By Klaas Tindemans (Brussels, Belgium)
German translation from the Flemish by Uwe Dethier
“Bulger” is based on an authentic crime which took place in Liverpool in 1993. Two ten year old truants abducted a two-and-a-half year old boy from a shopping centre and subsequently killed him. They were tried and judged as if they were adults. Yet the play is neither a reconstruction of the murder nor the legal process that followed. Tindemans made the decision to approach the work from the culprits’ point of view. In the prologue they relate with little emotion how they kidnapped a small child, played with him, threw stones at him, tied a string around his neck, and finally left him for dead lying on a railway track.
After the prologue the setting changes to the present day. As each scene progresses we gain a better understanding of who the children really are. We are amazed at how “normal” they are, and how their talk, their social situation, and their imagination seem so familiar to us. We can also recognize the fascination with cruel games. The play transports us to a logic which seems to blur the distinction between good and evil. Although the prologue has laid out the children’s actions in the most brutal terms their behaviour and comments are somehow likeable. We do not want to admit to ourselves that innocence and guilt can be so closely connected, or that imagination can become reality so easily, or that evil can be so banal. “We were old enough to end up in prison, but too young for anyone to listen to us. They thought children like us came from another planet.” “Bulger” is a shocking tale, because it is not about monsters: it is about children; they could be our own, or they could be ourselves.
German translation from the Dutch by Barbara Buri
Klaas Tindemans was born in Amsterdam in 1959 and now lives in Brussels. After studying philosophy of law he became a research assistant at K.U. Leuven in the Centre for Advanced Legal Studies. In 1996 he completed his doctorate on “Law and Tragedy. The Legal Scene in the Archaic Polis.” He is currently a dramaturg at the Antwerp acting collective De Roovers and the Brussels youth theatre Bronks; he wrote and produced his first play “Bulger” for the latter in 2006. In addition he teaches in postgraduate drama studies programmes at RITS in Brussels and the University of Antwerp. He has published works on jurisprudence and youth theatre in Brussels and translated Euripides’s “Medea”.
Scenic Arrangement Johan Simons
Dramaturgy Koen Tachelet
Read by Brigitte Hobmeier, Sylvana Krappatsch and Thomas Schmauser