DEAD SET 2 & 3

The serial project of Dead Set exists as a sequence of notes : each part consists as an assemblage of modular concepts, that are rearranged for the duration of the individual spectacle. Dead Set #2 and #3 were organized around the topic of the image of trauma. Dead Set#2 was created first in Berlin at the Hebbel Theatre and for Paris at the Festival d’Automne à Paris. Further iterations of the series will involve non-theatrical performances, straight-to-video releases, and commerce.

Dead Set #2 and #3 contained the following modules. Each module was arranged in sequence for a performance, but no announcement of the module is made for the audience, instead, the performance segues from one section to another.
  • Color Therapy– on 4 video screens arranged in a cross, colors associated with sine wave tones fade in and out. Chromotherapy has been explored as an alternative medical treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Flash Poetry – An edited conversation between a cannibal seeking a victim and a victim seeking a cannibal culled from archived chat rooms were animated on 4 video screens, set to audio pulled from youtube first-person recordings of mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because the recordings were not American military, it seemed they were not censored and provided the first unedited video recordings of war.
  • Repro Trauma Fiction– Ensemble members donned flight suits, sequined hoods reminiscent of the hood worn by the Abu Ghraib torture victim in the iconic photo that made the cover of the Economist, and reenacted snatches of mostly American horror and war genre movies, such as The ShiningJarhead, The Hills Have Eyes, and Apocalypse Now, into microphones that were not plugged in.
  • Gas – a large jet of smoke lit pink is directed to the audience. As it clears, a dancer in a sequined, hooded flight suits attempts to embody edits from violent video sequences.
  • Zombies – the ensembled sheds the flight suits to reveal gimp mask latex swimsuits. They first film each other, then pick a victim and club the victim to death.
  • Showg*rls – using choreography copied from music videos and Blackwater videos, the ensemble dons Las Vegas showgirl headdresses and performs to a serial killer text.
  • Cannibal Crush – the cannibal story reappears as enacted in a Real-Time Film sequence of the cannibal meeting his victim in his house, and then moving into an Eden-like garden and discussing their meeting and negotiating the act they mutually want to accomplish.  Real-Time Film is a hybrid of moving image and theatre in which actors recombined formal ideas of performance through the use of simultaneous presence on stage and for live video using complex task-based choreography, digital puppeteering, and cinematic framing. Text is rearranged from Walt Whitman, and Edward Prime Stevenson’s Imre: A Memorandum. Based on actual events, the cannibal story represents the fulfillment of a desire made possible by contemporary technology (chat rooms). The actual event presented a legal quandary for its government since the act was mutually consensual and there were no laws preventing its consummation.
  • Void – a 10-meter black inflatable fills the stage space to extreme noise. It pushes against everything filling the stage with its nothingness.

Creation History:

Hebbel Theater (Berlin, Germany)
La Comete (Chalons en Champagne, France)
Theatre d’Angouleme (Angouleme, France)
Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris, France)

The Kitchen (NYC)
deSignel (Antwerp, Belgium)
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany)
Donau Festival (Krems, Austria)


“this visually and sonically ravishing production will leave you rattled, amazed and perhaps a little queasy.” – Time Out New York

“punishes its audience with an orgy of spectacle…Live theater itself seems under assault” – New York Times

“A descent into a heavy metal hell.” – Inrockuptibles (Paris, France)

“hypnotic, disturbing, anxiety-inducing,…” – Telerama (Paris, France)


Co-produced by Hebbel Am Ufer, Berlin; Festival d’Automne à Paris; Le Studio/Maison des Arts de Créteil; The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt; and The Kitchen; and received funding support from Florence Gould Foundation and étant donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts.