I was inspired by a friend of mine over on Facebook that made a note listing her top 13 favorite live performance that she will always remember. I replied to her and had such a good time meditating on my list that I thought we could do it here also.


List the top 13 live performance that have influenced you. Mine are all contemporary performance makers but you can list bands, public speakers, plays, dances, religious services... anything live.


I'm looking forward to discovering your top 13!


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Here are my top 13 in no particular order


1. Meg Stuart's Disfigure Study in Singapore  (2007)
2. Robert Wilson's Danton's Death at the Alley in Houston (1993)
3. Romeo Castellucci's Tragedia Endogonidia P.#06 Paris‏ remounted in Antwerp (2007)
4. A Young drag collective in Austin Texas called Dragzilla on a visit (2001)
5. The Rise and Fall of Arto Ui directed by Heiner Muller at The Berliner Ensemble (1992)
6. Sarah Michelson's Dover Beach at The Kitchen (2009)
7. The Wooster Group's Hair Ape in NYC back in (1996)
8. DD Dorvillier's No Change or "freedom is a psycho-kinetic skill  (2005)
9. Der Idiot at The Volks Buehne (2005)
10. Justin Bond as Kiki from (1997-2007)
11. Reza Abdoh's work (on video...but living through the ghost of video is enough to haunt)
12. Ann Liv Young's Solo at Tanz im August in Berlin (2006)
13 Richard Foreman's Hotel F*ck at the Ontological (1998)

Top 13 (also in no particular order)


1. Ivo Van Hove's "More Stately Mansions" at NYTW (1997)

2. Faulty Optic's "Snuffhouse Dustlouse" at Henson Puppet Festival (P.S. 122 - 2000)

3. Olivier Py's "Requiem for Srebrenica" at Brooklyn Academy of Music (2000)

4. "Paradis (Unfolding Time)" directed by Pascal Rambert at Dance Theater Workshop (2005)

5. "GATZ" by Elevator Repair Service at The Performing Garage (2004/05 ???)

6. Abbatoir Ferme's "Mythobarbital" at KC NONA in Mechelen, Belgium (2008)

7. Wooster Group's "L.S.D. ( . . . just the high points . . . ) at The Performing Garage (1984)

8. Needcompany's "Isabella's Room" at Brooklyn Academy of Music (2004)

9. Live sets from Les Georges Leningrad at The Mighty Robot in South Williamsburg (2002/2003)

10. Les nuages en pantalon's "The Peach & Other Erotic Fruits" in Quebec City (2001)

11. Michel Vinaver's "11 septembre 2001" at CalArts RedCat Theater (2006)

12. Listening to Ralph Nader speak on the eve of the 1996 Presidential Election at Binghamton University.

13. "Bad Boy Nietzsche" by Richard Foreman at The Ontological Theater (2000)


HONORABLE MENTION -- About 5 years of watching people go nuts and/or embarrass themselves (ourselves included) at the old Surf Reality and Collective Unconscious on the Lower East Side (1999-2003)

Dancers: Scott Wells,   Vitali Kononov and Rosemary Hannon,  Leralee Whittle,  Sporen, Joe Goode, Pilobolus, Mark Morris, Stacy Prinz, Jessica Fudim.





1.Robert Wilson's Alice at Brooklyn Academy of Music.1995

2.Punch Drunk's Sleep No More, NYC 2011

3.Julie Taymor's Green Bird at the New Victory, 1996

4.Mabou Mines Peter and Wendy at the New Victory, 1996

5.Francesca Zambello's West Side Story at Bregenz Opera Festival,2004

6.Theatre Complicite's The Chairs, Broadway, NYC, 1998

7.Robert Lepage's Elsinor at Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1997

