Performance Video


Somewhere between puppetry and physical theater, Gesualdo in Heaven explores the life and music of Renaissance composer — and notorious murderer — Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa. Mixing life-size wooden puppets with an original score inspired by his music, Gesualdo in Heaven investigates the insomnia, delirium, paranoia and genius of one of Western music’s most troubling figures. The show features an original puppet design paired with a technique inspired by bunraku and noh theater, and explores the tension between an expressive medium and our efforts to control it. Whereas most puppetry emphasizes the artist’s ability to organize matter to the point where it begins to convey meaning, this piece (inspired by Gesualdo’s own musical discoveries) is about the ways matter resists organization and meaning. The puppets are strapped limb-to-limb to the puppeteers, with the result that the constraints of one come to rival the will of the other. This relationship becomes increasingly strained over the course of the performance, to the point where we are compelled at last to confront the brutality underlying the struggle for artistic control.