Europe is decaying: We are loosing our humanistic values, seem to be incapable of helping refugees, have become untrustworthy, and struggling to find our place in world-politics – Europe has become old-fashioned.

And what about theatre? It doesn‘t matter what ideas are rallied for, how much it tries to challenge its audience, criticise and provoke it, at the end the audience will applaud, leave the theatre and go back to its everyday-life. Is theatre even remotely capable of changing the world anymore?

Both the crisis of Europe and theatre are questioned in Ruine Europa. During the first part of the play, Tobak Lithium tries out different theatre forms which are facing different problems of current Europe. After each form, the audience is asked if they feel the urge to change something in the world. This way, each theatre form gets a rating – similar to the ratings of countries and corporations.

However, the dramaturgy of the evening starts to get blurry – either by different forms overlapping or the audience disturbing the chain of events. Some members felt that our mundane way of treating theatre was unjust. Suddenly, the audience got activated, were interrupting us, booing, and even throwing eggs. Fluidly, the classic form of theatre in general (performers in front of a silence audience) was turned into a panel discussion about political engagement and theatre itself. Audience members stepped on stage – while we as performers became moderators.

So as to not remain a classical „critical“ theatre-evening, the final part of the play consisted in a demonstration to the Bundesplatz of Bern. With whoever felt inspired enough we left the theatre space and head out to bury the ruins of Europe – making space for new wishes of a Europe to come.

The open structure of the play made it possible for the audience to engage in the play at all times. Therefore, each run of the performance became something completely different – depending on the mood of the audience itself.

Details

place: Tojo Theater, Bern

date: 12th-14th of September 2013

press: „Kunst in der Formkrise“