13/02/2017 - 18/02/2017
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29/09/2015 - 03/10/2015
10/03/2016 - 12/03/2016
26/08/2017 - 27/08/2017
31/08/2017 - 02/09/2017
“I began to see the world through Breivik’s eyes.”
COULD YOU RADICALIZE YOURSELF?
On July 22, 2011 Anders Breivik killed 69 people on the island of Utøya and detonated a bomb outside the Norwegian Parliament. Before the terror attack, he sent out a 1500 page manifesto containing everything from racist propaganda, philosophical reflections and bomb manuals to interviews he conducted with himself together with diary entries.
In one day Breivik killed 77 people and wounded more than 200. How do you respond to such an atrocity? Danish theatre makers Christian Lollike, Olaf Højgaard and Tanja Diers decided to create Manifesto 2083, a play based on Breivik’s manifesto. In doing so, they quickly found themselves at the center of a media frenzy that at one point had a poll on national television on whether the play should be allowed to go ahead. It was performed in a 60 seat theatre.
Manifesto 2083 is a solo show performed by Edwin Wright (Top of the Lake, The Glass Menagerie) who was recently seen playing opposite Michael Fassbender in Slow West. Performing in this play sums up the surreal world of actors: one day you are on set with one of the world’s most high profile actors; the next you are in a 100 seat theatre in Auckland.
Director and producer, Anders Falstie-Jensen has had the play on his mind for years. Says Falstie-Jensen: “I am Danish so I find it very interesting that when Manifesto 2083 was on in Denmark it was very much about Breivik. In a New Zealand context however, it’s less about him and more about the mindset of a Lone Wolf, the desire for a greater cause and the ease with which one can be radicalized. Breivik saw himself as a Knights Templar fighting in an apocalyptic war against Islam. In a way he is a western version of an Isis fighter.”
The production will be on at The Basement Theatre, Auckland’s undeniable home of exciting new theatre. Basement producer Gabrielle Vincent says: “When Anders Falstie-Jensen sent me the script of Manifesto 2083 I had never read any play so confronting and real. The piece deals with a hugely topical, political situation and is a type of theatre we rarely see in New Zealand. Manifesto 2083 pushes the boundaries and will challenge Auckland audiences. The Basement is known for programming cutting edge work and Manifesto 2083 is taking our programming to the next level.”
Christian Lollike who directed and co-wrote the original season of Manifesto 2083 is one of Denmark’s most respected playwrights. Never afraid to shy away from difficult topics his work again and again demonstrates how theatre can be used a way of understand events, social trends and changes in politics and society.
DUNEDIN FRINGE 2016
‘Profound and challenging’ – Theatreview
‘In a climate where the average piece of theatre has little ambition to tackle real-life horrors, audiences will find something unique here. A politically-charged piece of writing that refuses to be anything less than thought-provoking.’ – lumiere reader
‘This productions has extreme power’ – Theatre Scenes
Allen Hall Theatre, 90 Union Street East, Dunedin
Thu 10 Mar – Sat 12 Mar 2016, 8:00pm
$20.00 – $25.00
Get tickets »
Manifesto 2083 is an original Sort/Hvid production. It premiered October 15 2012 in Copenhagen. The text is developed in collaboration between Christian Lollike, Olaf Højgaard and Tanja Diers.
Previous works by The Rebel Alliance:
The Orderly – ‘Solo theatre as it should be.’ Capital Times
A Night of French Mayhem – ‘finely crafted…boldly innovative’ NZ Herald
Grace – ‘Artistic Excellence’ Theatreview
Yours Truly – ‘The Rebel Alliance could easily be mistaken for an international touring company’ NZ Herald
Standstill – ‘Marvellous’ NZ Herald, Best of Theatre, 2011
Nelson Arts Festival 2016
“A politically-charged piece of writing that refuses to be anything less than thought-provoking.” THE LUMIÈRE READER
“For me, this was art at its most powerful. It changed my mind.” AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
“This production has extreme power” THEATRESCENES
“Profound and challenging” THEATREVIEW
WINNER: Outstanding Performance, Dunedin Fringe Festival 2016
NOMINATED: Best Theatre, Dunedin Fringe Festival 2016
Warning: contains coarse language and adult themes.
