Five Easy Pieces asks how children can understand the significance of narrative, empathy, loss, subjection, old age, and the horrors sometimes inflicted on them by adults. How do we react to them acting out scenes of violence or romance? What does that say about our own fears and desires? Swiss theatre director Milo Rau's ground-breaking political theatre is based on reconstructions of true stories that shatter the taboos of our age.
Milo Rau and his International Institute of Political Murder (IIPM), together with the CAMPO arts centre in Ghent, have set up an ambitious project involving children and teenagers between 8 and 13 years old.
Rau uses the biography of the country's most notoriously shameful criminal, child-killer Marc Dutroux to sketch a brief history of Belgium and to reflect the (re)presentation of human feelings on stage. Five Easy Pieces probes the limits of what children know, feel, and do. Purely aesthetic and theatrical questions blend together with moral issues.
In five simple scenes, the young actors sneak into different roles: a police officer, Marc Dutroux's father, one of the victims, or the parents of a dead girl. They adopt their role and fate through the re-enactments which they've rehearsed together with adult actors: a visit to the scene of the crime, a funeral ceremony and an everyday scene from the life of Marc Dutroux's father. Throughout unfolds a historical panorama of Belgian history, from Congo's declaration of independence to the mass demonstration of the 'White March'.