8.Pina Bauch's Bamboo Blues at Brooklyn Academy of Music,2008

9.Josef Svoboda/Lanterna Magika's Graffitti, Prague, 2011

10.Theatre Complicite's A Dog's Heart, English National Theatre, 2010

11.Lady Macbeth at Mtsensk at Metropolitan Opera, 1999

12.La Boheme, Operhaus Zurich, Erich Wonder, Scenographer, 2007

13. Kiki and Herb, Have Another, at FEZ, NYC, 1997

My thirteen most inspiring/influential performances - tough choices made


  1. Antigone – The Living Theatre/1967/81
  2. Hamletsmachine  - Robert Wilson/NYU 1986
  3. Sleepers Guts/William Forsythe/Frankfurt Ballet/1997
  4. Swan Lake/Raimund Hoghe
  5. Quarry/Meredith Monk – 2003, Spoleto Festival
  6. Bent – Michael Scott, Project, Dublin/1981
  7. The Green Table/Kurt Joos – Tanz Forum Kōln, 1972
  8. Riders to the Sea/ Abbey Theatre/Frank Dermody/1966
  9. Ocean/Merce Cunningham/Belfast/1997
  10. L’Indiade ou l’Inde de leurs rêves/Ariane Mnouchkine/1988
  11. Hamlet-Playing the Dane/Pan Pan, 2010

12. Café Amerique/Richard Foreman, Paris/1981

13. Distanzlos- Thomas Lehmen/2000


Hard to narrow it down – narrowly leaving out Trisha Brown’s solo ‘It’s a Draw/2002, Heiner Muller’s Der Lohndrucker/1989, Arturo Ui/1995, The Monkey King/ Beijing Opera/ 1986, Trilogie des Dragons/Robert Lepage, 1989, Wooster Group, Needcompany, anything by Justin Bond – but thinking about all these wonderful things re ignites the inspiration , The dates are when I saw the works , not necessarily when they were created


My top 13 contemporary dance perfomances as they come in mind :

1. 'Pitie', 2009, Sadlers' wells, Les ballets C de la B(Alain Platell, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)/London.

2. 'Political mother', 2011, Sadlers' wells, Hoffech Shehter/London.

3. 'Songs', around 1998, Petra theater, Dimitris Papaioannou/Greece.

4. Richard Alston dance company, 2010, Sadlers' wells/London.

5. Shiobban Davis dance company, 2008, Southbank, Elizabeth hall/London.

6. Stefani Tsakona, 'about our soul', around 2000, Greece.

7. Bill T. Jones, Columbia University, 2003, Chicago.

8. 'Dafnis and Cloe', around 1994, Konstantinos Rigos.Theater of the art/Greece.

9. Merce Cunningham dance company, 2003, Chicago.

10. 'Anamorfotis', 1983, Harris Mantafounis, Greece.

11. Liz Aggis, The Place, 2009, London.

12. Meg Stuart, 'Damaged goods', Chicago, 2003.

13. Vera Monteiro, 1997, Southbank-Purcell room, London.


I'm going to list just 5 instead of 13:)
Hey, girl! - Romeo castelluci
Sound of Silence - Alvis Hermanis
Hamlet by Wooster Group
Hamlet by Thomas Ostermeier
The thrill of it all by Forced Entertainment
Still think about it..

I'm sure I've forgotten some really crucial ones (and I'm lousy with dates - remember, time is a construct), but here are the biggies that come to mind at the moment, no particular order:


Ariane Mnouchkine's Les Atrides (80's, Brooklyn Armory)

Peter Sellars' production of The Count of Monte Cristo (80's, Kennedy Center, DC)

Krysztof Warlikowski's production of Sarah Kane's Cleansed (2002?, Warsaw)

Théatre de Complicité's Mnemonic (90's, Salzburg)

Meredith Monk's Impermanence (a couple of years ago at BAM, NYC)

Janos Szasz's production of Mother Courage, (90's, Budapest)

Quentin Crisp (80's, Company One, Hartford)

Wooster Group's Frank Dell's The Temptation of St. Anthony (80's, Performing Garage, NYC)

Fred Curchack's The Inquest of Freddy Chicken (80's, Theatre Project, Baltimore) 

Pina Bausch's The Window Washer (90's, BAM, NYC)

