Milo Rau has been chosen for the 2017 Saarbrücken Poetry Lectureship for Drama (Saarbrücker Poetikdozentur für Dramatik). According to the jury’s statement: “In his works, Rau unrelentingly probes the global interior of capital, his nightmares and hopes, his netherworlds and alternative worlds. In Rau, the Saarbrücken Poetry Lectureship for Drama honours one of the most uncompromising thinkers in contemporary theatre, and one of the most important guides for a theatre that seeks, both intellectually and aesthetically, to face the crises of the present and participate in the formulation of answers.” (Complete statement and all dates here.)
Europe’s only poetry lectureship dedicated exclusively to drama has been held annually since winter semester 2011/12 by Saarland University, the first university in the German-speaking world to host a lecture series of this kind. Milo Rau becomes the sixth recipient of the prestigious lectureship, following Rimini Protokoll, Roland Schimmelpfennig, Kathrin Röggla, Albert Ostermaier, and Falk Richter. To accompany the lectureship, Saarland University is offering a seminar on the multifaceted oeuvre of Milo Rau and his IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder, which encompasses over 50 books, films, plays, exhibitions, and actions.
For 2017, Rau and IIPM are working with various partners on a series of stage productions under the title “Histoire du Théâtre” (“History of Theatre”), in which they will pursue their underlying aesthetic coordinates. “Histoire du Théâtre” and the Saarbrücken Poetry Lectureship will complete a several-year-long reflection on the instrumentarium of empathy and enactment used in the performing arts. This began with “Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun” (2015) and “Five Easy Pieces” (2016), and will continue at the Schauspielhaus Zürich with “The 120 Days of Sodom” (to premiere February 2017). In 2018, Rau’s Saarbrücken lectures will be published in a book also bearing the title “Histoire du Théâtre”.
The double monologue “Compassion”, with Ursina Lardi and Consolate Sipérius in the leading roles, is touring, among other countries, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, and Italy, and will soon be staged again in France. When it premiered at Berlin’s Schaubühne theatre in January, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung likened it to the “birth of the meta-theatre out of the mind of cynicism.” The broadcast premiere of the accompanying radio play will be aired by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) on 27 and 28 November 2016 (edited by Isabel Platthaus). “The Europe Trilogy”, which concluded in September with “Empire”, is appearing in other mediums as well. This monumental “portrait of Europe with the intimacy of a chamber play and the force of an ancient tragedy” (ORF) has been on tour since 2014 and has already been released in book form. A film version is now in production (director of filming: Mirjam Knapp) and is to make its full-length debut in spring 2017 at the Theater Freiburg.
Europe’s most-discussed piece of the current season is probably the German-Belgian-Swiss IIPM/Campo production “Five Easy Pieces”. After touring nine countries, it was permitted to be shown at the Münchner Kammerspiele only in a censored version, and its scheduled November staging at the Mousonturm in Frankfurt was prohibited outright. At the Kaserne Basel on 2 and 3 December, it can be seen for the first time again in the German-speaking countries in the version of its Berlin premiere. Belgian television (RTBF) describes the multiple-award-winning piece as “truly great theatre – human, sensitive, intelligent, and political,” and “a play to which none of the known standards apply.” In the 2016/17 season, “Five Easy Pieces” will be staged in Valenciennes, Zurich, Ghent, Amsterdam, Lausanne, Paris, Barcelona, and many other cities.