Przyslala Basia Jaworski
“Thank you for coming to this memorial concert for my friend, and I want to thank one of this favourite bands for agreeing to play here today. He was my friend since we were 2 years old, and I knew he would have…” (voice cut). These are the words of one of the characters on stage, Jonathan, commemorating the death of his friend. Whom he supposedly killed, we are about to learn.
On stage is a group of people in a snowy landscape, some of them are children. In one corner of the scene there is a coffin, with the lid open. Slow movements, slowly evolving electronic sounds. But after a while one of the people runs to two of the children in front and makes movements as if killing them. Kindertotenlieder is the title. Killing children and snow, I had to think of Brueghel’s The Massacre of the Innocents; I will come back to that later.
The children figures turn out to be stuffed puppets; I will come back to that later too.
A guitarist starts to play growling loud slowly progressing chords, style ‘black metal’. The audience has been given earplugs.
The actors keep on moving slowly to a virtual point on the left of stage where rays of light are shining from.
The killer gets killed by another character.
After a while the former rises again and grabs another character, takes off his clothes and stammers texts about raping him, and then kills him. Spoken text suggests that that was the person who was probably murdered by Jonathan.
The group keeps moving to the light, so slow some seem like puppets. After a while we notice that some did not move at all: they are puppets.
Another actor grabs some of the other figures, the puppets, and stacks them up together.
More snow is falling. Heaps and heaps of snow. Everybody still alive now has their winter coats fully buttoned up, except for the naked rape and murder victim, still lying on stage. It turns out that the young boy who was killed by his best friend has returned as a ghost during his funeral, and the story started from there.
Kindertotenlieder is a performance from 2007 by Gisèle Vienne, who along with Japanese composer and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto is associate artist of this year’s Holland Festival.
The two musicians on stage, Stephen O’Malley on guitar and Peter Rehberg on electronic equipment, work together under the name KTL (KinderTotenLieder!, I assume) since they participated for the first performances in 2007. In the storyline the murdered boy’s favourite music was KTL. Their style,, ‘Black metal’, is often associated with satanism and ‘doom’cults.