LENIN is a theatre production about the final months in the life of Wladimir Ilyitsch Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, the Russian revolutionary and first leader of the Soviet Union. Rau has chosen the human, not only the political element as the core of his performance.
In German with surtitles
Rau directed this performance in 2017, a century after the October Revolution and the installation of a communist government headed by Lenin. But on stage we see Lenin years later, fighting illness and political opponents. From his countryside home, he tries in vain to maintain his political influence. In the wings, Stalin waits for his chance to take over power.
Cameras magnify the scenes and emotions in this piece that is not about Lenin, the icon, but about Lenin, the man. Through his eyes, we look at politics and society, at people caught between revolution and conservatism, hope and fear.
As always, Rau plays with fiction and reality. The historical story is regularly broken up with cameras and the costume parties on stage, through the masterful way actress Ursina Lardi transforms into Lenin, through comedic scenes and the actors breaking character. In this way Rau unravels the myth that is Lenin and in one fell swoop we are thrown back into the present.
This approach keeps the performance from getting bogged down in political pamphleting, making about people in all times, their ideals and their fatal mistakes.
In the press
"In LENIN, the strength lies in the theatricality. Theatricality where the documentary plays an intelligent role. Theatre is a profession, and one that the new artistic director of NTGent has mastered with this performance." - Theaterkrant
"Seeing actress Ursina Lardi transform from a man into a sick man and then into a man on his deathbed, is grand theatre." - Deutschlandfunk Kultur
"Milo Rau is, without a doubt, an activist, but above all he is a thespian who has mastered the profession of director to perfection." - Stage and Screen
"The fact that the human becomes tangible in this performance and the drama is not reduced to a political pamphlet is thanks, in large part, to Rau's rich script and Ursina Landri's gorgeous acting." - Theaterkrant