathbed Trajal Harrell brings together his memory of Katherine Dunham and the aesthetic relationship to death and ritual characteristic of butoh. African-American dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham, renowned for creating a space for African and Caribbean dance traditions and ritual on the stage, travelled the world with her own dance company in the 1940s and 50s. However, she was also an activist who went on a hunger strike against the deportation from the United States of Haitian refugees and who fought fervently for equal rights in her own country.
In Deathbed, Harrell investigates the boundaries between dance, theatre and visual arts. The piece is part installation and part performance and the audience walks freely through the space.
Staging and choreography: Trajal Harrell
With: Ondrej Vidlar, Dila Watten Raworth, Perle Palombe, Songhay Toldon, Christopher Matthews, Titilayo Adebayo, Challenge Gumbodete, Josh Johnson, Trajal Harrell, Nasheeka Nedsreal, Frances Chiaverini
Stage design: Erik Flatmo / Trajal Harrell
Costume design: Trajal Harrell
Soundtrack: Trajal Harrell
Light: Stéfane Perraud
Dramaturgy: Sara Jansen
Audience development: Mathis Neuhaus
Theatre pedagogy: Katarina Tereh
Production assistant: Camille Roduit / Maja Renn
Stage design assistant: Anka Bernstetter, Eva Lillian Wagner
Costume assistant: Miriam Schliehe
Production intern: Sarah-Maria Hemmerling
A production of Schauspielhaus Zürich and Kunsthalle Zürich
Diffusion: ART HAPPENS and Schauspielhaus Zürich Schauspielhaus Zürich collaborate on the diffusion of Deathbed
Deathbed is part of the trilogy Porca Miseria, commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Onassis Stegi, Kampnagel Hamburg, Holland Festival, Barbican, Dance Umbrella, NYU Skirball, Berliner Festspiele & The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.