A European kills an Arab. Decades later the victim’s brother demands justice and unmasks a godless world. Which values determine our culture?
For decades he was simply The Arab: a nameless murder victim in Albert Camus’ world-famous novel ‘The Outsider’. A Frenchman, Meursault, shoots a man on an Algerian beach. Now, more than half a century later, his brother replies. He gives the anonymous “Arab” a name, a face, a story, and he demands justice in the eyes of a world which has spent so long celebrating Camus’ bestseller unchallenged.
This is the story Kamel Daoud tells in his contemporary prize-winning novel ‘The Meursault Investigation’. The brother settles scores with the West, with religion and with what is supposed to give our life meaning. And suddenly it turns out that he is more closely linked to the murderer Meursault than was first thought…
The world premiere ‘Die Fremden’ tells Meursault’s story and the urgent questions it raises about cultural identity in post-colonial times of migration and integration. Today millions of nameless and faceless “outsiders” are standing at our borders. They have a history, an identity, a culture. Which leads us inevitably to the question of who we actually are.
Following the great success of ‘Accatone’ in 2015, director Johan Simons creates another special form of music theatre, on this occasion starting from the question: how difficult is it to assume the perspective of the other? In Mauricio Kagel’s ‘Pieces of the Compass Rose’ one can feel a lack of direction between North, South, East and West and hear references to a variety of cultures. Albert Camus’ absurdist world view is reflected in the works of György Ligeti: in machine-like mechanisms and alienating clouds of sound, joined in his later pieces by synthetic folklore and traditional music from invented countries. Within this cosmos of sound, the artist Aernout Mik, renowned for his political film installations on the boundaries of reality and fiction, will create a new work especially for this production. ‘Die Fremden’ is political music theatre from the heart and from the margins of Europe.
With friendly support of the RAG-Stiftung, RAG Montan Immobilien and Rudolf Augstein Stiftung. Funded by theArts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ammodo. A production by Ruhrtriennale and NTGent.
excerpts from uit compositions by GYÖRGY LIGETI, MAURICIO KAGEL, claude vivier
conductor Reinbert de Leeuw
soprano Katrien Baerts
actors Pierre Bokma, Benny Claessens, Elsie de Brauw, Sandra Hüller, Risto Kübar
direction Johan Simons
text Kamel Daoud
dramaturgy Tobias Staab, Vasco Boenisch, Matthias Velle
scenography Luc Goedertier, Marc Swaenen
video Aernout Mik
light Dennis Diels
costumes An De Mol