Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun



Last summer, the fate of refugees has overwhelmed the whole of Europe and countless intellectuals and politicians declared their solidarity with the suffering of people from the Middle East and Africa. Images of the drowned on Mediterranean beaches or victims of civil war and disease in Central Africa: the crises and disasters of our time are ubiquitous in our Facebook timelines, on television and in the press. 


In »Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun«, Rau and his team journey to the political hot spots of our time: the Mediterranean routes of refugees from the Middle East and the Congolese civil war zones. The semi-documentary double-monologue, based on interviews with NGO workers, clerics and war victims in Africa and Europe, deliberately ventures into contradictory terrain: how do we endure the misery of others and why do we watch it? Why does one dead person at the gates of Europe outweigh thousand dead people in the Congolese civil war zones? »Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun« not only contemplates the limits of our compassion but also on the limits of European humanism.


In cooperation with the European Theatre Network PROSPERO (Schaubühne Berlin, Théâtre National de Bretagne/Rennes, Théâtre de Liège, Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Göteborgs Stadstheater, Croatian National Theatre/World Theatre Festival Zagreb, Athens & Epidaurus Festival)


Direction and Text: Milo Rau 

Cooperation Text:  Ursina Lardi, Consolate Sipérius

With: Ursina Lardi, Consolate Sipérius

Set and Costume Design: Anton Lukas 

Video and Sound: Marc Stephan 

Dramaturgy: Florian Borchmeyer 

Research/Dramaturgy Collaboration: Mirjam Knapp, Stefan Bläske 

Lighting Design: Erich Schneider