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‘Lamb of God’ by Milo Rau: an instant classic

All the crusaders and moraalridders to: Lamb of God makes Milo Rau is a generous tableau vivant about the Ghent of now. Mission is more than successful.

“IS fighter,” real sex for the eyes of children, ” the live slaughter of a sheep on stage. Who’s hoping for some controversy, is it for the effort. Lamb of God, the opening production of Milo Rau at NTGent, is a serene and smart performance. The Swiss maestro touch is indeed the boundaries of what can be shown, but as a mayor he keeps the middle way: not snubbing, but wakkerschudden.

Call yourself …

“IS fighter,” real sex for the eyes of children, ” the live slaughter of a sheep on stage. Who’s hoping for some controversy, is it for the effort. Lamb of God, the opening production of Milo Rau at NTGent, is a serene and smart performance. The Swiss maestro touch is indeed the boundaries of what can be shown, but as a mayor he keeps the middle way: not snubbing, but wakkerschudden.

Calls Milo Rau are Lamb of God is a performative video installation, in which the iconic altarpiece of the brothers Van Eyck from 1432 is tested in the Ghent of today. Frank Focketyn and Chris Thys are the only professional actors on stage. They are the masters of ceremony, the modern Van eyck. They are presenting and interviewing dozens of extraordinary people of ghent, who have been chosen after long castings and all have a special link with one of the themes of the Lamb of God, that panel by panel to life.

Copulate!

It begins with the creation of the world, with Adam and Eve. Dertigerskoppel Storm, and Fanny is going fast out of the clothes, both live on stage as on the video wall that the twelve panels is visualized. Fanny says that she applied for the role of Eva, precisely because they are so easy to get pregnant: “Sometimes I feel Mother Earth.” Subsequently, the duo’s act to the word. Their erotic choreography with the children’s choir as part of the audience is anything but shocking, in contrast to the hoopla that some in the media tried to poken.

A voice-over also adds a deeper layer to this fictitious lovemaking session, through the migratory routes to delineate the homo sapiens so many millions of years ago undertook from Africa and Mesopotamia to Europe, and not so different from the flows of refugees now. The solution according to Rau? Not neuten, but fuck. Copuleer, multipliceer, create together a superior race of men and a new earthly paradise!

Syriëstrijder

Thus, each panel and each theme with a contemporary update and analysis. The patron of the arts that the Van eyck’s show, here is the European Commission, that the piece subsidised. The EU spokesman appears as a niece of Arsène Goedertier, the suspected thief of the missing panel The just judges. Serendipity has always been a quality of Milo Rau. Also here, he knows, by a genuine interest and a lot to leave space for chance, the most unlikely link between the Lamb of God and the biographies of the players.

In the panel of The knights of Christ is there still a Syriëstrijder within. A masked black man on a horse in the video depicts an Antwerp jihadi, whose salafi persuasion retold through the voice-overstem. But his haatpraat is immediately countered by Fatima Ezzarhouni, whose son five years ago to Syria, departed. All the time she heard scarcely anything of him. Just after the start of the rehearsals, she got the message that he would be killed in Idlib. Her testimony hits deep in. Her tears are real, as is her gratitude because she is here the role of Maria should play, ” for Mary too had major problems with her son.

Poor sheep

But the most poignant scene is that of the central panel, The adoration of the lamb. It is the Lamb of God sacrificed, to be a metaphor for Jesus Christ (you know: he who takes away the sins of the world). On the show of Samuel Barbers Agnus Dei carries shepherd Koen one of his schapennaar the voorpodium. Just seems like he has the animal goes to slaughter, but in the end the poor sheep just shorn. All there is on the video wall in parallel, however, to see how a sheep’s throat is you’re in a slaughterhouse. Horrific images are the full of bloodshed.

In this way, Milo Rau, as in all his pieces, not schockeren, but taboos show up on the scene and confront us with scenes that otherwise are absent in the public space. Whether it is about vrijende people, a baby is born, a woman who is receiving palliative care, or an animal that is immolated: always going to be situations that usually remain hidden and that we can easily ignore, but that Milo open and expose shows, just because of love, procreation, decay and death are so essential to life.

Jan Fabre

But the heavy stuff is Lamb of God. The whole even has something of a schoolfeesttoneel, with all those adorable children and animals on stage, but also by the often more awkward interviews with the Inhabitants and the scripted mopjes. Frank Focketyn allows for some slick humor, by his references to the mediarelletjes and the turbulent years at NTGent. When he is on video in the corridors past an old portrait of himself, he runs, jokes he: “From the time that NTGent has a acteursemsemble had’. Or, he adds delicately a new commandment to the Ghent Manifesto of Milo Rau: “Point eleven: you can theatre is not in a manifest casting.’

How ambitious his plan again, Milo Rau features a fresh dose of play that sets him apart from an older generation of theatre makers. The open piece of cloth to a pin-prick of the parts, let he not lie. When Fanny tells them that they ever turns up very pregnant in a show, danced, asks Chris Thys her: ‘It was not a production of Fabre?’.

Gesamtkunstwerk

With the Lamb of God as a memorandum made Milo Rau and his team a true gesamtkunstwerk, but in the sense of an inclusive story: with both professionals and amateurs, played by young and old, human and animal, with live acting and music, and video walls.

On an intellectual and political level that transcends Lamb of God is the historical reconstruction and the easy update by an interesting reflection about the past and the future of man. In the epilogue, take two people, their identity is still not represented on our stages and in this piece, the word – and the fig leaf. They are the Adam and Eve of tomorrow, with roots in regions where the future of the world lies.

As this is Lamb of God not only as a mirror for the city of Ghent, but also a panorama on the status of humanity. At the same time, a letter of intent for the theater that Milo Rau in the future, and a symbolic new start for NTGent, that according to him to the town hall should be hoogdrempelig theaterbastion.

#Createyourownclassics, that is the new motto of the theaterhuis. No empty promise, because Milo Rau, is already an instant classic started.

Lamb of God, to October 20, in NTGent. Almost sold out, but there are additional performance data. ****

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