Marina Abramovic and Willem Dafoe Die On Stage

Not literally, this time around! The Life and Death of Marina Abramović is a once in a generation cultural event, starring Marina Abramović and Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe, which previews on Friday and gets its much anticipated opening on Saturday night. This is an international cast of actors and performance artists joining together for the first time in the UK . It follows the sell-out success of Marina Abramović Presents at MIF in 09 which was an event which saw the artist leading audiences through an exhilarating four hours of live art at The Whitworth. Her recent show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. Abramović’s  first UK retrospective opens at London’s Lisson Gallery on 13 October. Several of the artists featured in Marina Abramović Presents also return as performers in Life and Death.The creative team and cast have been in workshop in Teatro Real’s rehearsal space over the last few weeks. Following the dates in Manchester in 2011 the show will run in Madrid in April 2012. Manchester International Festival and Teatro Real Madrid present the world premiere of a startling new piece for the stage: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a biography of the godmother of performance art, re-imagined by visionary director Robert Wilson. The show features scenes from Abramović’s life and career, from her Serbian childhood to her work as a performance artist. Featuring original and traditional music, including songs written and performed by the incomparable Antony (Antony & The Johnsons), this ground-breaking show brings together the worlds of theatre, art and music to thrilling effect. This is the first Robert Wilson production to be seen in the UK since The Temptation of St. Anthony in 2005. Robert Wilson comes to this years Festival for his first UK show in five years, and to bring Marina and Antony back to Manchester following their appearances here in 2009. ‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramović’ is a good expression of what MIF was created for – new work made by some of the world’s leading artists.’ Alex Poots, Festival Director The opera art form needs to develop new ways forward for the future. This could mean, of course, new composers but also projects developed by great visual artists, actors or singers who do not necessarily need to be opera singers. For sure, Antony, for example, brings a lyricism that in conjunction with Bob Wilson and Marina Abramović will make this production a real opera, just as Monteverdi would have loved. Gerard Mortier, Artistic Director, Teatro Real Madrid  Marina Abramovic has spent 40 years pushing her own mental and physical limits. The 64-year-old is starring alongside Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe in this stage event about her life and her imagined death. In this production she will  utilize three coffins. One will contain her real body and two will contain fakes. No-one will realise which is real. They will be buried simultaneously in her home city of Belgrade, Serbia, plus Amsterdam and New York.  Abramovic is the Godmother of performance art – a living artwork who puts herself in extreme situations in order to light up parts of our life that we rarely explore. She explains;

“I was horrified how the relatives and family misunderstand the personality and how they make the funerals. I was thinking, it’s not going to happen to me.” Marina made a will which dictates the elaborate choreography that will govern her funeral. Dafoe appears as a narrator and figures from Abramovic’s past. “We’re so afraid of pain, we’re so afraid of suffering, we’re so afraid of things we don’t know,” she says.”So we always choose the easy way. And when you choose the things you like to do, you never change.”I stage dangerous situations in front of the audience. I use the energy of the audience in order to push these limits and show the audience, if I can do it in my life, they can do it in their own.”If you trust in pain, you come to another level of consciousness. That’s the only way.”

The Life and Death of Marina Abramović    9 – 16 July 2011 The Lowry Salford

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