Wilson/Glass/Child's Einstein on the Beach (80's BAM, NYC)

Liz Diamond's production of Suzan Lori Parks' Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (80's, BACA Downtown, NYC)

Yury Lyubimov's Crime and Punishment (80's, Arena Stage, DC)


And that leaves out so many amazing artists: Laurie Anderson, Bolek Polivka, Tom Waits, Mikel Rouse, Pina Bausch, Ethyl Eichelberger, Bread and Puppet, Richard Foreman, Punchdrunk, Theodora Skipitares, Mac Wellman... of course now I'm thinking of so many more, but I'll stop at the requested 13...

My (Sarah H. Paulson) top 13 are as follows, in no particular order:


1.  William Forsythe’s “You Made Me a Monster,” Barysnikov Arts Center, NY (2007)

2.  Ann Liv Young’s “The Bagwell in Me,” The Kitchen, NY (2008)

3.  Peter Dobill’s  “Soleil,” JAJO Art Gallery, Newark, NJ (2008)

4.  Jodi Melnick’s “Fanfare,” The Kitchen, NY (2009)

5.  Leah Aron + Tymon Mattoszko’s performance during Maximum Perception Performance Festival, English Kills Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2009)

6.  Justine Lynch’s “Middle of Man Ghost Market,” Judson Church, NY (2008)

7.  Jan Fabre’s “The Orgy of Tolerance,” Montclair State University, NJ (2009)

8.  The Swans at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, NY (2010)

9.  Robert Wilson’s “The Days Before: Death, Destruction and Detroit III,” Lincoln Center, NY (1999) 

10.  Sarah Michelson’s “Dover Beach,” The Kitchen, NY (2009)

11.  Jan Lauwers and Needcompany’s “Isabella’s Room,” Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY (2004) 

12.  Marina Abramovic’s “Seven Easy Pieces,” Guggenheim, NY (2005) 

13.  Luciana Achugar’s “The Sublime is Us,” Dance Theater Workshop, NY (2008)

This surely is a challenging task, looking forward to thinkin it through.

Have been looking for exhilarating and inspiring, touching performances since I started to study theatre at Rose Bruford autumn 2000. For few years I enden up thinkin that perhaps I will never come to contact with performance which I can totally fall in love with, so I already almost gave up on that. Then...

1. In St. Petersburg, when I was visiting the city with a performance of mine, I enden up to meet one theatre company (AKHE) and went to their opening, they had received a new theatre space

BEST PERFORMANCE SO FAR: It was a joint collaboration between AKHE-Engineering Theatre Company (Russia) & Clipa Theatre (Israel). It was completely improvised performance of these AKHE's imaginative performance artists and beautifully skilled performers Dima and Idith from Clipa Theatre.

Finally found it! Was so pleased and smiling all through out the performance!


2. This is propably THE BEST EVER BUTOH performance I have seen. Unfortunately impossible to perform by a human being.

An installation or a collage of objects by Jouko Korkeasaari (a doll with not much hair sitting in a corner with smaller dolls beside here on the floor). This intallation was a great inspiration on our latest piece 'The girl in the bathtub' which we later performed at the same space a year after.



3. Butoh artist Ken Mai and his former wife dancer Pauliina Tyni (at that time Satzuki), I cannot remember the name of the performance but it was extremely beautifull, especially the start and the middleparts. The end was not good, like often we artists end up putting too many things in and do not trust 'the less is more' which we are often told by many masters including our intuition.


4. AKHE - performace at the Jyväskylä Summer festival around 2005. I think it was called The White Capin. Beautifull imaginery and collages of images on stage.


5. Martin Querre - in The Palace theatre Machester, where I use to work as an usher in order to finance my studies. I fell in love with the music in that musical. Was not extremely artistic performance but I surely did cry a lot and felt great passion towards this piece.


6. Clipa Theatres festival lounced a performance space fo all the festival attendants (performers) to do a joing improvised piece at Tel Aviv city stage on the streets, there I saw Kudo Taketeru - one of the most amazing butoh performers I have seen ever performing among the other artists.


