Refuse the Hour

Multimedia Lecture

Refuse the Hour is the chamber opera companion to William Kentridge’s five-channel video installation The Refusal of Time. Created with physicist Peter Galison, the installation is a meditation on different historical conceptions of time and the complex legacies of colonialism and industry.

Entirely original in its conception and presentation, Refuse the Hour interweaves an astonishing range of visual and sound languages, setting dance, live music, projections, drama, and dynamic scenic design against one another on stage. As Kentridge himself delivers a fragmented lecture, these elements swirl around him: dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo enters into a taught physical interaction with the artist and set; singers and musicians perform composer Philip Miller’s riveting score; an array of strange musical machines clatter intermittently into life; and Catherine Meyburgh’s video design animates the proceedings.

In the midst of this Dadaistic dream landscape, Kentridge acts as a contemporary storyteller, recounting a tale that begins with the myth of Perseus and ends with Einstein’s visionary findings. The result is a journey to the fringes of science, theatre and art, a synthesis both playful and profound that could only have sprung from the mind of this singular artist.

Duration : 80 mins


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  • 2016-02-12 00:00:00 2016-02-14 00:00:00 - Perth Concert Hall, Perth Festival, Perth - Australia
  • 2015-11-06 00:00:00 2015-11-07 00:00:00 - Yale University Theatre, Yale - USA
  • 2015-10-22 00:00:00 2015-10-25 00:00:00 - BAM Next Wave Festival 2015, Harvey Theatre, New York - USA
  • 2015-02-26 00:00:00 2015-02-28 00:00:00 - Design Indaba, Cape Town - South Africa
  • 2014-02-01 00:00:00 2014-02-02 00:00:00 - DeutschesSchauSpielHaus, Hamburg - Germany
  • 2013-08-01 00:00:00 2013-08-04 00:00:00 - Impulztanz Festival, Volkstheater, Vienna - Austria
  • 2013-07-23 00:00:00 2013-07-27 00:00:00 - Paris Quartier d’été, Théâtre Ephémère – Comédie Française, Paris - France
  • 2012-11-22 00:00:00 2012-11-25 00:00:00 - Onassis Cultural Center, Athens - Greece
  • 2012-11-15 00:00:00 2012-11-18 00:00:00 - Roma Europa Festival, Argentina Theater, Rome - Italy
  • 2012-07-07 00:00:00 2012-07-13 00:00:00 - Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre Municipal, Avignon - France
  • 2012-06-18 00:00:00 2012-06-19 00:00:00 - Holland Festival, Frascati Theater, Amsterdam - The Netherlands


Conception and libretto : William Kentridge
Music and co- orchestration : Philip Miller
Choreography : Dada Masilo
Video construction : William Kentridge and Catherine Meyburgh
Dramaturgy : Peter Galison
Stage design : Sabine Theunissen
Movement direction : Luc de Wit
Costume design : Greta Goiris
Machine design : Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier, Jonas Lundquist
Lighting design : Urs schoenebaum
Lighting designer’s assistant : John Torres
Sound design : Gavan Eckhart
Video orchestration : Kim Gunning
Performers : William Kentridge, Dada Masilo (dancer), Ann Masina (vocalist), Joanna Dudley (vocalist), Thato Motlhaolwa (actor), Adam Howard (musical conductor, co-orchestration, trumpet and flugel horn), Tlale Makhene (percussion), Waldo Alexander (violin), Dan Selsick (trombone), Vincenzo Pasquariello (pianist), Thobeka Thukane (tuba)

Co-production : Holland Festival, Festival d’Avignon, RomaEuropa Festival and Teatro di Roma, Onassis Cultural Center. With kind support from Marian Goodman Gallery (New York and Paris), Lia rumma Gallery (Naples and Milan), the Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town).