Fri 14 & Sat 15 Oct 2016, 8pm
70 mins, no interval
Plus TicketDirect Service Fee
February 13 – 18 2017
Tickets: $15 – $30
04 801 7992
TARANAKI ARTS FESTIVAL 2017
“Manifesto 2083 is a profound and challenging piece of theatre… Just make sure to bring a friend: you will need to talk about it afterwards,” Theatreview
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace
Sat, Aug 26, 6pm
Sun, Aug 27, 4pm
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Performance: Edwin Wright
Direction: Anders Falstie-Jensen
Design: John Verryt, Elizabeth Whiting & Ruby Reihana-Wilson
Theatre , Solo ,
1 hr 10 mins
Thought-provoking and well-produced
Review by Erin Harrington 01st Sep 2017
There are two reasons I am interested in seeing Manifesto 2083, a one-man show presented by collective The Rebel Alliance, which centres on Norweigian far-right terrorist and mass murderer Anders Breivik.
The first is that I find the show’s performer, Edwin Wright, to be a really compelling actor. Wright plays Olaf Højgaard, an actor who is trying to write a show based on Breivik’s mass murder of 77 people in attacks in Norway in 2011. (The original and deeply controversial production of this play, in Denmark in 2012, featured Olaf playing a fictionalised meta-version of himself.)
Olaf is trying to better understand Breivik’s background, motivations and politics, so he discursively, even didactically, talks us through some of the social and political background to – and his own interpretations of – Breivik’s history, personality, and actions. At the centre of this is Breivik’s massive, rambling 1500 word manifesto, which had been widely dispersed online. Here, Wright offers a tremendously focused performance. He is, by turns, genial, welcoming, curious, imperious, frightening, impassioned and frustrated.
As the play wears on, Olaf’s curiosity about Breivik – and, perhaps, his pre-existing interest in or sympathy for what we now think of as ‘alt-right’ politics – becomes all-consuming. He pretty quickly starts going full ‘method’, dressing like Breivik, living like him, taking the same steroids, all of which asks us to think about how radicalisation might happen, and how a flickering flame of disgruntlement might flash into a vicious, murderous inferno given the right sort of fuel.
Whatever lines existed between Olaf and Breivik at the outset of the play first blur and then collapse, such that it is hard to tell if we are watching character Olaf ‘performing’ his (idealised? sympathetic?) version of Breivik, or Wright performing as Breivik (as separate from his portrayal of Olaf), or Olaf embracing his inner impulses by metamorphosing the man he so obviously comes to admire, despite flickers of revulsion.
This requires some deft and precise work on the part of Wright, and I am impressed at the way these nuances and shifts are handled. They are well-supported by Ruby Reihana-Wilson’s thoughtful and strategic lighting. The performance space, Papa Hou, is also an ideal space in which to present this piece, as its openness allows a clear, tangible and uncomfortable connection between audience and performer.
The second reason I want to see this is because earlier this year, a reviewer wrote a one sentence review of the play – namely, that she refused to review it and give the ideas presented in it more oxygen – and this sparked a flurry of discussion about the role of a play such as this, the obligations of a reviewer, and how it is we are to engage with difficult works of theatre.
I can see where that reviewer is coming from – does a play like this further promote Breivik as a type of far-right folk hero? Does it ask us to question shifts into everyday violence? Does it emphasise the individual at the expense of the community, or vice versa? Does it posit that exposure to material such as this manifesto is in itself dangerous? Does it ask us to understand Breivik as a broken and angry individual, or emphasise the banality of evil, or dismiss him as a lone nutjob? Does its retroactive framing of Breivik’s difficult childhood, and an emphasis upon his vanity and fragile sense of masculinity, offer some sort of an excuse? The play is certainly timely – and unfortunately, relentlessly so – and recent events, such as those in Charlottesville, VA, are namechecked during long litanies of other expressions of contemporary right-wing violence.
