Photo: © Bruno Simao, 2020
Photo: © Bruno Simao, 2020 

The Scarlet Letter

by Angélica Liddell
Direction: Angélica Liddell

Guest Performance during FIND 2021

The artist as pariah: scum of society, driven to the margins and publicly stigmatised. His works, decried by a tyranny of puritanism as immoral and subversive, are banned and burnt. Spanish writer, director and performer Angélica Liddell sets her new work »The Scarlet Letter« in such a dystopian and yet frighteningly familiar world. More than a rewriting, the play is a free response to the famous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne and his puritanical world in 19th century America. Then, adulteresses had their skin branded by a hot iron with the letter »A«. In her alternative version, Liddell sketches a modern non-world formed in equal parts out of elements of the art-hating dictatorship in Bradbury’s »Fahrenheit 451« and facets of our own extremely monetised, rationalised and yet — at the same time — highly moralistic present that is developing with breathtaking speed into a dystopia where every inconvenient artistic or philosophical culture is stigmatised. Today, the scarlet letter »A« stands for »artist«, but also for »Artaud« and »Althusser« — and not least for »Angélica«. In her ferocious plea for the beauty and freedom of art against morals and decency, the artist searches in the offensive and taboo for the subversive potential to break with a totalitarian system.

Angélica Liddell (*1966, Figueres) founded the Atra Bilis Teatro in 1993 and has since created more than 20 productions with them. Her plays have been translated into various languages, among them French, English, Russian, German, Portuguese and Polish. In 2012 she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura Dramática for »La casa de la fuerza«. In 2013 she received the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale and was announced Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 2017.

>>> Essay about the production in Pearson's Preview»Marking Angélica Liddell with a (Scarlet) Letter«

Set Design: Angélica Liddell
Costume Design: Angélica Liddell
Sound Design and Video Design: Antonio Navarro
Lighting Design: Jean Huleu

With: Pietro Quadrino, Tiago Costa, Julian Isenia, Angélica Liddell, Borja López, Tiago Mansilha, Daniel Matos, Thomas Conor Doherty, Nuno Nolasco, Antonio L. Pedraza, Sindo Puche, Romeu Runa

Duration: ca. 105 minutes

Co-production: Centre Dramatique National Orléans, La Colline — Théâtre
National (Paris), Teatros del Canal (Madrid)
Collaboration: Teatro Nacional D. Maria II (Lisbon), BoCA — Biennial of Contemporary Arts (Lisbon/Oporto/Braga)


Supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe

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Trigger warning: Nudity is shown stage.