Die 120 Tage von Sodom
The 120 days of Sodom was written by De Sade in 1785 and is about rich gentlemen who act out their sadistic lusts in a castle on a group of young people. In the 1975 film, Pasolini moved the events to the Italian Salò, the capital of Mussolini's fascist regime. The carnal atrocities in De Sade's words are explicitly visible in Pasolini's images.
In German with Dutch surtitles
Unforgettable drama about the (ab)normality and value of a human life.
In Rau's performance, actors from Schauspielhaus Zurich question their colleagues from Theater HORA, a company for actors with intellectual disabilities. The subjects from the film are discussed and some scenes are re-enacted. Not so much to expose cruelty and violence, but to expose its underlying mechanisms. What do we consider normal and who decides? What is allowed to be visible in our society and what do we prefer to close our eyes to? And what do we do with people - or unborn children - who deviate from the norm?
Milo Rau's production is a loose interpretation of the works of Pasolini and De Sade that reflects on today's postmodern society, which balances between hedonism and doom, between 'just be normal' and the petty-bourgeois lust for scandal. The play deals with fundamental questions in art and society: what is the meaning of power? What is voyeurism? How should the dignity of life be protected?
When it was announced that Milo Rau was going to stage a show based on Pasolini's scandalous film, The 120 days of Salò, and with actors with mental disabilities, it created quite a stir. Rau himself paid it no mind. With this performance, he wanted to investigate just how far you can go on stage, to expose prejudice and make us think about what we think is normal. After the preliminary controversy, it had to be admitted that the performance was very different from what had been imagined.
In the press
"This is not 'just' a film, not 'just' theatre, this is the unabashed truth, the reality." - Luzerner Zeitung
"What the media had denounced as a scandal, turns into theatre of softness and empathy." - Die Wochenzeitung
"The tricky, but perhaps also the clever, part is that this authenticity is, in its way, an act, too."- Theaterkrant
Milo Rau (1977) is not only a theatre maker, but also a filmmaker, sociologist, writer and journalist. Before he made his entrée into theatre, he spent years reporting from conflict areas such as Northern Iraq and Syria. In 2007, he founded the International Institute of Political Murder, which, in addition to theatrical productions, films, videos and performances, also publishes books and organises debates on social and political themes. In September 2018, Rau succeeded Johan Simons as the new director of NTGent.
"It's not just about representing the world anymore, it's about changing it." - Milo Rau