Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a multidisciplinary performance set to new music by Haitian-American singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla. The project explores the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. The title is derived from a proverb used by Dominique to describe the spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of violence and political oppression.
Directed by Kiyoko McCrae, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever combines storytelling, dance, video projection, and audio recordings from the Radio Haiti Archive housed at Duke University and is anchored by McCalla’s original compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs. We see Haiti through Leyla’s eyes as she grapples with the harsh political realities of its people and the journalists, like Dominique, who fought to uplift their voices.
Duke Performances, where the work premiered in March 2020, served as lead commissioner of Breaking the Thermometer to HIde the Fever. The CAC has hosted a series of production residencies for the project between 2018 – 2020.
Caribbean Wake: Contemporary Art from a Diasporic Perspective
November 19, 2021 at 6 PM
Join the creators of “Breaking the Thermometer” in conversation with Haitian and Caribbean curators and artists as
they discuss their work through the lens of diasporic culture.