Focus on the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, was during the holidays momentarily transferred onto a stage at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
In a rather informative / educative dance drama, several issues relating to its establishment, composition, operation, people who have appeared before it as well as people who have been indicted were imperceptibly relayed to the audience, who appeared glued to their seats.
Directed by German choreographer Monika Gintersdorfer and visual artist Knut Klaßen, the piece, which is also titled “International Criminal Court”, did not take a position but ensured the free flow of diverse opinions, comments, critiques and even judgments out of the stage.
Gintersdorfer, who has expressed a restrained resistance to empty pomp and superficial entertainment in this piece – employed the use of commando style and other movements by a multi racial cast – as scenes from the court were virtually “paraded” before the audience in theatrical / poetic technique.
Alongside virtuoso monologues / dialogues that contain a sparkling mixture of humor / intelligence, the piece although intended as an investigation into the activities of the International Criminal Court, eventually reached out as a politico/legal piece that exposed the hidden richness of works by Gintersdorder, who is noted for other formidable productions.
Taking into account other trials (including trial by ordeals), “The International Criminal Court” explored the authenticity of the real court in the Dutch city of The Hague and its aims through an effective alternation of speech and dance. Undeniably, the production equally ended up as an incisive piece on the tension between idealism and practice.
An effervescent and dynamic choreographer, Gintersdorfer is spurred on by a different purpose. As one of Germany’s most physical, border-crossing directors, her motivation is not to document alone – in the sense of repeating the original event – but rather to provoke and pose questions.
And she did succeed in posing several questions – why are mostly African leaders on trial, is the court an appropriate forum, will it lead to justice for all, will it help curb the incidence of genocide or war crimes among others – questions that time and history will one day help us answer.
Theater Bremen, Kulturstiftung des Bundes and Goethe-Institut in Ghana sponsored the performance.
By John Owoo