By Trajal Harrell
Inspired by the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthrone
Staging and choreography: Trajal Harrell

A young woman has a child, and everyone is wondering who the father is. But Hester Prynne refuses to reveal who it is. In 17th-century America, this kind of stubbornness cannot go unpunished, so Hester is forced to wear a scarlet red “A” on her chest at all times.

Back when the author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the novel The Scarlet Letter, there was no designation for women who had a free approach to their bodies and sexuality, and even less support. In their honour, choreographer and dancer Trajal Harrell takes an imaginative look back: What could have happened in those colonial times, when European settlers occupied foreign territory and subjected their women to arbitrary rules if a woman with an illegitimate child had actually been condemned to wear the scarlet “A”? From where would gloating and solidarity have been expected? Together the performers and audience celebrate the possibility of changing the future by memorializing historical regret.

Rehearsal Directors
Stephen Thompson / Vânia Doutel Vaz
Staging, Choreography, Stage design, Costume design, Soundtrack
Trajal Harrell
Sylvain Rausa
Katinka Deecke
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Audience Development
Mathis Neuhaus
Touring & International Relations
Björn Pätz
Production Assistance
Camille Charlotte Roduit
Costume design Assistance
Mona Eglsoer
Production intern
Selma Jamal Aldin
Costume design intern
Sally Ndiaye
Aleksandar Sascha Dinevski
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A production of Schauspielhaus Zürich with the Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble

A coproduction with Festival d’Automne à Paris, Les Spectacles Vivants – Centre Pompidou Paris

Supported by Trajal Harrell Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble Fan Club

  • Premiere: 7. February 2024, Schiffbau-Box
  • Schiffbau-Box
Wednesday 07.02. 20:15 Schiffbau-Box
  • Premiere
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Bits on Pieces
More texts and contexts related to our stagings in the theatre’s journal.
The Directors Talk
About Season 23/24

The 23/24 season of the Schauspielhaus Zürich will be special. Not only because it is the last season of Nicolas Stemann's and Benjamin von Blomberg's directorship, but also because the eight house directors are all returning to the house once again to work on new productions. In eight short videos, they talk about their plans.