Performa Biennial 2023
Marcel Dzama: To live on the Moon (For Lorca)

November 11–14, 2023
2pm and 7pm

For the Performa Biennial 2023, loosely based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s screenplay, "Trip to the Moon (1929)", Canadian artist Marcel Dzama will create his first evening-length performance titled "To Live on the Moon (For Lorca)," interweaving Lorca’s stories with his assassination in 1936 by General Francisco Franco’s fascist regime in Spain.

[Film Still] Marcel Dzama, To live on the Moon (For Lorca). 2023. A Commission for the Performa Biennial 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Performa



The poet, playwright, and director Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)––arguably one of Spain’s most revered artists––mixed Spanish folklore, vivid imagery, and a keen understanding of human conflict to craft plays and poems that challenged the conservative social conventions of the time. Written during his year-long stay in New York City to attend Columbia University, "Trip to the Moon" is a screenplay composed of seventy-three loosely connected vignettes, each illustrating a foreboding scene of romance, violence, and mystical beings. Though never realized as a film before his assassination at the age of 38, the screenplay is a paradigm of Surrealist art, comparable to the cinematic experiments of Lorca’s peers Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñel.

In "To Live on the Moon (For Lorca)," Dzama pairs live performance with a newly commissioned film that uses elements of Trip to the Moon to tell the story not only of Lorca’s death, but of his resurrection as the Moon itself. Told in the original work’s vignette structure, Dzama follows Lorca from life to death and on to the cosmos, narrating this tale of resurrection and artistic expression through songs and poems in English and Spanish, all written by the artist. The performance in the Playhouse Theater at Abrons Arts Center will see Dzama and his collaborators––musicians, dancers, and actors––accompanying the film with additional prose and live music, carrying the colorful costumes and a grand procession of fanciful characters over from the screen to the theater aisles.

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About Performa

Founded by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Our mission is four–fold: to award and produce Performa Commissions that result in new live performances by exceptional American and international contemporary artists; to present the three-week international Performa Biennial of live performance featuring these new commissions at venues across New York City every other year; to offer public education programs, exhibitions and produce print publications through the Performa Institute that illuminate the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century culture; and to disseminate performance related content, context and commentary through our archives and digital content channels that reach global audiences.