Maja Todorović, dramaturge
I saw the previous two performances by Milo Rau, so this isn’t a novelty to me. What I’d prefer seeing is him tackling a topic related to his own country, to hear him, as a Swiss, address the burning issues of Switzerland rather than dealing with ISIS, Lenin and Hitler. Those are “world problems” and think I have enough of those at home. I’d like to see a performance about Switzerland.
Aleksandra Veljković, actress and a professor of stage movement
I understand the parallel they wanted to draw between Iraq and Oresteia and the entire tragedy - those are both tragedies, killing is senseless, we can’t understand why it is being done, ok, right. But I’ve come out of the performance completely unmoved, and I find it irritating. There’s a very clear element of self-irony towards the situation in Iraq in the video, while on stage I can feel the irony towards Oresteia, or rather towards ancient tragedy in general, but I mind that irony. I would have found it far more tragic had they managed to justify any of these things, to make you realize that those people truly acted on divine conditions that they had found irrevocable, and that’s a fact, but it’s much more difficult to enter human brain and to try to justify those acts. And I’ rather not draw a parallel between Agamemnon and ISIS, it’s a bit heavy, but I might not know enough about the political situation.
Paul-Louis Thomas, a guest from France
I liked it a lot. It’s a very effective mix of ancient myth and the present moment, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I’m still in shock. I read an interview with the director a couple of days ago in France and I can only congratulate both him and the crew. It’s great that this performance was chosen to open Bitef.
Dejana Vuković, a journalist:
First of all, I’m impressed by such an amount of expression, but also confused, and I’ll just have to organize my thoughts because the performance dumped us into an abyss and I felt like a part of the Mosul backdrop. It’s horrible but I hope it has been cathartic for all of us in the audience.
Manuel Bouard, a guest from France:
This is a powerful performance and depicts a true tragedy. I also liked the video material and the entire concept by Milo Rau.
Slobodan Mirković, audience:
It’s an important topic and I can understand the symbolism of a Greek tragedy transferred into the present moment, since all the human topics are universal, but I think it could have been presented in a more powerful manner. I know what they wanted to say and why they chose Mosul, that beautiful town has suffered horrible destruction, and that they wanted to bring close the world which seems far but is actually very, very near. Consciously or not, western civilization has created that distance. All of it is happening to someone else far away. When 10 or 100 people die in Paris, it hurts us much more than when 100 or 200 thousand people die in Iraq or in Syria. The western world which has created the distance should somehow be addressed and reconsidered.
Miljan Erdeljanović, audience:
The message of the performance is very clear and the entire story universal. The direction is interesting, it has a documentary element, a film element, and the stage itself, it was gripping. What it lacks, though, in my opinion, is the emotional link which I find the most important thing in theatre regardless of the form chosen.
Janko Ljumović, producer:
In a very exciting way, the performance is asking us what is happening to a culture created seven thousand years before Aeschylus, and if the need for violence has ever stopped. Very wise, very emotional, very exciting.
Marija Bergam, actress:
Virtuosity. So simple and so packed with meaning, nothing is over-the-top. An amazing way to tell an ancient story which is all around us even today.