To be a performance artist you have to hate theatre’, is a famous quote from Marina Abramović (born 1946), the legendary performance artist. Still she asked veteran avant-garde director Robert Wison (born 1941, Waco, Texas) to put the story of her life and death on stage. Wilson was given notebooks, diaries, letters and photographs and was allowed to proceed at his own discretion. He also made use of Abramović’s authorised biography, written by James Westcott.
Wilson stages a series of living, slowly moving tableaux with American stage and movie actor Willem Dafoe in the role of the narrator, Abramović herself playing her mother – portraying her as a wicked witch intent on thwarting her daughter’s dreams – and nine mini-Marinas representing the artist herself. Each scene is sublimely lit – Wilson’s trademark – creating a magical reality that comes to us in hypnotic slow-motion. Abramović herself desribes the piece as a series of births and funerals of the soul, taking us through the various phases, the chapters of her life.
In English with Dutch surtitles
Worldpremiere: Manchester, 9 July 2011
Holland Festival 2012 Website
Detailed schedule information: