The production Du er Knut («You Are Knut») begins when one of the strangest trials in the history of Norway ends: After the Second World War, charges are brought against Assistant Commissioner Knut Rød, who was responsible for the deportation of Jews from Oslo and Akershus in 1942. But he is acquitted and the matter is hushed up. Knut Rød continued to work on the Oslo police force until his retirement in the 1980s.
Du er Knut was staged at Black Box Theatre in August 2011, and was a part of the Norwegian playwrights’ festival (Dramatikerfestivalen) that same year. Significant portions of the drama are based on documents from the trial in 1946.
The production was developed and staged in collaboration with the independent theatre group Asklepios hane — the members of which are Janne Heltberg Haarseth, Sigurd Myhre, Ingeborg Sundrehagen Raustøl, Herman Bernhoft and Marie Blokhus.
The production was awarded the Friends of Torshovteatret’s prize for production of the year in 2011.
Anette Therese Pettersen in Dagsavisen 29.08.11
“The time difference is absolved and the questions asked are just as pertinent today as they were 70 years ago. ‛We must look at what the individual does with his or her opportunities and limitations,’ to quote Knut Røed’s defence attorney. Five performers, dressed in uniform-like outfits, travel through time. What makes Du er Knut a bold and warm production is that it connects us more closely with something that, in principle, is so remote. In this way the production also demonstrates what a suitable arena the theatre can be for the processing and exploration of difficult themes.”
Therese Bjørneboe in Aftenposten 30.08.11
“In Du er Knut, playwright Øystein Stene gives Knut Rød the floor, having him speak actual statements from the trial itself. Rød explains that he had outstanding holiday time, and therefore could have ‛avoided the incident of Donau’s departure’. ‛But the Jews would not have benefited from that,’ Knut Rød continues. Out of everything that is said on stage, these sentences have the deepest impact. They have, in all likelihood, also had the same impact on the playwright and actors. By mirroring the deportation of the Jews against the tragedy on Utøya island, the production acquires more and more the nature of grief work. But the underlying question is whether the deportation of the Jews should also be a national trauma. An impressive debut work!”
Anne Helene Valberg in Scenekunst 29.08.11
“Du er Knut is an ambitious project, also because it insists on biting into a huge sandwich of themes. When Asklepios Hane succeeds, it is because the main points are permitted to remain up in the air. They do not attack and they do not judge us or judge Knut, but instead they allow us to think the matter over for ourselves. Will you cast the first stone? Will you follow the crowd?»