We are living in an era of victims. The guilty ones, the perpetrators are punished and this is just, but human truth lies deeper. How to go beyong the question of guilt to face the real judgement, the mirror that reflects the core of what it means to be human? Do we want to go there? Do we dare? Needless to say, a story that could take us to that core, is bound to be like greek tragedy – sombre, full of horror and compassion, yet instructive and containing some hope for catharsis.
In 2006 the French-American writer Jonathan Littell published "The Kindly Ones". World War II, Einsatzgruppen and the holocaust, the banality and the spectacle of evil, a labyrith of daily choiceless choices, but most important of all: everything described from the point of view of a perpetrator, through the eyes of SS-Obersturmbannführer Maximilian Aue. "The Kindly Ones" felt like a revelation in world literature. What scope, what historical and emotional truthfullness! Instantly compared to Tolstoi's "War and Peace", it won all imaginable literary awards and has now been translated into well over twenty languages. All those who had for decades been waiting for the next big novel, could finally let out their battlecry: at long last!
"It's very easy to understand the victim: something terrible happens to him and he reacts accordingly. But in terms of trying to understand something, there is nothing to examine. The perpetrator is more complicated to understand, along with the apparatus that activates him. By means of the attempt to give a voice to the perpetrator, lessons can be learned that will affect the way we look at the world today," Littell said in Berlin at the presentation of the German translation. "Whether one admires "The Kindly Ones" or loathes it depends largely on how one responds to the improbable combination of perpetrator and reliable witness that Aue represents," Susan Rubin Suleiman of Harvard wrote in her take on Littell's masterwork.
Stage version and Director Tiit Ojasoo
Sound Design Hendrik Kaljujärv
Dramaturgy Laur Kaunissaare and Tarmo Jüristo
On stage Gert Raudsep and Tiina Tauraite
Premiere on December 22, 2017
Duration is two hours and 55 minutes.