I am left with significantly more questions than answers, including about what it is the play is trying to achieve; the obnoxious teacher in me asks, “What’s your thesis statement?” I am unsure if this complex and kaleidoscopic sense of confusion is a bug or a feature – I want to be generous and lean to the latter – but either way Manifesto 2083 is a thought-provoking and well-produced piece of theatre.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Totally subversive and utterly intriguing
Review by Liz Deacle 27th Aug 2017
I not only have a morbid fascination to see a play based on the mind of the serial killer Anders Breivik and playwright Olaf Hojgaard, who analyses him to produce a play, but am curious to examine if an actor, alone on a stage for 65 minutes, can successfully represent such a delicate, controversial subject.
Both characters are played by Edwin Wright. He casually enters the stage, inviting the audience to huddle closer to the centre of the auditorium. He has my attention immediately, but I am not sure if this is part of the show. I am questioning if the man I am seeing addressing a New Plymouth audience is Edwin Wright the actor, or Edwin Wright portraying Olaf. It is the latter and here begins the journey of an hour-long lesson where I continually question my own mind; unable at times to decipher one emotion from the other.
The set. A table, neatly piled with the papers of the manifesto, a black leather office chair. A white board, blank but for the sign of the red Maltese cross which glares with provocation from the centre. A large display board, empty, but for the clumps of pins, waiting to present Olaf’s findings.
It is difficult to interpret whether I am sitting in a theatre or about to watch a lecture. The answer is both. This is a lecture but also it’s theatre: a clever amalgamation of two similar yet opposite nouns which, when brought together, make one.
The lighting design plays a significant role in the success of this creation. Beginning the show with stark whiteness, it gradually becomes dimmer as the characters shift from Olaf to Breivik. Yet executed with such subtlety one questions whether the lights were indeed ever bright at all. It’s sheer genius.
Over the course of the next 60 minutes, we witness Olaf’s character begin to change, to resemble that of his subject matter.
Edwin Wright’s tone brilliantly melts from clipped Kiwi to the voice of Breivik with ease: the obvious yet subtle Scandinavian accent; words tumbling out of his mouth to keep up with themselves.
The chair. Used by each character to represent the other. Sleek, black and angled. Bathed in clever lighting to reveal a silhouette. Resembling the strong masculine frame of the man dressed in black with heavy boots as feet.
The pins on the display board are representative of Breivik’s victims. Clumped together in groups along the top, each one recklessly pulled off when another piece of relevant information about Breivik is uncovered and displayed. Stuck randomly, carelessly, into the board until, by the end of the show the whole area is a mass of different coloured pins leaving the audience somewhat overwhelmed by the image.
The all-powerful moment when Breivik walks to the side of the stage, strides authoritatively through the auditorium … I can feel the tension amongst my fellow audience members. Willing him not to stop beside us. We are quite literally on the edge of our seats. It is both unnerving and brilliant.
It hits me only at the end of the play that we have been manipulated by both Olaf and Breivik, having been asked before the performance began to huddle together in a group within the theatre; to leave no seat between us. I think of Breivik’s victims and admire how the director, Anders Falstie-Jenson, has produced such a haunting piece of art. Perfectly balanced to show how two characters convolute into one.
The representation of each character through the use of the chair. Each man taking his turn to sit deep in the seat of the other.
The lighting, which is a leading factor in the success of this piece, deals its winning hand in the final scene. The unfaltering shadows, cast upon the face of a man who the audience are willing not to move, are magnetising. I am uncomfortable. We are all uncomfortable.
Whatever your political opinions are on such a show, do not miss this brilliant, impressionable, piece of theatre.
This is a brave play to perform. You have to be brave to come and watch it, but watch it you must, to witness what must be one of the theatre’s most challenging and controversial roles portrayed flawlessly by Edwin Wright. It is totally subversive and utterly intriguing.
After 65 minutes I am grateful to be walking out of the theatre. Not through relief that it’s ended but through sheer joyousness. I am grateful to be alive. I want to go and congratulate the actor on a superb performance when I see him come into the foyer after the show, but I find I am almost too afraid to approach him.
This is an unmissable piece of theatre. Brilliantly acted by Edwin Wright, who, rather than having to strive to reach an audience, would have to endeavour not to get so far underneath their skin. You are under my skin Manifesto 2083. And you will be there for quite some time.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Dramatic and thought-provoking
Review by Ewen Coleman 16th Feb 2017
Is giving terrorists air time about their atrocities a good or bad thing? Does it heighten their cause or intensify the opposition against them?
