Trajal Harrell
Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble Tambourines


In this new work, Trajal Harrell draws upon Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, and uses it as a line of approach for an exploration of colonial America. Accompanied by the Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble, the choreographer continues to use the onstage body as a means for inventing another possible ending in history.

Coming to us from the other side of the Atlantic, Trajal Harrell navigates a path between the continents of knowledge. Using the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlett Letter: A Romance as his inspiration, he sets off in search of its heroine, Hester Prynne and imagines her life in an era different from the patriarchal America of the time. In Hawthorne's work, the young woman is banished from society for giving birth to a child out of wedlock. She must carry the A for « adultery ». The novel is racked through with repentance and guilt. In the eyes of Trajal Harrell, if we are to raise questions about the era we live in then we need to take a step aside from it. Has it really changed? At a time when some speak of the need for return to a form of (moral) order, what is the message we want to hear? With the help of the visual artist Sarah Sze, the choreographer makes Tambourines into a flexible, laboratory-type piece in which the audience is invited to come onstage for the duration of a show. Don't get stuck might well be Trajal Harrell's motto.