Harrison Atelier

Pharmacophore 02


Pharmacophore 02


A dance/design collaboration between Harrison Atelier and choreographer Catherine Miller, Pharmacophore 2 explores Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, a novel driven by its protagonist’s search for a cure for her ennui. Emma Bovary places herself readily into the thrall of any object or idea, hoping to transcend what she terms her chronic “insufficiency.” In thinking about Madame Bovary as a narrative scaffold for Pharmacophore 2, understanding the critical role in the novel of the character Homais, who is a pharmacist, we were struck by the structural resemblance, perhaps even the identity between Emma’s search for, and at times temporary achievement of, a cure for her malaise and the contemporary understanding of the placebo effect, whereby the desire that a drug will work temporarily triggers the release of neurotransmitters mimicking the sense of well-being. The dramaturgy of Pharmacophore 2 recapitulates the stages of Emma’s desire for placebos, her cycle of anticipation, release, despair. The choreography and set design elements reiterate the centralizing idea of the piece: placebo (culture) and pharmacophore (science) co-exist, at times reinforcing, at times conflicting. The piece was developed during a summer residency at the Orpheum Theater, Tannersville. 


  • Seth Harrison, Ariane Lourie Harrison
  • Choreography by Catherine Miller performed by Reid Bartelme, Jenna Fakhoury, Catherine Miller, and Lonnie Poupard, Jr.
  • Sound Design and Composition by Loren Dempster
  • Musical Adviser and piano by Leon Livshin.