Samson (2018-)

A multi media theatre production written and directed by South Africa’s artist/director/installation maker, Brett Bailey. Scenography and design created in collaboration with Bailey.
Debuted at Wordfees, SA and The National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.

“SAMSON  uproots the popular biblical myth from its religious context, and transplants it into a dystopian contemporary landscape of unbridled capitalism, human displacement, xenophobia and violence. It asks us to reflect on the historical injustices and repressed rage that so often underlie the ruthless acts of terror committed by marginalized, alienated men. 

The moving, poetic and thought-provoking ritual-theatre piece is set to a haunting live score composed and directed by one of South Africa’s foremost jazz and electronic musicians, Shane Cooper. It features opera, choral vocals, tight ensemble work and sweeping video scenography. 

Bailey has figured Samson, the character, as an avatar for the repressed rage of those people that have been trampled by expansionist forces for centuries. 

In an era of intolerance and polarization, a young man with a hero mission channels the fury of his subjugated people, and inflicts terror on the population that he holds accountable for their oppression. As the body count mounts, Delilah – an ambivalent enemy agent – seduces and ritually castrates him. His brutal punishment in the detention facilities of the authorities spurs him to an act of suicidal devastation… “