CHOPIN’S HEART

An anatomical play by DEAD CENTRE
Based on stories from OLGA TOKARCZUK’S UNRAST

WORLD PREMIERE 18 03 2023 | AKADEMIETHEATER

Directed by BEN KIDD & BUSH MOUKARZEL

Stage Design JEREMY HERBERT

Music KEVIN GLEESON

Video SOPHIE LUX

Light MARCUS LORAN

Dramaturgy ALEXANDER KERLIN

The image of a dead man who is denied a burial and whose corpse is on display out in the open – triggering a conflict in Ancient Greece. Seventeenth-century public autopsies, resembled theatrical performances in front of large live audiences. The Imperial Cabinet of Curiosities in Vienna (today, the Natural History Museum) where people’s dead bodies were exhibited, without their consent, for everybody and sundry to see. The history of humanity can be told by looking at the way it treated its dead at different times. Do dead bodies have any rights? What if they were to demand justice from the living? 

Based on stories from Olga Tokarczuk’s UNRAST, the Irish author and director duo Dead Centre transform the theatre into a place where anatomical experiments are performed – and also challenged. These stories include one about the left leg of Philip Verheyen, a 17th-century anatomist who amputated his own leg and then performed a meticulous dissection on it; or another about Frédéric Chopin’s heart, smuggled by Chopin’s sister from Paris to Warsaw, to be buried there; and Josephine Soliman’s fight for her father’s right to be buried in Emperor Francis I’s Austria …

In their fourth production for Viennese audiences, Dead Centre focus on the body and what remains of it. After THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS by Sigmund Freud, THE WORLD IS ALL THAT IS THE CASE based on Ludwig Wittgenstein, and DIE MASCHINE IN MIR (VERSION 1.0), the duo now throw up the question of how we deal with the dead – and the dead with us.

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