These are but some of the many questions, often without answers, that are asked during the show Manifesto 2083, currently playing in Circa’s Studio Theatre.
The title refers to a 1500-page document that Anders Behring Breivik of Norway sent out on July 22, 2011 before he set off a bomb in Oslo, before going on to nearby Utoya Island and shooting a group of young people at a Workers Youth League summer camp, killing a total of 77 people in all. [More]
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A stark, frightening, accurate reflection
Review by Cassandra Tse 14th Feb 2017
The spectre of Trump hangs over the chillingly prescient Manifesto 2083, an unflinching examination of the modern epidemic of white male radicalisation as exemplified by Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Brevik, who in 2011 bombed a parliament building and carried out a mass shooting of left-wing youth.
Directed by Anders Falstie-Jensen, the show was originally developed by Danish practitioners Christian Lollike, Tanja Diers and Olaf Højgaard, where it met with considerable controversy when announced a mere month after Brevik’s crimes. Even today, the play is an uncomfortable, profoundly shocking watch. It is also a topical and necessary piece of theatre.
A fictionalised version of co-creator Højgaard (Edwin Wright) hears about the mass murder, and is both baffled and fascinated about what could have driven Brevik to commit such acts. As Højgaard’s investigation leads him closer and closer to understanding Brevik, the two men begin to fuse before our eyes. Through Wright’s unnerving, steely-gazed performance, we become witness to the birth of a right wing radical.
Of course, to an audience in 2017, Højgaard’s initial amazement at the idea of a white nationalist terrorist seems hard to imagine. Manifesto 2083 premiered in 2012, a simpler time when we still believed that the arc of history bent towards justice, and there wasn’t a fascist in the White House. It is impossible to think of Brevik now without being reminded of all those who have come since: Elliot Rodger, Dylann Roof, the Quebec mosque shooter.
What makes Manifesto 2083 remain so effective is the foresight of its creators. Instead of writing off Brevik’s actions as the work of a lone psychopath, they place the man in the context of the growing, insidious white supremacist culture that at the time of the play’s first appearance was still thought to be a fringe movement. They toy with, but ultimately resist, the mainstream media’s insistence on pathologizing white male criminals and thus exonerating them by reason of mental instability or ‘a bad childhood’. As Højgaard – or is it Brevik? – declares at one stage: if a member of Al Qaeda bombed a government building and then shot sixty-nine people, no one would look to a psychologist.
As Falstie-Jensen says in his director’s note, this is not the kind of play you can really ‘enjoy’. Apart from a few blackly comedic chuckles at the absurdity of Brevik using a blender to make his bomb powder, it is unrelentingly grim. The extreme violence of Brevik’s ideology is presented without any sense that there is a solution to the rise of white nationalism – though it would be facetious of me to request that a group of theatremakers solve one of the most pressing political problems of our time, it is only natural to want to leave the theatre with a little hope.
One aspect of the writers’ analysis and self-analysis seems notably lacking. In one sequence, Wright as Højgaard strides back and forth around the stage, detailing all the superficial ways that he and Brevik are similar – their shared love of video games, their fantasies about knights in armour. Conspicuous by its absence is the fact that Brevik and Højgaard share the same racial and gender identity. If there’s one place that I think Manifesto 2083 does not go far enough, it is in acknowledging that in Brevik’s predicted race war, Højgaard – as much as he appears to be opposed to Brevik’s philosophies – would be spared; some of us would not.
The design is subtle and unobtrusive: John Verryt’s set is a utilitarian whiteboard, desk and corkboard, which Wright transforms into a conspiracy theorist’s hideaway; Ruby Reihana-Wilson’s lighting keeps the audience unsure of the boundary between actor, playwright and subject as we are by turns lit and in darkness.
Ultimately, if theatre is meant to hold up a mirror to our world, Manifesto 2083 reveals a starker, more frightening, and more accurate reflection than any piece of theatre I’ve seen in recent memory.
