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Porca Miseria - Double Bill

Trajal Harrell

Performer Trajal Harrell poses against a pink background.

Join us for the compelling final two parts of this major new dance work from renowned American choreographer Trajal Harrell which explores issues of identity, gender, sexuality and power.

Performance art and contemporary dance meet in this acclaimed show based on the stories and battles of very different, but equally strong women.  Breaking down the boundaries between dance, theatre, cinema and the visual arts performances Porca Miseria blends voguing, Japanese butoh and ancient Greek theatre.

Experience the final two parts of the trilogy. O Medea is a short film of a dance performance based on Medea from Greek mythology. Maggie the Cat is the climatic finale inspired by Maggie from Tennessee's Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Trajal Harrell returns to the Barbican following Hoochie Koochie in 2017. Porca Miseria premiered at Holland Festival in June 2022 where it received critical acclaim. 

This ticket is for the Double Bill only. If you can join us earlier in the evening, then we recommend you experience the full trilogy.

O Medea (short film): 25 mins
Maggie the Cat: 1 hr

Age guidance: 14+

Presented by the Barbican

Produced by Manchester International Festival

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Schauspielhaus Zürich, ONASSIS STEGI, Kampnagel (Hamburg), Holland Festival, the Barbican and Dance Umbrella, NYU Skirball, Berliner Festspiele and The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Image credit: Tristram Kenton


‘Vivid and life-enhancing...a work of profound emotion‘
The Observer (on Porca Miseria)
‘Through rhythmic juxtaposition and perfect pacing, he creates alternating states of chaos and calm, of joy an excitement, bewilderment and bathos‘
The New York Times
‘A joyous and victorious act of playfulness‘
Manchester Evening News
‘Utterly transfixing and entirely original‘
The Observer (on Maggie the Cat)

The Programme

O Medea
Part two of Porca Miseria is a short film of a dance performance based on Medea from Greek mythology. Harrell: ‘I see Medea as a woman who is ‘crazy in love’, to quote Beyoncé. Medea, who kills her own children, is a metaphor: murdering the male-defined ideal of motherhood and femininity to free herself.’ An emotional homage to a tragic heroine in an extraordinary exploration of grief.

Running time: 25 mins 

Maggie the Cat
Part three of Harrell’s trilogy Porca Miseria is inspired by Maggie, the troubled but tough central character of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Harrell shifting the perspective away from the rich white family of Maggie's husband Brick to the African-American servants. The night-on-the-town soundtrack is equally at home in the nightclub and the theatre.

Running time: 1 hour

The first part Deathbed is both art installation and performance, with audiences seated on stage to be closer to the performers. This Double Bill ticket does not include Deathbed. Book tickets for the full trilogy.