Stage Performance and Discussion

• Sat 02 12 2017 •
Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun


In Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun, director Milo Rau looks at the contradictory, often hypocritical European responses to the many crises outside of Europe and to the influx of refugees at its borders. Venturing past the ubiquitous images of drowned children and starving victims of civil war, Rau and his team ask whether the system of humanitarian aid might not be morally dubious. A semi-documentary double-monologue based on interviews with NGO workers, clerics, and war victims is juxtaposed with the half-fictional biographies of two actresses. One, from Switzerland, travels to a migrant camp in Greece and remembers her experiences with an NGO in Rwanda during the genocide; the other, from Burundi, remembers the carnage in her country that the West could not prevent. What emerges is a harsh indictment of the role aid organizations play in prolonging the crises they claim to keep at bay, and an unflinching examination of the combination of empathy and condescension that makes it so easy to bear the suffering of others. The performance is followed by a discussion between Milo Rau and theater critic Irene Bazinger.

start: 8:00 pm
languages: French and German, with German supertitles
post-performance discussion in German
venue: Schauspiel Köln, Schanzenstraße 6–20, 51063 Cologne
tickets: 17 € | 7 € (regular | reduced) + advance booking fee

Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun is a production of Schaubühne Berlin. The guest performance is a project of the Academy of the Arts of the World as part of PLURIVERSALE Ⅶ in cooperation with Schauspiel Köln. The event is funded by NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ (NPN) as part of the NPN Guest Performance Fund for Theater, kindly supported by the Federal Government's Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Ministries of the Arts and Culture of the German states.