The Gospel According to Oxyrhincus
A narrow catwalk between two flanks of spectators: "Maran Ata!
The Lord is coming! A child is born in Bethlehem. He will destroy
Jerusalem. Kyrie Eleison. He has not come to bring peace".
The characters who speak and act before us on the narrow walkway
which divides the spectators in two, live in an unspecified time
and place, perhaps in the distant past, perhaps in the future. They
use a language we cannot understand (Yiddish, Ancient Greek,
Coptic). But there is a moment when the words reach us clearly, in
our own language. An impressive turbaned figure of uncertain sex,
looks us earnestly in the eyes and reads us the beginning of this
exotic yet familiar Gospel: "In the beginning was the Idea. And the
Idea was with God. And the Idea was God. God is a devourer of men;
that is why man is sacrificed to Him".
In the end, all the Messiahs appear in a tableau, blood dripping
from their mouths. All faith is transformed into ferocity, all
thirst for the future becomes domination. Even the Jewish taylor's
final dance - whose steps correspond to as many names for God - is
executed amongst weapons and bones scattered about a battlefield.
This pious man continues to pray and weep while he awaits the
Messiah, not satisfied that he has already seen so many other cruel
Messiahs in action. He is the most sincere, the most moving, the
most honest character in the performance. His heart is brimming
over with hope, but his head does not understand and his eyes do
not want to see. Does his stubborn faith suggest, perhaps, that
there is no end to the victories of fanaticism and that history
teaches us nothing? Does he represent the innocent earth into which
idolatry and violence can push their robust roots? Is he the
incarnation of the saying according to which only good faith is
worse than bad faith?
Created in Holstebro, first in the
"white room" and later in the "red room".
Roberta Carreri, Else Marie
Laukvik, Tage Larsen, Francis Pardeilhan, Julia Varley, Torgeir
Scenic space: Luca
Ruzza / Odin Teatret
Bjerregaard / Odin Teatret
directing: Eugenio Barba
director: Christoph Falke
actors speak a reinvented Coptic, Koine Greek and Yiddish.
Number of spectators per
214 performances from March
1985 to June 1987
Argentina, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany,
Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay,