22/23/24 March at 8:30 pm
How to Die consists of two performances : SDF-USA and American Tweaker. The performer Keith Hennessy shows the distressed state of two characters who are allegorical figures of the social malaise in contemporary American society. Created in March 2005 at Subsistances in Lyon, SDF-USA is based on a text by Robert Olen Butler from the work Têtes Mortes in which the writer imagines the ultimate thoughts of 62 decapitated people, between the moment of decapitation and clinical death. Starting with the case of “Claude Messner”, a homeless person decapitated by a train after having placed his neck on the track, Hennessy creates a performance which denounces government economic policy and establishes a direct link between individual and national poverty, thus revealing an American identity that has “ lost its head”. American Tweaker, produced at the Laboratoires in March 2006, appears to be the follow up to SDF-USA. Inspired by a real event that inflamed the American media in the late Eighties, this performance depicts the fate of a man suffering from AIDS who expresses his desperation through a life of debauchery, drugs and lust without worrying about the risk of contamination that he represents for others. Through these two portraits, Keith Hennessy shows the ways in which an individual (or a country) commits suicide.
Texts: Robert Olen Butler, Keith Hennessy Music: Jules Beckman, with the exception of “Lord How Come Me Here”, a traditional Negro spiritual, and “House of the Rising Sun”, traditional GB/EU Other sources: “Street Sheet”, journal of the Coalition on Homelessness – concerning the homeless in San Francisco, and “Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US City”, Verso 2000, by Mike Davis. Production: Les Subsistances, Lyon Thanks to Marie Munch, Gulko, Fanny and Sacha, Paquito and all the Subsistances team.
Concept: Keith Hennessy Featuring: Keith Hennessy, Seth Eisen (drag/clown/buto) and Jules Beckman (musician/performer) Production : Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers. Invitation within the framework of FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance), a programme coordinated and supported by the cultural services of the French embassy in the United States, with the assistance of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) and the New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project, with the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.