Conceived, written and directed by

Milo Rau / IIPM – International Institute of Polical Murder

© Marc Stephan

What is the face of Europe, as seen from its borders? The last part of the European trilogy that began with The Civil Wars and The Dark Ages, Empire digs down to Europe’s historical roots, focusing on regions at the crossroads of the great empires of antiquity. For this concluding piece, Milo Rau confronts the European myth with its reality: a reality defined by loss of homelands, uncontrollable migratory movements and border closures. While The Civil Wars examined the rise of extremism and radicalism in Europe, and The Dark Ages addressed the conflicts that have torn the eastern part of the continent to pieces, Empire delves into the tragic destinies of the play’s four actors: a Greek, a Romanian, a Syrian and a Kurd. Marked by war, persecution, exile, death and rebirth, these four biographies paint an epic picture of Europe today, whose borders are in violent chaos. Weaving together several stories, Empire takes the structure of a Greek tragedy, in which the real lives of the four actors are mixed up with those of their stage characters: throughout Maia Morgenstern’s filmography occurs the figure of ‘the mother’; Akilas Karazisis has played all the great roles of Attic tragedy; Rami Khalaf’s journey is a modern-day Odyssey; Ramo Ali owes his freedom from prison in Palmyra to Daesh. Through these four tales of exile, Empire depicts a Europe whose past is marked by countless ruptures and crises, and whose future is still to be reinvented.

1-4 March 2017
Conceived, written and directed by

Milo Rau

Devised with the Cast

Ramo Ali, Akillas Karazissis, Rami Khalaf, Maia Morgenstern

Dramaturgy and research

Stefan Bläske, Mirjam Knapp

Set and costumes

Anton Lukas


Marc Stephan


Eleni Karaindrou

Sound design

Jens Baudisch


Aymrik Pech

Assistant Director

Anna Königshofer

Intern Assistant Director

Laura Locher

Interns Dramaturgy

Marie Roth, Riccardo Raschi


IIPM (translation), Mirjam Knapp (operator)

Executive Production and Tour Management

International Institute of Political Murder (IIPM) Mascha Euchner-Martinez, Eva-Karen Tittmann

Performance times

Wednesday, Friday 8:30pm

Thursday 7:30pm

Saturday 6:30pm

Running time

2 hours


Grande salle


In Arabic, Greek, Romanian and Kurdish

Premiered 1 September 2016 at Theaterspektakel à Zürich, Switzerland.