Anja Suša | The Heart of Our Dark Age
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09 Jan The Heart of Our Dark Age

Published: September 25, 2016

“The Ridiculous Darkness” at Helsingborg City Theatre becomes in Serbian director Anja Suša’s hands an immensely moving and artistic theater.”

Ultimo in Mogadishu wants to become a fisherman, but he soon discovers that the seas off the Somalian coast, which have previously been rich in fish, are now depleted of fish and barren. British, Dutch and other fishing fleets have fished out everything that lived in it. He decides to switch careers. After being “educated” in piracy, his boat is run-down by a Dutch ship. Ultimo manages to save his skin on the board of it, seizes the chance to capture it – but is then caught and arrested.

A half-an-hour long prolog of “The Ridiculous Darkness” on the small scene of Helsingborg City Theatre consists mostly of an incredibly intense monolog, the arrested pirate’s defense speech in court. Gustav Berg in baggy overall and a black mask displays an intense show of acting in the spirit of Joseph Conrad. He embodies both physically and rhythmically the necessary and hopeless fight against the oppression of far superior forces. “The Ridiculous Darkness” by a German Wolfram Lotz becomes in Serbian director Anja Suša’s hands an immensely moving and artistic theater that speaks to the audience through different senses. We live in times of ever-growing darkness. The darknesses of our age are both ridiculous and foolish. We need art and theater in order to lift our blockages and start a conversation, before it is too late, with blackness and clear sight, but also with some strong humor.

There is a water bucket labeled “The Mediterranean Sea” on the stage. Cecilia Borssén dips wet children’s clothes into the bucket and throws them on the floor – we are spared of seeing the dead bodies of children. Soon Erik Borgeke’s machine gun crazy (American) soldier in camouflage clothing takes over, while the boat of this performance sterns ever more deeply into the river of the Unknown, towards the Heart of Darkness.

Anja Sušaʼs production is supremely artistic, with abrupt jumps between the play’s many pit holes. It is performed as a piece of “arena theater”, which results in rewarding closeness between the performers and the audience. Helga Bumsch’s scene design is exquisite, with the bar at Mr Kurtz’s Club in one corner and a dance pole in the middle, which is being used both for dancing and as a ship mast.

This is a production that should be analyzed less and experienced more, taken in with open senses. Don’t miss it!

Sören Sommelius

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