Porca Miseria

Trajal Harrell

Trilogy with surprising perspectives

Voguing, Japanese butoh, ancient Greek theatre performance art and contemporary dance – the American choreographer Trajal Harrell conjures up his elegant, subtle vocabulary from a wide range of genres.

He bases his major new trilogy Porca Miseria on the stories and battles of three very different, but equally strong women: like the character of Maggie from Tennessee's Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Medea, the tragic heroine from Greek mythology. Through them he explores issues of identity, gender, sexuality and power in a compelling way, breaking the boundaries between dance, theatre and the visual arts.

The first part is both art installation and performance, the middle part is a film, and the third part is shown in a theater setting.

dates

Sat June 18 5:15 PM

Sun June 19 5:15 PM

Prices

  • default € 57
  • HF Young € 20
  • CJP/student € 12

language & duration

  • Language no problem

  • 3 hours 50 minutes (met 1 pauze)

Background

‘The appropriation of fashion language into dance comes from the voguing dance tradition. The runway as my signature and as an architectural space within the dance composition continues to guide my formal process and hopefully will contain a lasting contribution to dance and art history.’

- Trajal Harrell

Trajal Harrell’s most conspicuous work was the eight-part performance series Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church. Judson Church was where a group of dance pioneers in the 1960s (Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton and many others) developed the concepts of postmodern dance. The series is designed as an encounter between this early postmodern dance and voguing. Harrell created seven episodes of varying lengths plus a publication.

Background

‘The appropriation of fashion language into dance comes from the voguing dance tradition. The runway as my signature and as an architectural space within the dance composition continues to guide my formal process and hopefully will contain a lasting contribution to dance and art history.’

- Trajal Harrell

Trajal Harrell’s most conspicuous work was the eight-part performance series Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church. Judson Church was where a group of dance pioneers in the 1960s (Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton and many others) developed the concepts of postmodern dance. The series is designed as an encounter between this early postmodern dance and voguing. Harrell created seven episodes of varying lengths plus a publication.

The third part premiered in 2009 at the New Museum in New York and was heralded as one of that year’s best works. One of the last in the series, Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure) / Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (M2M), was performed at the 2014 Holland Festival at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. A year later, his work The Return of The Modern Dance (2015) was also shown at the Holland Festival. In 2020 he made his triptych Porca Miseria which will be shown in its entirety for the first time in the 2022 Holland Festival.

part 1: Deathbed

Part one of Porca Miseria is inspired by a meeting between Harrell and an African American choreographer Porca Miseria is based on this encounter. Harrell explores the boundaries between dance, theatre and visual arts – it’s equal parts installation and performance, and the audience is free to move around the space.

part 2: O Medea

O Medea is a short film based on Medea from Greek mythology. Harrell: ‘I see Medea as a woman who is ‘crazy in love’, to quote Beyoncé. Medea, who kills her own children, is a metaphor: murdering the male-defined ideal of motherhood and femininity to free herself.’ An emotional homage to a tragic heroine in an extraordinary exploration of grief.

part 3: Maggie the Cat

The third part of Harrell’s trilogy Porca Miseria is inspired by Maggie, the troubled but tough central character of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Harrell shifting the perspective away from the rich white family of Maggie's husband Brick to the African American servants. The night-on-the-town soundtrack is equally at home in the nightclub and the theatre.

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  • © Tristram Kenton

  • © Courtesy of the artist (Trajal Harrell)

  • © Tristram Kenton

  • © Andreas Simopoulos

  • © Orphaes Emirzas

  • © Orpheas Emirzas (Deathbed)

  • © Orpheas Emirza (Deathbed)

credits

choreography Trajal Harrell production Manchester International Festival Manchester International Festival, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Onassis Stegi, Kampnagel Hamburg, Holland Festival, Barbican, NYU Skirball, Berliner Festspiele, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Dance Umbrella

This performance is made possible by