Creative Time presents the U.S. premiere of Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation’s acclaimed video-musical, The Rape of the Sabine Women, with an original score by Jonathan Bepler, as a free public screening for one week during the Armory Show, February 22- 27, 2007. Developed through improvisation, The Rape of the Sabine Women is a re-interpretation of the Roman myth, updated and set in the idealistic 1960’s. Filmed with a cast of hundreds, and shot on location in Athens and Hydra, Greece, and in Berlin, Germany, this eighty-minute video was directed by Eve Sussman with an original Score by Jonathan Bepler, choreography by Claudie De Serpa Soares, and costumes by Karen Young.

The Rape Of The Sabine Women was conceived as allegory based loosely on the ancient myth that follows Romulus’ founding of Rome and inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s 1799 painting, Intervention of the Sabine Women. Re-envisioning the myth as a 1960’s period piece with the Romans cast as G-men, the Sabines as butchers’ daughters, and the heyday of Rome allegorically implied in an affluent international style summer house, this version is a riff on the original story of abduction and intervention, in which Romulus devises a plan to ensure the future of the empire. While the Roman myth traces the birth of a society, this telling suggests the destruction of a utopia. The intervention of the women is fraught, and the chaos that ensues transforms the designed perfection into nothingness.

With this improvised dramatization, Sussman follows her lauded video 89 seconds at Alcazar—unveiled at the 2004 Whitney Biennial and based on Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas—in bringing yet another iconic painting to life. Forgoing the compromise of the original, this unique re-imagining pits mid-twentieth century ideals against the eternal themes of power, longing, and desire. The modern process piece—a product of 140 hours of video footage and 6000 photographs—features distinct pieces of music composed by Jonathan Bepler, recorded live on site and incorporating a bouzouki ensemble, a Pergamon coughing choir, and a chorus of 800 voices.

The video-musical, choreographed by Claudia de Serpa Soares, is conceived in an operatic five act structure. The Rape of the Sabine Women opens in Hydra’s Pergamon Museum, moving to Berlin’s S-Bahn and Tempelhof Airport, Athens’ Agora meat market, a classic modern 60’s dream house overlooking the Aegean, and finally, Athens’ Herodion Theatre.

Act I
An Old Gaurd
An Idea
Coughing Choir

Act II
A Mirage
A Convention
Men with Taps

An Intolerable Loneliness
A Mission
The Rape
Act IV
Better Homes and Gardens
The Kids
Women Dance
A Triangle

Act V
A Day Out
A Chorus
A Fight
The Intervention of the Sabine Women

The History of The Rape of the Sabine Women
This ancient account of the abduction of the Sabine women comes from the Roman historian Livy who wrote around the turn of the 1st Century during the Augustan Era. A short translation is available as a PDF. Click here.

World Premiere Tour Dates

Greece: Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Nov 19, 2006
Germany: Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart,
Jan 25 - Mar 4, 2007
U.S.: IFC Center, New York City, Feb 21 – 27, 2007
UK: Project Space 176, London, Sep 2007
University of Chicago: The Smart Museum of Art, Jan - May 2008

The NYC premiere is supported by the Richard J. Massey Foundation for Arts and Sciences, Roebling Hall, the Zabludowicz Collection - Project Space 176, and Dreamhire Audio.

A one-minute segment of The Rape of the Sabine Women will air on the last minute of every hour on Creative Time’s 59th Minute: Video Art on the Astrovision Screen by Panasonic from February 21 – April 30, 2007.
Visit The 59th Minute site for more information.