Five Easy Pieces
Can you let your children re-enact the life of the child murderer Marc Dutroux? Together with the Ghent arts centre CAMPO, Milo Rau and his International Institute of Political Murder (IIPM) for the first time created an ambitious project staged with children between the ages of 8 and 13. Using the biography of Belgium's most famous criminal, Rau sketches a brief history of the country.
Children re-enact Dutroux case.
In Five easy pieces, we are spectators in a casting led by Peter Seynaeve - the only adult actor on stage. The seven actors introduce themselves and show their talents: they aspire to a career on stage, and they are perfect for it: cute, charismatic, talented. Seynaeve then subtly guides them towards the dilemmas of the profession: 'theatre is cruel'. Would they do anything for it? Are they even willing to play a child killer?
No. No that. But successively they do play Dutroux's father, Victor, an officer involved in the investigation, the grieving parents, and one of the victims, while she reads a letter to her parents in front of the camera. So the representation shifts from re-enactment to existential research: when does cruelty enter our lives? At what point do we become aware of it? Can you learn about life by re-enacting it?
On the one hand, the performance unfolds a historical panorama of Belgian history, from Congo's declaration of independence to the great protests of the 'White March'. On the other hand, it questions the limits of what children know, feel, and are allowed to do. What does it mean to observe them? How do we react when we see them play out scenes of violence or romantic relationships? And what do we experience about our own fears, our hopes, the limits of our taboos? It is, in short, a confrontational experience.
This is one of those rare performances that gets people talking even before the premiere, leaves the spectators stunned, is buried under all of the accolades, and about which every newspaper lyrically opines (complete with deluges of five-star reviews). Something's happening on this stage!
In the press
"Theatre in its most confrontational, pure and disconcerting form". – Trouw *****
"The execution is modest and honest. The result is powerful and disruptive." - NRC Handelsblad ****
"Rau does it well and in his own way brilliantly." - Theaterkrant ****
"The result is moving." - de Volkskrant
"The strength of Five Easy Pieces lies in the contrast between subject matter and performers: we see happy children on stage, pretending that they are old, that they are dead, that they are grieving parents. And they're having fun; the seriousness only sparsely penetrates. That is moving for the adult spectator, who can see the horror all too well." - NRC Handelsblad
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