The Lee Ellroy Show

A visceral and wild trip in James Ellroy's dark and fascinating universe

The Lee Ellroy Show is the new duet by choreographer Hans Van den Broeck. A compelling source of inspiration is the autobiographical novel My Dark Places by James Ellroy. The American crime fiction writer was haunted by the loss of his mother and the unsolved circumstances in which she was murdered. He goes on a journey of wild and abundant excess and struggles to preserve his sanity.

The story is set in the 50’s. Divorced and lonely, James Ellroy’s mother moves to El Monte, part of the endless sprawl of greater Los Angeles. The new suburbia, isolated and eerie. A sordid boiling hot place risen from the dessert, a nowhere, where she was prone to meet other lost souls and eventually did. On a ‘cheap’ saturday night she met her killer, the ‘swarthy man’, a murderer who was never found. She had a night out on her own, a few drinks, a talk, a dance and was discovered in the early morning hours in the bushes of a small dirt-road. An existence halted in the grass, a life that never blossomed.  This sudden, traumatic disappearance condemnslac-des-signes-021 James Ellroy to a life-long search for the mother he never really knew, a loving mother.  He embarks on a disturbing journey; from a big mouthed young bully, to a shoplifting teenager, a voyeur and finally nearly losing his mind as a homeless young adolescent. About to tip over the cliff, he devotes himself to writing. It will be his salvation and a sublimation of the trauma, a life-long battle with the omen living inside him.

‘The Lee Ellroy Show’ is a visceral and wild trip in this dark and fascinating universe. Hans Van den Broeck takes the powerful text by Ellroy as a starting point and uncovers the obsession rooted in the work. He takes us on a choreographic trip which combines haunting moments of pure dance with intense theatrical scenes. He brings the cruel disappearance of Ellroy’s mother to the stage, creating a poetical universe in which chaos is ultimately transformed into a eulogy of love.

A cheap Saturday night took you down. You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear. Your run to safety was a brief reprieve. You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm. I failed you as a talisman - so I stand now as your witness.
Your death defines my life. I want to find the love we never head and explicate it in your name.
I want to take our secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us. I want to give you breath.
James Ellroy – ‘My Dark Places’
Hans Van den Broeck