<<<March 2021>>>

The Trilogy of the Innocents

The innocence of war and of its victims


Innocent is a luminous word. We don't feel guilty because we are aware that guilt is a reaction of our conscience. And this reaction is not automatically associated with a misdeed that we may have committed considering it a legitimate defense.    
Let's look at the face of war: that of a tiger. 
The tiger tears a child to pieces. This is obviously a tragedy, but it doesn't tarnish the innocence of the tiger.     
Innocence does not take damage into account, it demands only purity of intentions. For those fighting in a war, innocence coincides with a respect for their role within the mechanisms of a struggle whose purpose is to exterminate the adversary.  
We don't usually associate the word innocent with war, but with its victims, those who don't commit outrages and destruction. We think of orphans, widows, women who experience the innocence of war on their bodies.    
Odin Teatret's trilogy speaks of the many forms of innocence, asking the question: are we all, perhaps, innocent?



Three panoramas on the recent past, the present and a near future

First panorama: the past (1990-2000)


An earth abandoned by birds

At the heart of the space, ancestrally bound to life, the tree of History grows vigorously and dead. The characters gravitate around this vegetal cathedral, alive yet extinct. Warlords, with their armies of child soldiers, sow death and chaos. Monks plant a pear tree in the Syrian desert, hoping that the absent birds will return. The daughter of a poet evokes her childhood dream to fly together with her father. A Nigerian mother flees hiding the head of her daughter in a gourd.

As customary in Odin Teatret's performances, different languages and behaviours mingle, confronting each other. Actors from Bali, Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, Italy and England give life to a rite evoking mythical situations and historical facts.

In the faint light of the final scene, a Liberian and a Serbian warlord - real historical characters - fraternise. Birdsong announces their return in a landscape that recalls Chateaubriand's words: forests were there before civilizations, deserts followed civilizations.

Second panorama: the present (2010 - 2018)


Changing countries more often than shoes

How does one live in a country at war, where soldiers are only seen when returning from afar in a coffin?

The moon watches a gathering of friends. They discuss the latest events. They sip a good wine while recalling their friends who are far away. Sitting in comfortable armchairs they leisurely quote their favourite poets - Bertolt Brecht, Jens Bjørneboe, Ezra Pound, Li Po. They sing harmoniously about the horrors of the present.

The moon weaves its romantic voice with that of the actors. Its light melts together with flashes from the great cities burning beneath it: metropolises in Europe, Asia Minor and the New World, Guernica, Hiroshima and Aleppo, imperial China and Alabama's cotton fields. Its compassion ignores melancholy.

Third panorama: the future (2031)


Here people eat without being hungry and drink without being thirsty

Finally peace. We are in Europe in 2031 at the end of a civil war. Financial crises, unemployment, riots, distress and distrust muddle individuals and groups of different nationalities and cultures. What happens when newcomers want to implant themselves on foreign soil and be part of a society which thinks it has solid cultural roots? What sort of misunderstandings and discoveries arise from this confrontation?

A young boy from Colombia lands in a feverish Europe. He is searching for his father who has mysteriously disappeared. He is just a teenager and ignores what everybody knows: that life is a chronic disease from which our planet with its history is unable to free itself. Everybody knows that a thousand doors exist leading to freedom, and all nourish this knowledge by eating without being hungry and drinking without being thirsty.

People answer the questions of the young foreigner by teaching him to avoid the worst of all vices: hope. "Stop searching for your father!", they whisper to him while escorting him from one door to another, among the wreckage of fables that they proudly call our history.

It is neither innocence nor ignorance which saves the boy. A new knowledge - blindness towards what is obvious - makes him discover his door. Amid the bewilderment of all of us who no longer believe in the unbelievable:  that just one victim is worth more than any value. More than God.




News from Odin Teatret

directly into your inbox.
Sign up for our newsletter.


A selection of letters, news, reactions, thoughts from Holstebro and abroad.