Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun

by Milo Rau
Collaboration text: Ursina Lardi, Consolate Sipérius
World Premiere
Director: Milo Rau

In German and French with German surtitles

Last summer, the fate of refugees has overwhelmed the whole of Europe and countless intellectuals and politicians declared their solidarity with the suffering of people from the Middle East and Africa. Images of the drowned on Mediterranean beaches or victims of civil war and disease in Central Africa: the crises and disasters of our time are ubiquitous in our Facebook timelines, on television and in the press. 

In »Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun«, Rau and his team journey to the political hot spots of our time: the Mediterranean routes of refugees from the Middle East and the Congolese civil war zones. The semi-documentary double-monologue, based on interviews with NGO workers, clerics and war victims in Africa and Europe, deliberately ventures into contradictory terrain: how do we endure the misery of others and why do we watch it? Why does one dead person at the gates of Europe outweigh thousand dead people in the Congolese civil war zones? »Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun« not only contemplates the limits of our compassion but also on the limits of European humanism.

In cooperation with the European Theatre Network PROSPERO (Schaubühne Berlin, Théâtre National de Bretagne/Rennes, Théâtre de Liège, Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Göteborgs Stadstheater, Croatian National Theatre/World Theatre Festival Zagreb, Athens & Epidaurus Festival)


Director: Milo Rau
Set and Costume Designer: Anton Lukas
Video and Sound Designer: Marc Stephan
Dramaturg: Florian Borchmeyer
Research/Dramaturgy Collaboration: Mirjam Knapp, Stefan Bläske
Lighting Designer: Erich Schneider

With: Ursina Lardi, Consolate Sipérius

Duration: ca. 105 minutes

Premiered on 16 January 2016

Tour Dates

Hamburg (February 2016)
Lausanne (March 2016)
Mannheim (June 2016)
Belgrade (October 2016)
Thessaloniki (October 2016)
Moscow (October 2016)
Girona (November 2016)
Chur (November 2016)
Göteborg (November 2016)
Strasbourg (December 2016)
Bologna (March 2017)
Liège  (March 2017)
Zürich (April 2017)
Riga (September 2017)
Belfast (October 2017)
Paris (November 2017)
Prag (November 2017)
Cologne (December 2017)
Colombo, Kalkutta, Delhi, Chennai (March 2018)
Besançon (May 2018)
Braunschweig (June 2018)
Cluj-Napoca (November 2018)
São Paulo (March 2019)