Premiere US Premiere
Production Language French
Country of Origin France
Description Moved to respond to the July 1995 Bosnian Massacre, Europe's worst mass murder of civilians since World War II, acclaimed French multimedia artist Olivier Py created Requiem for Srebrenica, a theatrically riveting meditation on the unfathomable terrors of war. Three women from three generations, dressed in heavy black coats and boots, occupy a starkly industrial steel set. Stand-ins for the thousands of women who lost sons, husbands, lovers, and fathers, they speak harrowing, often numbingly barbaric words from a meticulously assembled pastiche of poems, essays, and news and medical reports.
The deceptive simplicity of the women's actions and the pervasive sadness of their words emphasizes their irrevocable losses. Occasionally, one travels far upstage, picks up a mallet, and bangs on six large pipes suspended from black cables. The sounds they elicit — sometimes brief and shockingly loud, sometimes soft and lyrical, reminiscent of a call to prayer — underscore the harsh steel-against-steel sounds of the set. Other effects create a further sense of danger: a sheet of transparent red plastic lowers to eye level, through it the audience sees a fire burning in a wheelbarrow. A second, translucent piece floats above, blowing like wind through an abandoned neighborhood.
With the escalating, epic magnitude of a Greek tragedy the words and images accumulate, forcing us to confront our personal responsibility and, on the most profound level, our inescapable moral culpability.
Performed in French with English subtitles.