the kindly ones
duration 3:30, incl. 1 pauze
premiere 10 Mar 2016
The ensemble of TA is joined by actors from Toneelhuis and together they set in motion a carousel of characters around Max Aue (performed by Hans Kesting).
At its appearance in 2006, the weighty novel by Jonathan Littell about the persecution of Jews during the Second World War was praised and criticized at the same time. The shocking thing about The kindly ones (De welwillenden) is that it is told from the point of view of a culprit, SS officer Max Aue. He is a bureaucrat through and through. Aue uses words that are so far away from his horrible practice that he himself feels as little disgust as possible. Littell shows us that the Third Reich was not overly populated by monsters or perverts, but by normal civilians, who collectively shifted in the direction of total insanity as a result of national socialism. The theatre adaptation concentrates on Aues residence in Kiev, Stalingrad and Berlin. Each city is a step closer to the complete apocalypse.
The kindly ones enters a confrontation with the darkest side of human behaviour: the Nazi ideology and the destruction of the Jews. How was this able to happen in the middle of Europe? What political, ideological, psychological and social changes caused the origin of this violence and let it happen? The unsteady political basis of Europe and the emergence of far-right and xenophobic parties give this project an exceptional urgency.
Guy Cassiers about The kindly ones
‘Jonathan Littell’s book shows a man who is closely involved in the destruction of the Jews in Eastern Europe. The book is full of horrible facts and hardly bearable descriptions. But the real horror is in the fact that as a reader, you are forced to identify with a brute. That causes a lot of discomfort, not least because you are constantly afraid that you might also make the wrong choices under those circumstances yourself. That shocking fact makes the book very important and for me, it is one of the primary reasons to bring it to the stage.’