A sixteen-question response to Jan Fabre’s Preparatio Mortis

Posted on 01 September 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Jan Fabre’s Preparatio Mortis

A sixteen-question response to Jan Fabre’s Preparatio Mortis

Guest article by Ori Josephine Lenkinski

How much did those flowers cost?
Where does one buy that amount of flowers?
Who laid them out like that?
How long did it take to arrange them?
Was the organ music in the beginning recorded or live?
How many minutes did we sit in the dark listening to it?
What was the significance of the date on the tomb?
Does the dancer enjoy performing this solo?
Does she have a wound on her knee or is it a stray petal?
How many butterflies were inside the vivarium on stage?
How many butterflies were purchased before the show versus the number that made it to the stage?
How many butterfly deaths have there been since the premier of this piece?
Where does one buy butterflies?
Is it legal?
Did more of the butterflies take flight during rehearsals or other performances?
What went wrong during this performance?

For those who have not seen this performance, it is a one-hour solo, danced by Annabelle Chambon. The piece begins with several minutes of darkness, enhanced in creepiness by epic organ music. When the lights come up, thousands of perfectly laid out flowers are revealed, surrounding a cube-like structure in the center of the stage. This, too, is covered in gorgeously arranged flowers. Slowly, something begins to move inside the structure. It is Chambon, dressed in a lacy, black undergarments. As the piece unfolds, Chambon writhes around the stage, destroying the glorious floral designs. Towards the end of the work, Chambon unveils the structure, which is a tomb, marked with a date. She enters the tomb, nude, contorting her body as some twenty butterflies swarm around her.

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