Julie on her back in a pile of leaves, with a white sheet tangled over her

The phrase “memento mori” is Latin for “Remember you must die,” and throughout time has been the cornerstone of art and philosophy on the inevitability of death.

This Memento Mori, developed in the midst of a global pandemic and at a moment of suspension for most forms of live art, is about preparing for death, a meditation meant to remind and inspire. At a moment when social divisions are apparent, one universally binding experience remains: we all will die. Symbolic deaths ripple through communities, for example, the death of a neighborhood or skyline, reincarnated as something unrecognizable. Or the death of ideologies or ways of being that no longer serve the greater good, buried so that other possibilities may grow. The very real threat of actual death as our country rolls into the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by an as-of-yet-uncontained virus.

Memento Mori is a storefront installation, activated by performance, at the Savoy (2700 Arapahoe Street), located in the Curtis Park neighborhood, running from July 16th through 25th, 2020. All performances begin around 8:30PM.

Based on Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ classic model of the five stages of grief, Denver creator Julie Rada moves through the space in a solo performance enacting the denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance that comes with recognizing that one’s life is terminal. At this existential, historical moment, this performance is offered in the hopes that we all move onto the sixth stage in Kübler-Ross’ model: finding meaning.


Memento Mori is supported by a residency made possible by Theatre Artibus.