The Unprotected. Les Zéros-Morts

An international coproduction - supported by the TURN Fund

„Die Schutzlosen. Les Zéros-Morts" - Der Schauspieler Issa Tiendrebeogo während des Castings in Burkina Faso, Foto: Daniel Grohmann

The French term “zéro-mort” means “no casualty”, but can also be interpreted as a “casualty with no value”. This theatre production investigates the European Union’s and German government’s policies on immigration and asylum. How do we deal with people whose lives are threatened and who ask for help? With the introduction of the “Tampere Programme” in 1999, politicians promised to make the European Union an “area of freedom, security and justice”. The concept is analogous to the ancient Greek principle of a sanctuary for refugees. But the fact of the matter is, Europe is overwhelmed by the refugee situation. Since then, we’ve seen European borders and the North African coastline monitored by drones, offshore sensors, satellite-aided search systems and biometric identity control. The play revealed the reality behind the illusion of a paradisiacal Europe and showed how Western business policies have a vested interest in keeping African states economically dependent. It also takes apart the generally negative clichés regarding asylum and refugees and replaces them with a language, bearing the poetic signature of the West African writer Paul Zoungrana, which allows for a more open-minded perspective.

This issue was the focus of the theatre coproduction “The Unprotected. Les Zéros-Morts.”, organised by the Thuringian Theatre and Philharmonic Orchestra (TPT) and the Burkinan Carrefour International Théâtre de Ouagadougou (C.I.T.O.). Examining how one differentiates between “valuable” and “worthless” life, the Burkinan author and dramatist Paul Zougrana wrote a play based on texts by Euripides and Aeschylus, factual and legal texts, a research trip to Lampedusa and improvisations. The stage director Bernhard Stengele oversaw the joint rehearsals in German, French and Mooré in Ouagadougou und Altenburg. The play was shown to audiences in Altenburg, Gera and Ouagadougou. The project aimed to intensify the exchange between both theatres which began with the joint production “Les funérailles du desert” in 2012.

"The Unprotected. Les Zéros-Morts." - a tragedy by Paul Zoungrana and Bernhard Stengele based on Euripides’ and Aeschylus’ “The Heracleidae”. In cooperation with the Carrefour International Théâtre de Ouagadougou.

Directed by: Bernhard Stengele; Set design: Gesine Pitzer; Costume design: Martine Somé; Dramaturgy and translations: Nora Wieczorek; With members of the acting ensemble of the Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen and the Carrefour International Théâtre de Ouagadougou (C.I.T.O.) in Burkina Faso.


Workshop in Altenburg (Landestheater) 24 – 30 Jun. 2014 (with a break between 26 and 28 June 2014)
Workshop in Ouagadougou (C.I.T.O.) 28 Jul. – 4 Aug. 2014
Accompanying programme in Altenburg (Landestheater) 8 – 22 Nov. 2014

Performances in Altenburg
22 Nov. 2014, 7:30 pm, premiere
25 Nov., 10, 27 and 29 Dec. 2014, 7:30 pm

Performances in Gera
13 Dec. 2014, 7:30 pm, premiere
14, 17 and 22 Dec. 2014, 7:30 pm

Premiere in Ouagadougou
7 Jan. 2014

TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund (opens in a new window)


Theater und Philharmonie Thüringen

Theaterplatz 19

04600 Altenburg (external link, opens in a new window)