Milo Rau ‘Theatre Director of the Year’/ Preview Autumn 2017


On the heels of Milo Rau’s selection as ‘Theatre Director of the Year’ in a survey by ‘Deutsche Bühne’, a second survey of German-language critics, carried out by ‘Theater heute’, has honoured Rau’s ‘Five Easy Pieces’ as ‘Theatre Production of the Year’. IIPM dramaturg Stefan Bläske additionally won the most critics’ votes in the category ‘Best Dramaturgy’ for ‘Five Easy Pieces’, a joint production between IIPM and CAMPO Gent. The two IIPM productions ‘Empire’ and ‘The 120 Days of Sodom’ were also nominated for ‘Play of the Year’.


When Milo Rau and his team presented their new documentary film ‘The Congo Tribunal’ to the protagonists, local authorities and general population in the eastern Congolese civil war zone this summer, the response was overwhelming. Thousands of Congolese came to attend previews of the film. ‘This film is the last cry of appeal to the Congolese: Rise up! What are you waiting for!’ a viewer said to one of the journalists who travelled to cover the event. For Denis Mukwege, director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, it is a film of ‘inestimable value for our country.’ The journalists Andreas Tobler and Patricia Corniciuc, who accompanied the team in the Congo, delivered impressive travel reports.


On the occasion of the world premiere in the framework of Semaine de la critique at the 70th Locarno Film Festival in early August, the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, ‘The film thrusts the viewer into the middle of the horror.’ WOZ (Die Wochenzeitung) called the film a ‘far-reaching intervention into a reality that is still unfolding,’ and the blog Lost Dramaturgin International exclaimed, ‘See this film! If nothing else see this film, because what it says is so so important.’ Milo Rau explained to Schweizer Radio SRF: ‘The film has made an impossibility possible. The government was indicted, two ministers were forced to resign. The people saw that you can change things!’ The documentary will be launched in November by the distributors RealFiction and Vinca Film in Swiss and German cinemas.


The book on ‘The Congo Tribunal’, which was published by Verbrecher Verlag at the beginning of August (Mirjam Knapp, Rolf Bossart and Eva Bertschy, editors) offers a comprehensive overview of the ‘most megalomaniacal art project of our time’ (Radio France Internationale). The volume comprises the most important testimony, statements of the international jury, speeches, interviews and research reports by Milo Rau, the summations of the judges, as well as the most important analyses and press reports. A further book on the work of Milo Rau and IIPM has already gone to press: ‘Wiederholung und Ekstase’ (Repetition and Frenzy), an extensive collection of manifestos, essays and discussions, to be published by Diaphanes-Verlag in October.


The approach formulated in Rau’s opening address at ‘The Congo Tribunal’ – ‘to side with the disenfranchised, those who have no lobby, to make audible the voice of those who are never heard’ – will be continued in ‘General Assembly’ (Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz). From 3 to 5 November 2017, 60 delegates from around the world, representing all actors who are affected by German policy yet have no political say in it, will convene in Berlin to challenge the newly elected German Parliament. The ‘General Assembly’, the first world parliament in human history, will culminate with the passage of the ‘Charter for the 21st Century’.


Two weeks prior to ‘General Assembly’, on 19 October 2017, Milo Rau’s current theatre production, LENIN, will make its world premiere at the Berliner Schaubühne. In it, Rau and the Schaubühne ensemble around Ursina Lardi (Swiss Theatre Award 2017) look through Lenin’s brain at what is arguably the most consequential revolution in human history: into a society between awakening and apathy, revolutionary longing and reactionary resistance – a labyrinth of hopes and fears, of political ideals and the collective experience of violence.