Confessions of Zeno

Confessions of Zeno explores the worlds of work and of erotic pleasure that sustain the life of the modern European bourgeoisie in the years before the outbreak of World War I. The central character (Zeno), recalls the great moments of indecision and irresolution that have marked his life, and that have set in place his unresolved relationships with his father, and his wife and mistress. Through the gently mocking voice of self-irony, the work is a eulogy to a generation coming to terms with the limits of self-knowledge. The play is a collaboration between artist/director William Kentridge, Handspring Puppet Company, composer Kevin Volans and writer Jane Taylor and it explores visual and aural fields in ways that are radically contemporary while remaining richly evocative of early modernism’s impact upon Victorian consciousness.

Creative Team

Producer: Handspring Puppet Company, Art Bureau (Munich, Germany) and Schauspiel Frankfurt (Germany).
Direction, conception and animation: William Kentridge
Writer: Jane Taylor
Composer: Kevin Volans
Puppet design: William Kentridge with Adrian Kohler
Costumes: Mathilda Engelbrecht
Sound design: Simon Mahoney


Dawid Minnaar, Otto Maidi, Lwazi Ncube, Pumeza Matshikiza, Adrian Kohler, Basil Jones, Fourie Nyamande, Tau Qwelane and Busi Zokufa
String quartet: The Sontonga Quartet


2002 Belgium, Germany, Croatia, South Africa, Spain, Italy, France, Singapore, Canary Islands and Portugal

Upcoming Performances