the Manchester International Festival

Rehearsal for The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, Teatro Real, Madrid, September 15, 2010. Photo: Antony Crook.

AMONG THE TWENTY-PLUS new works that will debut this July during the third iteration of the UK’s biannual Manchester International Festival, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović carries the most alarming title. But not to worry: Despite the artist’s past deployments of crossbows, burning gasoline, and loaded guns, the piece—a biographical play directed by the legendary Robert Wilson, starring Abramović and Willem Dafoe, and featuring music by Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons—will not put the doyenne in terminal danger. It may imperil simplistic historical constructions, though, insofar as it will inevitably highlight commonalities between Abramović’s ethos of presence and Wilson’s postmodern dramaturgy (not to mention the hypermediated productions of Dafoe’s experimental theater company, the Wooster Group). It also outs Hegarty and Abramović as performance

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