Requiem für eine Metamorphose A theatrical mass for the dead by Jan Fabre

German Premiere
Text, director, stage, coreography:

Jan Fabre
Serge Verstockt
Maarten Buyl
Luk Van den Dries, Miet Martens
Pol Engels, Katrien Strijbol, Andrea Kränzlin
Jan Fabre, Harry Cole
Linda Adami, Lie Antonissen, Manon Avermaete, Christian Bakalov, Katarina Bistrovic-Darvas, Dieter Bossu, Dimitri Brusselmans, Maarten Buyl, Sylvia Camarda, Kristof Deneijs, Ann Eysermans, Marusa Geymayer-Oblak, Ivana Jozic, Marina Kaptijn, Tassos Karachalios, Beatrice Kessi, Kazutomi Kozuki, Marinko Les, Clarice Braga Barbosa Lima, Frano Maskovic, Yutaka Oya, Aleksander Pavlin, Elsemieke Scholte, Tom Tiest, Geert Vaes
Opening night:
5. September
8:00 pm
1 hour 45 minutes
7., 9., 10., 11. September
8:00 pm
1 hour 45 minutes
9., 10., 11. September
The introduction begins 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.
Category A
40 €
Category B
30 €
Category C
20 €

Discussions between the audience and the participants of the play will be held after the performance of September 7


Fabres Requiem constitutes an ode to metamorphosis. His mass for the dead stands for a celebration of change: Not the being itself but the becoming is the centre of focus. Main character of the play is a butterfly which embodies reincarnation in perfection. As pictured in this production, it flitters about the graves and constantly reminds the dead of the mystery of metamorphosis. It asks them for their patience – the same patience a butterfly larva, caterpillar and cocoon must have. In order to kill time it is telling jokes. According to its opinion laughing is an excellent means against death. Nothing may set a corpse as effectively in motion as a joke. On the graveyard of Fabres’ Requiem the dead bodies are shaken by laughter untill they are aching.
All other characters in the play are in professional acquaintance with death. There is the priest who, on his deathbed, suddenly remembers that he gave a promise to somebody’s last anointing; a viatikum, a provision for the road strengthening the soul on its long journey. There is the palliative attendant who devotionally administers a therapy to an AIDS patient by using cocoons of a death’s-head hawk moth. There is the make-up artist who gives death a friendly face, who smoothes out death with her cosmetic products and her skillful fingers. There is the tomb artist, the florist, the coffin bearer, the stonemason, the gravedigger, the Thanato practitioner… characters that are acting on a thin line between life and death, experts in the moment of metamorphosis. Among them the butterfly, omnipresent, unseizable in its many metamorphoses, a colourful prayer effigy that flitters hither and thither.
In our worldly society we do not know how to deal with death. Far better – we are in the know indeed: death ought to be as far away as possible. There is literally no place for the dead. Thus, we are missing out on one of the biggest enigmas of the world. Fabre recalls death to full life, he takes death to where dance and festivities are and where death is worshipped as a part of cycle that may start all over again. Requiem is a mass of the dead. Fabre takes us with him into the burial chamber of death. He takes the pulse of the dead one, measures its temperature and gives it a clap on its backside. The mass of the death is a feast, a farewell, a restart.

A co-production of the RuhrTriennale with Troubleyn / Jan Fabre, Salzburger Festspielen and Vilnius – Europäische Kulturhauptstadt 2009.
In cooperation with Champ d'Action (BE), Mladinsko Theatre (Sl), Zagreb Youth Theatre (HR), Sirens Festival (LT) & Missdeluxedanceco (LU).
With kind support from the RAG Aktiengesellschaft – the RuhrTriennale's main sponsor