Art Happens

Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s Meow

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© Orpheas Emirzas

How can something arise from nothing? This question has occupied not only philosophy since its beginnings, but also the U.S. choreographer Trajal Harrell. In Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s Meow, he searches for forms that develop freely and without external influence.

The starting point of the project is an obscure gathering of dazzling characters in the vast dimensions of the Schiffbau-Halle. There was no theme and no subject. Harrell asked himself, how does one make a performance about nothing? In propelling nothing to the foreground, what unconscious and/or by-products are generated in the background?

In the gathering of dancers and actors from the Zurich ensemble, the potentials for revolution and beauty unfold in equal measure, concepts of something and nothing are brought into juxtaposition. An iconography that, between historical references and pop culture, between everyday gestures, social patterns and artificial poses, conjures up the powers of the body. In the alchemy of theater, life emerges from no particular theme… The team starts with nothing, wanders here and there, but all withstanding most of all together.

His main intention in this work was to make a wonderful night in the theater. He wants everyone to leave with that sense of the theater’s potential to bring joy to our daily lives. What promises to be a rare night of music and dance shaped by nothing gives rise to everything and more.

Staging, Choreography, Costumes: Trajal Harrell
With: Titilayo Adebayo, Alicia Aumüller, Frances Chiaverini, Sultan Çoban, Adel Sze-Farragne, Trajal Harrell, Tabita Johannes, Thibault Lac, Nasheeka Nedsreal, Perle Palombe, Karin Pfammatter, Maximilian Reichert, Lena Schwarz, Stephen Thompson, Songhay Toldon, Jeremy Nedd, Thomas Wodianka
Rehearsal Director: Maria Ferreira Silva, Ondrej Vidlar
Soundtrack: Trajal Harrell, Asma Maroof
Stage design: Trajal Harrell, Erik Flatmo
Light Design: Stéfane Perraud
Dramaturgy: Laura Paetau, Tobias Staab
Production: Schauspielhaus Zürich
Diffusion: ART HAPPENS and Schauspielhaus Zürich collaborate on the diffusion of Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s Meow

DatePerformanceCity CountryOrganisation/Venue
26.01.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
28.01.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
30.01.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
03.02.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
08.02.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
10.02.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
11.02.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
14.02.2023Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
31.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
29.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
28.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
23.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
22.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
21.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
18.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
16.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
15.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
13.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
12.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
10.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
09.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
07.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s MeowZurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich
03.12.2021Monkey off My Back or the Cat’s Meow  (world premiere)Zurich (ch)Schauspielhaus Zürich