Theatre, Film, Debate on the Ruins and the Future of Europe
“Behind me the ruins of Europe.” This phrase from part one of The Hamlet Machine, Heiner Müller’s nine-page theatrical text written in 1977, could be interpreted as a description of Hamlet’s current position. Not in front of the ruins, but with his back to them, standing on the cliff, before him the great sea, he tries to find the appropriate words to describe his position, “and spoke with the surf BLABLA”. So the “ruins of Europe” are not the future – by the way, Europe is not described as being a ruin in this sentence – rather, they are the prerequisite, the other side of Hamlet’s struggle to find his own position within the social struggles of his time. Heiner Müller staged his text in Berlin in combination with Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1990, the year of the German reunification when Europe’s history changed its course.
Hamlet on the border between East and West, between the Peaceful Revolution in Eastern Europe and the old system that had claimed the implementation of socialism for itself. “If my drama were yet to occur, my place would be on both sides of the front line, between the fronts and above them.”
Just two years after the Reunification, at the age of 16, Oliver Frljić fled the war that was raging in his home country of Bosnia and settled down in Croatia. Later, he studied philosophy and theatre direction in Zagreb and was invited to bring his highly political way of directing to many important European festivals, among them the Wiener Festwochen. Like Hamlet or Müller he is also an intellectual and artist on the brink between different eras, but centuries or generations apart from them. His production of The Hamlet Machine will be followed by a series of events entitled Europe Machine, curated together with the philosopher and activist Srećko Horvat.