Many critics consider Milo Rau to be one of today’s most controversial and necessary voices.
A playwright, director and filmmaker, in 2007 Milo Rau founded the theatre and film production company, the International Institute of Political Murder (IIMP). Since then, his works have conquered the world’s most important stages and have been presented at such festivals as the Festival d'Avignon and the Berliner Theatertreffen.
Rau’s political theatre is characterised by the way it analyses the reality of the world on stage. By the way he interweaves human truth with stage truth. By how he reconstructs true stories while breaking the taboos of our time without mercy.
His creations present, with sincerity and courage, topics that have shaken news bulletins around the world such as the gestation of the Rwandan genocide, the Pussy Riot trial, the story of the greatest child killer in the history of Belgium and on this occasion, the huge refugee crisis in Europe.
What do we mean by a refuge? And by a home? How can grief, loss, and new beginnings be tackled on stage? For years, Milo Rau has studied the myths and realities of Europe and, by way of a conclusion to his European Trilogy, Empire presents biographical close-ups of people who have come to Europe as refugees or who live on its peripheries.
In Empire, actors from Greece, Syria and Romania speak of artistic and real tragedy, of torture, flight, grief, of death and rebirth. What happens to those people who have lost all their belongings or their homeland because of the crisis or war? Two actors representing ancient and traditional Europe share the stage with two Syrian actors who have recently fled to France and Germany. Back in the 1970s, the Greek Akillas Karazissis discovered the hippie world, the Lonely Hearts' Club parties and the theatre in Heidelberg. Later, in Epidauro's classic Greek plays, he played great warriors and tragic heroes. Maia Morgenstern came to the fore in Angelopoulos’ films and she played Mary, mother of God, in Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ; she is now Director of the Jewish Theatre Bucharest. Actor Rami Khalaf fled to Paris with a forged Romanian passport and worked there on a Syrian radio station while combing through thousands of photos of murdered victims of the Syrian regime in search of his missing brother. The Kurd Ramo Ali spent several months in Assad's prisons, where interrogations involved torture and psychoanalytical techniques. In Germany, he began to tell his escape stories on stage. The four biographies, intimate and yet narrated on an epic scale, create a portrait of a continent whose past has been fractured so many times and whose future is uncertain. The German public radio station Deutsche Welle described the first part of Milo Rau's European trilogy as “a radical portrait of a society, a picture of Europe”. And this third and final part has been described by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung “the theatre of Euripides brought up to date”. With Empire, Rau continues his analysis of the cultural roots, the political present and the future of Europe, a continent caught between ancient myths and an imperial present.
Concept, text and direction: Milo Rau
Text and interpretation: Ramo Ali, Akillas Karazissis, Rami Khalaf and Maia Morgenstern
Dramaturgy and research: Stefan Bläske, Mirjam Knapp
Scenography and costumes: Anton Lukas
Video: Marc Stephan
Music: Eleni Karaindrou
Sound design: Jens Baudisch
Technician: Aymrik Pech
Assistant director: Anna Königshofer
Scenography and costumes assistant: Sarah Hoemske
Direction internship: Laura Locher
Dramaturgy internship: Marie Roth, Riccardo Raschi
Subtitles: Mirjam Knapp (Operadora), IIPM (Traducción)
On tour: STETTING
Lighting: Aymrik Pech, Jurgen Kolb
Video and sound: Jens Baudisch, Sebastian König
Subtitles: Raman Khalaf
Production direction: Mascha Euchner-Martinez, Eva-Karen Tittmann
Production: IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder
In collaboration with: Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz Berlin and steirischer herbst festival Graz
Sponsored by: The Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs, Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin, Pro Helvetia and Migros-Kulturprozent
Kindly supported by: R Kulturförderung Kanton St.Gallen and Schauspielhaus Graz
Language: Arabic, Greek, Kurdish and Romanian with Spanish subtitles