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From enthusiastic ‘school lesson’ to chilling intensity
Review by Daniel Allan 15th Oct 2016
While New Zealand was still reeling from its own tragedy in 2011, news came from Europe of a massacre that defied belief. A right-wing extremist named Anders Breivik had terrorized normally peaceful Norway by planting a bomb at the heart of the capital Oslo, and continued to a local island get-away where he fired on and massacred a group of young liberals on a retreat. By the time he was arrested without struggle, 77 lay dead and over 200 more were wounded. The world was stunned and Scandinavia mourned.
As news of Breivik’s motivations and trial spread, a trio of Danish theatre makers made haste to document the killer in the form of a one-man play. In production just one month after the tragedy, it became one of the most controversial theatre projects in Danish history. Five years on, and staged here on the other side of the world, using a Kiwi actor, the rawness has subsided somewhat, and the sting has gone out of this tale. It does nevertheless make for an intriguing hour’s traffic on stage.
We initially meet the unassuming character of Olaf, who is the actor who will be guiding us through this investigation of a murderer. It is quite confusing at first to think that Edwin Wright is playing another actor who is, in turn, going to be playing Breivik. It begs the question of whether it would have been better for Wright to play himself, as Olaf had in the original show, but this is a minor distraction.
Wright, calmly at first and with the enthusiasm of a well-meaning but slightly too invested science teacher, goes about explaining the facts of Breivik’s life and crime. His manifesto, a tome that was widely proliferated by the murderer the day of the massacre, contains his motivations, and Olaf shares his investigations of Breivik with us in his quest to answer the big question: Why did he do it?
The first half hour is little more than a well-staged and thought out school lesson from the 1990s. Olaf pins pictures to a pin-board at the back of the stage as quaint visual stimulus, and writes key notes on a whiteboard. A lot of what transpires is simply read off an A4 page, the details often tumbling by too fast to process. If you have a good attention span and are keen to learn about the psychology of a murderer, then you would be in your element, but personally I find the start of the show too cerebral and un-theatrical for a Friday night.
Despite Wright’s best efforts I am about to start yawning when I detect a shift in the nature of the show. To better understand his subject, Olaf needs to ‘live like Breivik,’ which rings alarm bells if you know anything about method acting. Increasingly, he starts to quote and imitate the murderer and little by little – a diary quote here, some proliferated propaganda there – Breivik joins us in the theatre. Wright handles the transformation subtly with chilling intensity and focussed eye contact. He leads us into the final chapter like liberals to the slaughter, and with the help of some equally subtle lighting and costume design, we are suddenly meeting evil head on.
We are left with many questions: Is our link to ‘the heroic deed’ really lost? Is evil pre-destined or manufactured? Can you lose your sense of morality pursuing a role? And most chillingly of all: Is Anders Breivik the real winner in all this?
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Review by Nick Tipa 12th Mar 2016
Manifesto 2083 deals with the 2011 events in Norway that led to the deaths of 77 people at the hands of right-wing extremist Anders Breivik. Written by Christian Lollike and Olaf Hojgaard, this adaptation is performed by Edwin Wright and directed by Anders Falstie-Jensen.
Manifesto 2083 is an affecting piece of work that is designed to confront, shock and shake the audience out of the complacency of outrage and into dealing with the issues ahead.
The stage set-up for the show is minimal: Wright accompanied only by a table, a whiteboard, a pin board and the manifesto itself. Wright takes us on a journey through the mind of a person determined to radicalise themselves. The show itself follows Hojgaard’s experiments to try to replicate the factors that led to Breivik reaching the breaking point and carrying out the acts that he did.
As the show progresses, less of Hojgaard is seen and more of Breivik comes through. The performance that Wright gives is riveting, and the audience is captivated from start to finish. With tact and skill he subtly transitions from the normal, charismatic Hojgaard, into the menacing, extremist Breivik.
Of particular note is the lighting, designed by Ruby Reihana Wilson, which emphasizes the slow transition of a man falling under his own brainwashing. A number of effective lighting states focus on Wright’s face and some well-timed blackouts draw out the effect of merging personalities.
A piece of theatre that needs to be seen to be understood, Manifesto 2083 deals with subject matter that most would shy away from. However, it does not, and as a result we not only get a glimpse into the mind of the man that perpetrated these horrific deeds, but we also are shown the very real way in which a person can radicalise themselves.
If you get the chance, I thoroughly urge you to go and see this show. It is on for one more night at Allen Hall theatre.
