Milo Rau is one of the most impressive theater directors, essayists and theater authors of our times. His work is always current and often different from what you might expect. Many of his works thematize historical tragedies or controversial problems which are still important for our society. He stages them in unusual contexts such as a radio show as in “Hate Radio” where he uses real conversations of RTLM (Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines) shows of 1994, the most popular propaganda radio show of Rwanda mixed up and combined newly, or as a trial as in “General Assembly”. Next Tuesday (07.11.17, 3 pm) he is going to reenact the “Storming the winter palace” in Berlin where he invites the public to participate in this happening. So why is he so focused on such topics? He works at the interface between theater and politics. And tries to give people a voice who aren’t usually heard like (unborn) children, animals, plants or even cyborgs. That’s also the reason why his actors are often affected ones. His play “120 days of Sodom”, referring to Pasolini’s radical film of 1975, talks about eugenics while he uses professional disabled actors to interpret his story. It is not surprising that his productions often provoke. Some of his works are not allowed to be shown everywhere. But he is never going to mince matters. He is a young Swiss director, 41 years of age, who uses individual stories to represent our society, who uses theater as his way to deal with the cruelty of our world. And he calls everyone upon to do something, in his or her own way. His real-theater plays are staged worldwide with great success. Next year he is going to assume the artistic direction of the NT Gent (Dutch Theater Gent) a famous theater in Belgium which tries to combine fiction with non-fiction. Some of his elderly plays will be shown there but as well two international productions and a continuation of his play “Five Easy Pieces”. Rau wants to reform our understanding of theater as he says: “It is our ambition to actively associate shows, media, politics and social activism.” He characterized the term “Real-Theater” which means productions which attend historical events mostly still current as experimental debates to form an alternative reality. To end it with his own words “The windows of heaven are widely open […] theater is a way to take a glimpse. Although they might be closed immediately, you have seen heaven once”.
Picture taken by Eric Ward
Text by Verena