Cry for a hundred years or throw a hundred bombs - Theater Basel - Schedule
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Premiere Schedule Ensemble


Premiere Schedule Ensemble


Premiere Schedule Ensemble

Cry for a hundred years or throw a hundred bombs

Play by Darja Stocker and Mohamedali Ltaief

Recommended ages: 14 and above

Reto has been an outcast all his life. From early childhood he is continually being sent away: from his father in Basel to his mother in Geneva, as a child labourer from one farm to the next. In his search for affection and recognition he is repeatedly degraded and humiliated. Eventually he finds himself on a ship from Marseille to Algiers, going to war as a mercenary and trying his luck in the Foreign Legion. The Legion suggests togetherness and security but at the same time it means constantly living in fear. Finally Reto is called to account in a court trial and is forced to look back on his life of torment.

Darja Stocker: «The play’s theme is a part of European colonial history: the Swiss who ‹escaped› to the headquarters of the Foreign Legion in Marseille and later fought in the Algerian war. The vast majority of these barely adult males came from the sub-proletariat. The reasons they went away were a lack of prospects, the danger of having their freedom taken away for poverty-related theft, their being held captive as child labourers or as inmates of working educational establishments. Both their escape to the Foreign Legion and the struggle for decolonisation contain metaphors of hope, a new beginning and finding a home. How could we reach a point where the vulnerable victims of a repressive capitalist system became those who caused wounds in the course of an ideological war? How did these young men in the Foreign Legion become willing to kill?»

The play is inspired by interviews the author made with a former Basel child labourer and Foreign Legionary. She has combined these two significant chapters of Swiss history and shows how the protagonist turns from a victim to a perpetrator and the spiral of violence is endless. Many young people today continue to volunteer for military units and expose themselves to the dangers of war in a search for meaning, togetherness and identity. As in «The Notebook» and «The Constant Prince» here another young protagonist is willing to die for a belief, in search of a home and something to hold on to in the dire circumstances of war.

After «Nowhere in Peace. Antigone» in the 2015 / 2016 season this is the second play commissioned for Theater Basel by the Swiss dramatist Darja Stocker, who recently won the Playwrighting Prize awarded by the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft. Franz-Xaver Mayr returns to direct at Theater Basel following his production of «Romulus the Great» by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

Preisstufe 2 (von 30.– bis 40.–)