HOW TO KILL A TYRANT
A Question of Resistance
A Documentary Theater Project
At what point do civilians take up arms? Is it justifiable to kill and be killed to defend democracy and freedom? Might there even be an ethical duty to resist, in certain historical situations?
In the last part of Costa Compagnie’s six-year “HOW TO – Trilogy” about Monika Ertl, the daughter of Leni Riefenstahl’s cameraman is again the reference point. She joined the Bolivian Liberation Army in the late 1960s and executed the officer of the fascist military dictatorship who had Che Guevara and his successors killed. She chose the path of violence reminiscent of a tyrannicide in Ancient Greece.
In addition to Monika Ertl, this time the focus also lies on other women of contemporary history and the present who chose the path of armed resistance: Madeleine Riffaud, who still lives in Paris today, shot a German officer there in 1944 as a fighter of the Résistance, was then tortured for weeks and finally became a war correspondent after the liberation. Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, who with her husband Serge chose the non-violent path of justice and activism until today. As well as the Ukrainian women Zhenya Zakrevska, human rights lawyer, and Helena Maksyom, documentary film director, who voluntarily decided to fight on the frontlines themselves after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
During the research phase, the artists also filmed at sites of German war crimes in Oradour, Izieu and Paris in France and interviewed Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, and spoke to Regis Debray, a philosopher, author and comrade-in-arms of Che Guevara and Monika Ertl.
In Ukraine, they interviewed women soldiers on the frontline near Kharkiv in early August 2022, women who volunteered to train for armed combat to defend their country from the Russian attack. They also documented the partially destroyed memorials against the German “Holocaust by Bullets” in Babyn Jar and Drobyzkyj Jar as well as the present life, bomb attacks and destruction in the cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv.
In times of war and oppression, a theater piece and a documentary are created about the question whether there might be an ethical obligation to resist against state terror and what this might mean for the individual.
Writer & Director Felix Meyer-Christian Stage Design Lea Kissing Costume Design Zoë Sebanyiga Camera, Edit Thomas Oswald Music Marcus Thomas
A production by Costa Compagnie.
Research co-funded by Theater Bremen.