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A challenging openness
Review by Janet McAllister 01st Oct 2015
At the start of this intellectually confronting and complex one-man play, Olaf Hojgaard (Edwin Wright) tells us he was watching the 2011 Tour de France telecast when he first heard about Anders Behring Breivik’s politically-motivated murder of 77 people in 80 minutes in Norway: “I saw a bike race, cycling pundits and a growing body count.”
Fascinated with Breivik, Hojgaard decides to write a play about the terrorist, telling us that he (Hojgaard) wants to be Breivik, to act and think like him, to better understand the killings. (In actuality, the well-written play we’re watching was developed by Danish collaborators Christian Lollike, Tanja Diers and, yes, Olaf Hojgaard.) [More]
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Review by James Wenley 01st Oct 2015
About half-way through Manifesto 2083, actor Edwin Wright, playing actor Olaf Højgaard, begins to chuckle. “Was this your goal?” he asks the image of Anders Behring Brevik, attached to a pinboard behind him. In creating Manifesto 2083, Danish theatre makers Christian Lolike, Tanja Diers and Højgaard were exposing Brevik’s manifesto, his ideology and his words, to a wider audience. The Rebel Alliance’s production has now spread his manifesto to New Zealand. Is there a danger in drawing further attention to his beliefs?
Brevik’s 1500 page manifesto was distributed prior to his attack on members of the Worker’s Youth League on the island of Utøjya, where he killed 77 people and wounded 200. How do you make theatre out of such an atrocity? Should you? One month after the July 22, 2011 attack, the company announced they were making a play about it, and it became, as the program states, “one of the most controversial Danish plays in recent history”. [More]
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Profound and challenging
Review by Chloe Klein 30th Sep 2015
A manifesto is a declaration of ideals. Values and aspirations to strive for. What do you believe? For what cause would you fight as a Knight Templar? What cause would you kill for?
“Well let’s get started then shall we?” And so Edwin Wright embarks as Olaf Hojgaard recounting his exploration into the psyche of Norwegian Anders Brevik, responsible for 77 deaths and more than 200 wounded in July 2011.
Manifesto 2083 began its journey in Denmark only one month after Brevik’s devastating act, to an onslaught of political and media controversy. The anticipated result is a brave and confronting one-man play; a solo lasting just over an hour.
A portable blank whiteboard, three large pin boards, an office chair, and a desk on which Brevik’s 1500 page Manifesto 2083 stands fastidiously make the seamlessly integrated set.
The conversation begins with the Tour de France, Olaf’s introduction to the tragedy and his fascination with Brevik. Beginning as a curiosity and moving towards an obsession, he trawls through Brevik’s life, bomb-making, and the manifesto, all the while collating pieces of Brevik on boards, like a profiler.
Olaf delves into Brevik’s relationships with mental health, human nature and wieldy political concepts, seeking to understand him in every way: his friendships, motivations and habits. The solo, isolated journey to becoming Brevik is smooth, disturbing, and poetic. I believe all of it.
Wright is commanding in his performance; his delivery of Olaf/Brevik is considered and vulnerable. Transitions between the two psyches are flawless, each minute of the hour long solo is committed. I am not for one moment bored, and I have no doubts about the choices of use of long solo, or actor.
We are urged throughout to remember the enemies are political correctness, multiculturism and cultural Marxism, as Olaf navigates through the manifesto. This urging and its rationalisation is provoking. What values do we stand for, as an individual, as a nation, as a planet?
Anders Brevik is not a long dead Nazi fascist and, as he truthfully, passionately proves, he is not alone in his political commitments. Anti-immigration, nationalism, freedom of speech are all hotly contested topics today in Europe and around the world, particularly in light of our current global refugee crisis. And clearly what’s appealing on paper, to some, isn’t always the Utopia dreamed in reality.
I find through Olaf truthful questions in Brevik’s manifesto; do we all want a cause to fight violently? Are we all vain for admiration? Are we honest?
Directed by Anders Falstie-Jensen, Manifesto 2083 is a profound and challenging piece of theatre creatively and technically, as well as a considered, skilful piece of acting. Just make sure to bring a friend: you will need to talk about it afterwards.
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