The International Institute of Political Murder was founded by director Milo Rau in 2007. Since then, IIPM has become known for “represent[ing] a new form of political art that is highly condensed in documentary and aesthetic terms.” Learn more about the company and its other projects on their website.
Rau began Five Easy Pieces after an invitation to create a work for a Campo series, featuring child actors; past invitees include NYU Skirball alums Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment) and Gob Squad. Rather than producing a work of children’s theatre as it is traditionally understood, Rau challenges his young actors – and his audiences – with a production that asks children to portray the infamous case of Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux, whose victims were young girls. “How can children perform the life and actions of child-killer Marc Dutroux?” Learn more about the show.
Rau discusses Five Easy Pieces in this interview with dramaturg Stefan Bläske, contextualizing the premise of the show, which has shocked adult audiences – “isn’t it too gruesome” to ask children to participate in a work about child abuse and murder?:
Our team includes two advisers and also a child psychologist. The parents were also closely involved in the rehearsals. And we contacted those most closely involved in the real Dutroux affair. But, actually, this production isn’t about the horror in itself. It’s about the big issues which lurk behind this very specific and utterly wretched Dutroux affair: the decline of a country, the national paranoia, the mourning, and the anger which followed the crimes. The production begins with Congo’s declaration of independence and ends with the funerals of Dutroux’s victims; in the background you perceive the disappearance of just about all the illusions which you might have lived under as a Belgian in recent decades: the illusion of safety, trust, freedom, and a future.
Learn more in NYU Professor Carol Martin’s Indefinite Article, written exclusively for NYU Skirball; and NYU alum Debra Levine’s TDR article.