Dominique Houcmant-Goldo


Leila's Death

Nov. 11
7:30 p.m.

A Lebanese woman ululates and undulates, accompanied by a trio of men, musicians who also dance and interact with her. One of the men is Ali Chahrour, a Lebanese theater artist/choreographer who explores the practice of Islamic Shiite religious ritual through dance and the body. The woman is Leila, a professional mourner paid to sing at funerals in southern Lebanon. She’s a solid, iconic presence, seemingly sculpted from the grief she’s transcribing through Ataaba, a traditional Arabic musical form. Co-sponsored by Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theater, Leila’s Death honors a fading cultural heritage through a visceral theatrical work that combines sacred rites, contemporary theater, and global dance. The piece is performed in Arabic with English subtitles.