Oslo theatre to stage play about Breivik

A small Oslo theatre plans to stage a controversial Danish play based on a manifesto written by the Norway gunman who killed 77 people in July 2011, a theatre official said on Monday.

"Naturally, the problems linked to July 22nd have been widely discussed in the public debate for months but the language used has until now been primarily legalese, journalese and, most recently, psychiatric," Kai Johnsen, the artistic director of the Drama House (Dramatikkens hus) told AFP.

"I think art is also an important voice to understand and decipher the problems" raised by the attacks, he said.

The Drama House therefore aims to stage in October a play currently being prepared by Danish artistic director Christian Lollike, who will also take the role of right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

Titled "Manifesto 2083" — a reference to the year Behring Breivik thinks his ideology will triumph — the play is expected to be a monologue based on the 1,500-page manifesto the 33-year-old posted online just before carrying out his twin attacks in Norway.

While the first performance is not expected for months yet, Lollike's plans have already been heavily criticised in Denmark.

In Norway, the head of the association of victims, Trond Henry Blattmann who lost his son in the attacks, called the project "incredibly shocking."

"We have nothing against a debate on views on the extreme right. We know that books, films and why not theatre pieces will see the light of day" focusing on the attacks, he said.

"But we cannot accept this project's format with a monologue based on Behring Breivik's writings," he added.

Faced with the criticism, Johnsen insisted on the importance of the future play.

"We have to have the greatest understanding and greatest respect for what the families of the victims and the survivors are going through," Kai Johnsen responded.

"But it was not only an attack against a certain number of people, their families and their friends. It was an attack against society as a whole," he insisted.

Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe, set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

He then went to Utøya island north-west of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teens, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.