The Civil Wars



What’s is going on with Europe? What are these times in which we’re living? With “The Civil Wars” Milo Rau stages a four-voice lecture-performance about the premises of insurrection and political engagement. Following the twists and turns of their own biographies, four actors – Karim Bel Kacem, Sara De Bosschere, Sébastien Foucault, and Johan Leysen – question the human condition in Europe at the start of the 21st century.


On stage is a living room. In it are four persons, above it are their faces and, on a screen, an oversized projection of the interior. Based on the story of a young Belgian who travelled to Syria to fight for the formation of a caliphate, they recall their own youth and tell of their fathers and how they managed to get away from them. They are telling stories of their youth, of their fathers, and how they managed to break away from them. They are telling stories of insanity, faith, and political conviction and they ask: What is left of it? What keeps society together in an era of radicalism, with the threat of climate wars and a general decline in values? How does a period of cultural upheaval translate into people’s private lives? And is theatre today still as suitable a political medium of reflec- tion as it was back then? The intimate stories of the four perform- ers on stage reflect politics, and in them, a European picture un- folds – a living tableau of our time.


The international press reviews came to the same conclusion: Milo Rau has created a masterpiece. “Milo Rau digs for the innermost in a person and scrapes it out. This is the way he reflects the world in detail.” (Barbara Villiger-Heilig, NZZ). “The Civil Wars” is also Milo Rau’s most personal piece so far. ‘Of all the huge topics that have worried us the last few years – the Breiviks and holy warriors and right-wing populists whom we’ve bidden on stage and in front of the camera – it’s the “little things”, the private stories that have remained,’ Rau comments about the piece.




TEXTE AND PERFORMANCE: Karim Bel Kacem, Sara De Bosschere, Sébastien Foucault, Johan Leysen

RESEARCH & DRAMATURGY: Eva-Maria Bertschy SCENOGRAPHY & COSTUMES: Anton Lukas VIDEO: Marc Stephan SOUNDDESIGN: Jens Baudisch LIGHTING DESIGNER: Abdeltife Mouhssin, Bruno Gilbert MUSICAL ADVICE: Colette Broeckert, Eurudike De Beul DIRECTION ASSISTANT: Mirjam Knapp RESEARCH ASSISTANT: Aurélie Di Marino SCENOGRAPHIC AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANT: Bruno Gilbert, Aymrik Pech PRODUCTION MANAGER: Mascha Euchner-Martinez, Eva-Karen Tittmann PUBLIC RELATIONS: Yven Augustin CORPORATE DESIGN: Nina Wolters WEB-MASTERING: Jonas Weissbrodt


Production IIPM. Co-production Kunstenfestivaldesarts in collaboration with Beursschouwburg (Brussels), Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Kaserne Basel, Schlachthaus Theater Bern, La Bâtie – Festival de Genève, Schaubühne am Lehnin- er Platz Berlin, Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers Paris


Supported by Stadt Zürich Kultur, Pro Helvetia, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Migros Kulturprozent,, Kanton St.Gallen Kulturförderung / Swisslos, Paul Schiller Stiftung, GGG Basel, Goethe-Institut Brüssel und Pianofabriek Brüssel.


Special thanks to Radouane Attiya, Dyab Abou Jahjah, Saliha Ben Ali, Bilal Be- nyaich, Dimitri Bontinck, Sébastien Courtoy, Christophe Marchand, Richard Millet, Anne Morelli, Kurt Pelda, Véronique Loute, Roland Van Der Hoeven, Cécile Vander- pelen, Jan Van Goethem, Françoise Wallemacq, Catherine Wilkin, Els Witte, Hosni Zahri.