7. Rose Bruford School of Speech and Drama our ETA european performing arts students (my class mates) did their piece which was based on Tadeuz Kantors work - I cannot remember the name of the performance but it was really good. I remember Lorraine Sutherland and Victoria MaCarte was amazing on that as well as many other people who were in it. They used found objects and window frames in a beautifull way.


8. A band from Finland performing in Tavastias smaller stage with a deput or a memorial on  this rock/folk artist or singer, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten.

Jaire Pätäri is a mystical and energizing performer. (performed in Helsinki Tavastia)


9. Ken Mai's performance at Masque and Feather Theatre in Helsinki Finland.


10. Oulu City Theatre and the Exit Arts (London) did a collaborative piece in Oulu (Finland), this was last year 2011. Forgot the name unfortunately. A great piece of work. So happy to see this kind of work done here in Finland.


11. Queensryche giving their depyt in Manchester stage, what a charming musician he was! And what a smile. Do not like so much their music but his charm won over me.


11. AKHE Theatre's piece in Tel Aviv Clipas festival in summer 2008, cannot remember the name unfortunately


12. ARTUS's performance Orpheus (i think) in Hungary in 2003


13. Iva Bittovas concert in London on 2003


That was it - great going back to years and thinking them through . Thanks for the tip!


Liana Potila




not ordered (and 13 is hard!):


meg stuart, 'blessed' - theatre de la bastille, paris 2007

ralph lemon, 'how can you stay in the house...' - redcat, los angeles 2011

xavier le roy, 'low pieces' - hau3, berlin 2011

daft punk, 'alive tour' - red rocks, colorado 2007

jerome bel, 'the show must go on' - sadler's wells, london 2009

la ribot, 'laughing hole' - pompidou museum, paris 2009

'chicago' (musical) w/ bebe neuwirth - ambassador theater, new york 1999

robert lepage, 'the dragon's trilogy' - barbican, london 2005

goat island, 'the lastmaker' - tramway, glasgow 2008

miguel gutierrez, 'retrospective exhibitionist' - la menagerie de verre, paris 2009

nature theater of oklahoma, 'no dice' - theatre de gennevilliers, paris 2010

needcompany, 'isabella's room' - bam, new york 2003

ivo van hove (toneelhaus), 'cries and whispers' - mac creteil, paris 2008

That list is probbably more that top 13, list of first 13 with strong imprsion on me that I remembered at the moment. (List is made by Urska Comino)

Impressing the Czar, directed by William Foresythe and perfromed by the Royal Ballet of Flanders

Dreams of Exile, directed by Kama Ginkas, performed by Moscow New Generation Theatre

The History of Ronald, clown of McDonald’s; directed by Rodrigo Garcia and performed by La Carniceria Teatro

Oedipus in Exile, directed by Shahika Tekand, performed by Studio Oyunculari

Rattled and Disappeared, directed by Victor Bodo, performed by Katona József Teater

BLACKland; directed by Arpad Schilling, performed by Kretakor Theatre

Uncle Vanja, directed by Jürgen Gosch, performed by Deutches Theater

Pantagruel Sister-In-Law; directed by Silviu Purcărete

Hamlet and Babel both directed by Nicolas Stemann

Concerto; performed by Ivo Dimcev

Stair Falling, performed by Kira O'reilly

Body Remix by Chouinard Companie

We are all Marlene Dietrich FOR; directed by Erna Ómarsdóttir and Janez Janša

and many many artists and groups as Antonia Baehr, Nicole Beutler, Needcompany, Romeo Castelluci, Tim Etchells, Jan Fabre, La La La Human Steps, Robert Wilson, Via Negativa, She She Pop, The Tiger Lillies, Alivs Hermanis, Oreet Ashery, Andriy Zholdak, Emio Greco, Nacho Duato, Akram Khan, Diego de Brea, Ivica Buljan, Vito Taufer, Dragan Živadinov ... there is not enough space to list them all ;)


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