The Dark Ages
Milo Rau / Residenztheater / IIPM
What are the foundations of the Europe we live in today? In The Dark Ages, Milo Rau continues the work he began with his previous production The Civil Wars (about revolt and political commitment in Europe). Now he takes on the conflicts that have torn Eastern Europe apart, from the end of the Third Reich to the Yugoslav wars. The play builds on the true life stories of five actors from Germany, Russia, Bosnia and Serbia: marked by war and the loss of roots, their existential crises coincide with massive ideological and political upheavals. Manfred Zapatka and Valery Tscheplanowa lived in post-war Germany; Vedrana Seksan survived the siege of Sarajevo; Sanja Mitrović danced all night while the UN bombed Belgrade, and Sudbin Musić survived massacres and concentration camps. Mythic Shakespearean figures (like Hamlet) appear in the midst of these powerful stories that question the existence of evil and the possibility of justice. The Dark Ages is a veritable political psychoanalysis. Its structural formality is shot through with the Wagnerian violence of the music of Laibach, the Slovenian avant-garde band (whose lyrics express a very critical view of European integration). An archaeological dig into the statements and ideas that have shaped European memories, The Dark Ages is a play about how we write history and what the “big stories” have made of us.