Ghent Altar, Jesus-Film, Oresteia & Breivik in Beirut: View of the 2018/19 season



“Warmth, dignity and cosmic wisdom”: NTGent starts 1st season with “The Ghent Altarpiece”

“artistically powerful, politically shrewd”, was how the English GUARDIAN described the opening production of “The Ghent Altarpiece” by Milo Rau in Ghent. And indeed: the modern mystery play, in which more than 100 Ghent citizens took part in transforming the late medieval altar into the 21st century, delighted audiences and international press alike.
De Standaard saw an “instant classic”, Le Soir a “play that will enter in anthologies”, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Tages-Anzeiger attended a “theatrical masterpiece” and were touched by the “warmth, dignity and almost cosmic wisdom” of the evening. Deutschlandfunk saw a work that was as “cautious” as it was “megalomaniac”, and the French blogger Ronan even had sleepless nights: “I have never experienced anything comparable in theatre, never.” Finally, DIE ZEIT concluded about Milo Rau’s opening evening: “He did well. Gent may feel recognized.”


“Ways to Global Realism”: Lectures and Books

Whether the “City Theatre of the Future” proclaimed by Rau and his team at NTGent really is the “giant leap” that GUARDIAN hopes for will be revealed in the following Ghent productions by, among others, Luk Perceval, Monstertruck, Ersan Mondtag, Faustin Linyekula or Lies Pauwels – and in Raus “Oresteia”, for which he and his team will travel to Mosul for the first time in mid-November. Rau will continue his theory of a committed, global and at the same time locally rooted art next week in Paris at the EASTAP – European Association for the study of theatre and performance as “Artiste Associé” as well as at the HANNAH ARENDT TAGEN with the opening lecture “The Art of Resistance”. In addition, Rau’s artistic practice and theory of global realism will be discussed in detail in the volume “The Historical Feeling. Ways to Global Realism”: The book is based on the lectures Rau gave at the “Saarbrücker Poetikdozentur für Dramatik”.


“Oresteia” and “The New Gospel”: Aeschylos Play in Mosul and Jesus Movie in Matera

“Is Milo Rau really the most controversial director in theatre?” asked the New York Times on the occasion of the opening of the Ghent season in an essay on the “Arsonist from Ghent” (NZZ). The “Ghent Altar” had already appeared to many critics almost too cautiously or even “piously” (Der Spiegel), in the coming season Rau now takes on two further classics of the tradition: The “Oresteia” and the Bible. While the Ghent model stagings “The Repetition” and “Compassion 2”, often sharply criticized for their direct and cynical depiction of violence, travel the world, Rau and his team are already working on a film adaptation of the Gospel in the southern Italian city of Matera (AT “The New Gospel”), made famous by Pasolini and Mel Gibson Jesus films, and a reworking of the oldest tragedy trilogy of the humanity, Aeschylos’ “Oresteia”, for which Rau will travel to Mosul in November.


“Breivik” in Beirut: controversial Rau performance travels to Lebanon

As with the “Ghent Altarpiece”, Rau wants to pursue one of the basic questions of the “Ghent Manifesto” by studying the Bible and Greek tragedy: How is it possible not only to adapt classical works of European intellectual history, but also to rewrite them for today – in a globalized world? But first, the reworking of an older performance by Milo Rau comes onto a surprising stage: the lecture performance “Breivik’s Declaration” (2012) travels to Lebanon. The staging is flanked by films by Rau, a Masterclass, and other events.


The European Balcony Project: We proclaim the European Rebublic!

“The Europe of Nation states has failed. The European Republic is founded upon the principle of universal political equality irrespective of nationality and social or ethnic background.”
(Excerpt from the Manifesto of the Declaration of the European Republic by Robert Menasse, Ulrike Guérot and Milo Rau)

10 November 2018 is the day on which the “European Balcony Project” will proclaim the European Republic in over 100 public squares, theatres and balconies throughout Europe. At NTGent, the manifesto reading, supported by Elfriede Jelinek, Etienne Balibar, David Van Reybrouck and Srecko Horvat among others, will be embedded in the “Art of Organizing Hope” congress (organized together with Victoria Deluxe and Vooruit), where activists from all over Europe will discuss post-national and post-capitalist strategies: Democracy for everybody and everything!