The 120 Days of Sodom

By Milo Rau, based on themes by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

World premiere
In collaboration with the Theater HORA

Text and Direction Milo Rau / Stage Design and Costumes Anton Lukas / Video Kevin Graber
Cast Noha Badir, Remo Beuggert, Gianni Blumer, Matthias Brücker, Nikolai Gralak, Matthias Grandjean, Julia Häusermann, Sara Hess, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Dagna Litzenberger Vinet, Michael Neuenschwander, Matthias Neukirch, Tiziana Pagliaro, Nora Tosconi, Fabienne Villiger

Noha Badir
Remo Beuggert
Gianni Blumer
Matthias Brücker
Nikolai Gralak
Matthias Grandjean
Julia Häusermann
Sara Hess
Robert Hunger-Bühler
Dagna Litzenberger Vinet
Michael Neuenschwander
Matthias Neukirch
Tiziana Pagliaro
Nora Tosconi
Fabienne Villiger
 
Text and Direction Milo Rau
Stage Design and Costumes Anton Lukas
Video Kevin Graber
Lighting Christoph Kunz
Literary Manager Stefan Bläske
Literary Manager Gwendolyne Melchinger
Research Rolf Bossart, Mirjam Knapp
Assistant Director Manon Pfrunder
Assistant Stage Designer Simon Sramek
Assistant Costume Designer Tiziana Angela Ramsauer
Assistant Video Jörg Hurschler
Internship Direction Jannis Nicolas
Prompter Katja Weppler
Stage Management Michael Durrer
Artistic Director Theater HORA Michael Elber
Deputy Artistic Director Theater HORA Nele Jahnke
Theatre Education Anne Britting

How can you make the probably most controversial film in history into a stage production with a cast that includes actors with a disability? In a joint project with the Theater HORA, which has been addressing the disabilities of their actors in internationally acclaimed productions, and won the Swiss Theatre Award in 2016, the director Milo Rau and the Schauspielhaus Zurich have “The 120 Days of Sodom” follow Rau’s previous production “Five Easy Pieces”, which was staged in 10 different countries and subject to censorship in various places due to having children acting out the crimes of paedophile Marc Dutroux. This has sparked off an international debate about the limits of art and the power of the theatre.

Starting from Pasolini’s scandalous art film “Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom“, Milo Rau continues to investigate the question of what is depictable and bearable on the stage.  In the Alpine Republic of Saló – the last refuge of some fascist regime – young men and women are kidnapped and held prisoners in a castle by four representatives of a declining totalitarian regime. In a series of sadistically debauched rituals the young people are abused and humiliated, and finally tortured to death in an orgy of violence.

It was Pier Paolo Pasolini’s last film, he was murdered before its release. It’s based on a novel by the Marquis de Sade, who advanced explicit representations of sexual power and violence as a type of diagnosis of late 18th-century society. Pasolini’s adaptation has been read as criticism of a certain type of rule that has replaced the fascist system but nevertheless continued the mechanisms of repression of the former – which is of course the modern consumer society including the normalization of excess and the constant optimization of humans.

Milo Rau’s production is a rather free interpretation of Pasolini’s and de Sade’s works set in the present time, in a post-modern feudalist society teetering between hedonism and doom, normalization mania and petty bourgeois lust for scandals. The piece touches on fundamental questions in art and society: What’s the meaning of power? What is voyeurism? How is the dignity of life to be protected? What is normal, what is abnormal? Where does the pain end – and salvation begin?

Schiffbau/Box

  • Stadt Zurich
  • Swiss Re
  • Zürcher Kantonalbank
  • Migros