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STAGED? (2016) 77 minutes


STAGED? (2016), is the first part of a performative diptych, along with STAGING (2017).

“Titles are always appropriate and … usually very important. …They become a metaphor, part of the image of the piece,” claimed Robert Whitman, referring to his 1966 performance Prune Flat.

Maria Hassabi’s STAGING and STAGED? are a diptych. The basic definition of “staged” is planned, organized, or arranged in advance, and “staging”—among many definitions—refers to the act, process, or manner of presenting a play or performance. “Staging” is an active, non-finite verb form, and “staged” is a passive, finite form. […] The piece indeed appears staged, with precision. Every detail has been carefully considered. Yet the question mark of the title seems to express doubt or uncertainty about something. It becomes a haunting presence.
– Ana Janevski, from “It Is Never Staged: Ana Janevski on Maria Hassabi,” published by Walker Art Center, August 11 2017.

STAGED? furthers Hassabi’s conversation on the expectations of viewership, addressing the ways in which dance and the spectacle of performance are presented within the theater space. The work takes its time and asks the viewer to do the same, using slowness and stillness as techniques in a choreography that oscillates between dance and sculpture, subject and object, live body and still image. In STAGED?, the audience surrounds four performers entangled in a tense, colorful pile on a vividly pink carpeted expanse. Beneath a sculpture of burning spotlights, the performers pass over and through each other, forming an amorphous sculptural mass that changes through the accumulation of their sustained movements, creating a surreal theatrical intensity.


*** STAGED? – undressed is an adaptation for public spaces, an iteration represented solely by its performers.


Performers: Jessie Gold, Hristoula Harakas, Maria Hassabi, Oisín Monaghan.
Outfits: Victoria Bartlett
Composer: Marina Rosenfeld
Lighting design: Zack Tinkelman and Maria Hassabi
Dramaturgy: Scott Lyall
Management: Alexandra Rosenberg
Production Assistant: Kate Scherer



Barnes Foundation,  Philadelphia, US (October 6) — undressed
-Actoral Festival, Marseille, Marseille, France (September 28,29)

– Wanås Konst, Wanås, Sweden (August 19, 20) — undressed
– River to River, New York (June 23, 25) — undressed
– Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Belgium (May 24,25,26,27)
– XING, Live Arts Week VI, Bologa, Italy (April 29) — undressed
– STEGI Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Greece (April 7,8,9)
– ICA Boston (March 17,18)

– Premiere: The Kitchen NYC with Crossing The Line Festival (October 4,5,6,7,8)


STAGED? (2016) is a co-production of Dance4 (Nottingham, UK); FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival (New York, NY); High Line Art (New York, NY); The Keir Foundation with support from Dancehouse, Melbourne (Melbourne, AUS); The Kitchen (New York, NY); kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels, BE); Onassis Cultural Center – Athens (Athens, GR); and Summer Stages Dance @ ICA/Boston (MA); and supported through residencies at Live Arts Bard at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (Annandale on Hudson, NY); Camargo Foundation with funding from the Jerome Foundation (Cassis, FR); and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (Captiva Island, FL).
STAGED? was supported, in part, with contributions from Randi & Jeff Levine, and Leo Koenig & Maggie Clinton.