This opera examines the trauma present in the International Criminal Court and reveals the tragedy inherent in its existence as a global institution. This is enacted through a chronological dissection of the ICC, from it’s conception through the signing of the Rome Statute to it’s ongoing critique from the international community.
To release the ICC from it’s Sisyphean fatigue, we provide a second act that aims to resolve the paradox that is: the global community both needs to behave ethically and cooperatively, so that the ICC is able to prosecute their very own unethical international crimes. In the opera, this loop is broken by the ICC employing a world police force that enforces global jurisdiction, which comes at the cost of behaving unethically and immorally themselves— in turn committing crimes against humanity.
We use balance to speak about ideas of justice. Balance is an attempt to reverse the actions of an event to maintain stasis. Human ideas of balance tend to go against entropy, and require effort to maintain. The judiciary system acts as a symbolic attempt to retain balance and order. Whilst the ICC can not go back in time and prevent, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression it, instead, acts to understand these events and define a narrative of absolute truth regarding them; once these events are understood, an act of punishment is delivered, restoring a balance to the universal values of justice.
Through each element of the production balance is used to emphasise the attempts from the ICC to fulfil its role as a global institution, and the imbalance inherent in the global communities response to it. This act of balance and imbalance is played out within the productions; music, libretto, set and performance.
This scene was performed at the Dutch National Opera in May 2018.
Performer: Kaylee Spivey Good
Photography: Kim Krijnen