«Just Call Me God» / John Malkovich
A Dictator's Final Speech
28.03.2017 20:00, Grand Auditorium
John Malkovich comédien (Satur Diman Cha, Head of State and General of the Armies of the United People’s Republic of Circassia, called the Dictator)
Sophie von Kessel comédienne (Caroline Thomas, attractive and successful journalist in her early forties, chief interviewer for NCC-Tv)
Martin Haselböck orgue, music director
Michael Sturminger director, author
Just Call Me God, billed as “the last speech of a dictator”. It is a collaboration between the actor, Austrian director/dramatist Michael Sturminger and the organist and period instrument conductor Martin Haselböck.
The action centres around the character of Satur Diman Cha, a deluded despot with illusions of grandeur, profoundly violent tendencies and diamond shoes played by John Malkovich. Satur is styled to reflect all the extravagance we have come to expect from despotic rulers, but the production makes it almost painfully clear just how exaggerated, self-created and totally false this performance of power is. Highlighting the idea of power as a performance, the play itself is set in a grand concert hall, supposedly built under the desert to celebrate Satur’s rule. The play begins with a dark stage, the only action beamed out from two large hanging screens showing footage of a troop of soldiers being filmed as they progress through a dark building. In a bold move which allows technology to blend with live performance, the soldiers suddenly appear in the concert hall before the audience, while the image of them on the screens continues. The presence of the live recording is constant throughout the play and at its most powerful it is used to show Satur’s face becoming increasingly distorted by pixilation as he reveals how power has come to him and unwillingly alludes to its slipping through his grasp. Caroline Thomas, a photojournalist for an American news channel who accompanied the soldiers in order to document the demise of Satur and with the secret hope of gaining interview rights with him.
Very impressive setting but the problem is: what is the interest on the insight of the thinking and the emotional situation of a dictator of the type Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi?