on murder considered as one of the fine arts

A gyilkosság, mint szépművészet
[On Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts] (2012)

Del asesinato considerado como una de las Bellas Artes
Written and Directed by Carlos Rodero
Based on the Novel On Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey

Translated by Bakucz Dóra

Performed by:

Carlos Rodero & Pipó László with Bakucz Dóra

Dramaturg: Carlos Rodero
Props, Lights and Costumes: Carmen Gonzalo
Music: Giuseppe Verdi
Production: MISERO PROSPERO Project

Directing Assistent: Bakucz Dóra

Directed by Carlos Rodero


On Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts [poster]

Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts, based mainly on the texts of Thomas de Quincey, is a monologue full of irony and humor, which explores situations that call into question the ambiguous and contradictory relationship with the violence typical of our times, a devastating critique of those who try to justify or defend it as the easiest solution to complex problems that affect us all.

With a sober staging that includes a chosen few among the public as the real guests at the dinner of the Association of Experts and Connoisseurs of Fine Murder and a text that, while parody totalitarian behavior, also provides clues for going through deep in thought and discussion from a performance created as a game for the enjoyment and pleasure of the inquiring and intelligent viewer.

The dramaturgy has been drown up as a fine puzzle that unfolds with subtlety a gear that runs thanks to the manipulation of words with the aim of hiding or disguising the worst atrocities.



The murder … is the staging of one of the most popular texts of Thomas de Quincey from a specific, personal dramaturgical treatment. Involves two characters: the vice president of the Foundation Experts Murder Knowing that monologue and goes to members of the Foundation members, alternating the first person with the second and a waiter, dumb character character, however, have a decisive influence on the course of events. The period for the representation is about 90 minutes. With the minimum possible resources, it is the best possible performance out of the text, the actors, space and other technical elements.


First, the outrageous hypocrisy with which some distinguished members of our society and cults seek the death of other human beings, even justify convoluted and smug intellectual judgments after which other reasons, more practical but almost always lurk unspeakable. Second, you can detach the lightness or frivolity with which often is human life in contemporary artistic performances and film, for example.

There is also a sub that runs through the work and is the epitome of a certain kind of contemporary art is a form of murder, a kind of multiple crime against everything and everyone, even against the artist.


Humor is the major strength of the treatment of the work. A black, intelligent humor, which culminates in irony and parody, sometimes tinged surreal. We also intend to strengthen everything possible the spectacular staging with the most resources without forgetting the simplicity and elegance of highlighting the essential.


Vice President of the Foundation, founding member from the distant origins of this, has lived and developed his work for years in the shadow of the CHAIRMAN, also the founder member. Despotic and arrogant man of character, has always despised and ridiculed his colleague temperament weaker than had to suffer the stigma of eternal second, although it has always been sure of his intellectual superiority and his enormous talent. Unable to cope with his superior has endured all kinds of humiliation and impotence precisely this has fueled irreversibly implacable rancor.

The night of the incident, using the traditional annual dinner with members of the Foundation is also presenting the book The Legacy of Genius. Plagiarism or overcoming an ambitious and detailed study written by our Vice President and published by Editorial Thanatos collection Illustrious Crimes today.

After a hearty dinner of gargantuan dimensions, which has also abused as usual all kinds of wines and spirits in the forced break before dessert PRESIDENT rises from the table to meet their needs bowel. Moments later will follow the vice president, also absenting dining, to remote services in the building. There the two men meet, standing in front of the marble latrines with their faces a few centimeters from a huge husked mirror. PRESIDENT break the tense silence ranting against the book, mercilessly criticizing his style and writing and strongly arguing the lack of talent of its author. We imagine what can be a relentless chanting of annihilating rhetoric toned with a brutal speech and we can see reflected in the mirror the increasing pallor of poor VICE in an unexpected gesture, without even giving your partner the opportunity to climb the pants zipper grabs tightly by the collar. After a while you crave that very brief, the Vice President may check with astonishment that just burst her skull mate urination, very effectively silencing his hurtful speech.

After awkwardly clean blood stains in the mirror and white wall tiles and hide something hastily body PRESIDENT, VICE back to our room visibly broken but perhaps experienced a wild, unknown until then in his joy inside. At that time they are already serving desserts and digestive liquors and smiling slightly haggard and limping he will take his place at the table, next to the now empty chair PRESIDENT.


We are in the dining room of the headquarters of the Foundation Expert Connoisseurs of Murder, the night of the annual dinner attended by members of the Foundation. It is a company dinner by the treasury to honor all those who have stood out for their activity during the year, to exchange experiences and to discuss possible future projects. It is a luxurious dinner, where nothing is lacking and where the chairman, after dessert, always fail to overwhelm your audience with a fiery speech on eternal values ​​that sustain us and how much we do to serve honor our sick society that does not vary much from year to year.

Tonight, in addition the publication of the book written by the vice president, after having left in search of the CHAIRMAN, returns alone to the dining room, his face contorted something, babbling banter and jokes with members of the head table without presents none of them can barely understand what the hell is talking about as he heads towards his chair, as usual, is next to the president who still empty, showing an absence that as time passes it is becoming increasingly difficult to explain.

The public, drunk and resigned, waiting for the moment that the President will deliver his ineffable speech. But this still does not appear and surprisingly is the vice president who takes the floor in place. He rises from his chair, hits a teaspoon a crystal goblet with more force than necessary and addresses the audience. From the outset it is clear that is improvising, because, despite his book tonight show, has not been prepared because it was the President who had reserved a few words for the event, having strictly forbidden to say anything. It will begin with generalities about the art of murder, which are and have always been the foundation of the philosophy of the Foundation will continue talking about the book and its protagonist, the criminal of today has imitating first and overcome later with genius the Ratcliff Highway crimes committed by his inspiring John Williams in 1811 in the British capital.

The waiter serving tables and working at the Foundation for years realizes that something unusual is happening. In one of its dining outlets, while Vice President continues his discourse, you discover the corpse of the President. But because of the deep admiration for the vice president and his secret ambitions to become his personal assistant, returning to the dining room will become your accomplice and try, by all means, let him know the unfortunate murderer yes I know, but you’re with him, you can count on my silence and my support.

The vice president, at a certain moment of his monologue, perhaps spurred on by everything you have eaten that night or just an unfortunate guilt, assist with horror to the unbearable sight of the president who will listen impassively, sitting in the audience. And of course, as often happens in these cases, he and only he can see, perhaps in different places each time.

VICE deterioration is becoming more visible and their speech, sometimes rambling and disjointed, will shift obsessively in the crimes described in great exalted gory details that will lead inevitably to an acute aphasia and confess his crime before the audience applaud as the waiter delighted with unanimity. This reaction, quite logically among those who value and defend the aesthetic motives for the killing at the expense of moral void and / or sink the speaker in a contradictory catharsis. They have finally recognized his talent, though perhaps too late…


Aside from the vice president and the waiter physically present throughout the work, we must also consider the President as a person of great prominence, absent from the scene but intensely present through behavior and allusions of the other two characters. And the real audience, I fictionalized as dinner guests, members of the Foundation.

The vice president is a weak man, an intellectual prig. It is far from being a man of action. Has spent his life talking about big crimes of the authors he admires a greater or lesser extent, but himself, until tonight, he has never killed anyone. A philosopher, a theorist is considered. Despite his extensive knowledge of Arts and Philosophy, his spirit is possessed by a corrosive inferiority complex, both features make it, as often happens in a dangerous guy. What may seem cynical or sarcasm for those who hear it really means to be a man who despite all the atrocities that says is taken seriously and believed himself sometimes with heartbreaking candor everything that defends and argued . It illuminates his mediocre existence with all sorts of chemical stimulants, especially those that produce calming effects and inspire you when carrying out their work. And suffering from vision problems and mild aphasia, perhaps caused by excessive consumption of some drugs.

The waiter is a small, uneducated man, without any formal training, who aspire to a position ever achieved by use of scarce talent he possesses. What is a little reassuring combination. It is sibilino and their lack of knowledge makes up with an insatiable curiosity that leads us to qualify for intrusive. Smart enough to know what to do at all times, especially to recognize an advantage when it occurs.

The president is a tyrant, cruel and unjust, which has an enormous culture, but lives stuck in a glorious past that in his own opinion, there will never be repeated. Despotic and arrogant, not afraid to despise and humiliate those around him and whom he considers inferior to him. Constantly dissatisfied to see that reality is only a kludge compared to what he imagines, dreams or plans nonstop. There has never killed because intimately knows that crime would never live up to their planning.

The nationality of the characters corresponds to the country where the work is, always showing all admiration tinged with envy and other feelings mixed culture, mentality and British customs.

The characterization of the characters must be raised strongly and as attractive as possible, as we consider this as one of the great strengths of the staging almost the same level as dramatic text.


The stage is unique, has a large dining room which borders suggesting that darkness is immersed in a much larger, disturbing and unknown space. This room is enabled for a massive dinner, with large tables (where the actual audience share and the performance space with the actor will sit) led by the head table (occupied by actual government, the empty chair of the President and Vice President). This room is a room of the headquarters of the Foundation, maybe a function room, dining room converted for the occasion. Inside the Foundation is a baroque, dark, luxurious, overloaded with details such as lamps, rugs, curtains and mirrors that can be simply hinted at the staging site.

On the tables there are bowls full, coffee cups, overflowing ashtrays. It is time for the desktop. The tablecloths are stained and full of breadcrumbs.

Apart from the theatrical lighting, warm and dark team, which suggest an oppressive atmosphere there at all tables with candles and ornate chandeliers quite consumed and especially the presidential table rest under a huge crystal chandelier cast some light bulbs or about to melt.

In the background, invading a space ambitions horizon, we see the huge reproduction of a painting like Saturn devouring a son of Goya, who may be changing in size or color, toward or away by a kind of diabolical zoom, disfigured even by different times of representation.

We are in the country or in the city where the work actually represents, always adapting local references with names you will recognize immediately the audience attending the play.


At the time of the representation we are at the present time, either a Friday or Saturday night. Scenic time fully consistent with real time and being the audience immersed in an experience that could really happen throughout the 90 minutes duration of the work. Thus, the present character is this public.

However, thanks to the theme of the book, he at times takes us to the time of London, 1811.


The text consists of the following blocks:

The discursive-theoretical apparatus on art from the book of Thomas de Quincey’s murder considered one of the Fine Arts, from a rigorous selection adjusted to the general intentions of staging murder. This text suffers some manipulations in updating its language to the present day and also time to replace the names of cities and dates. It should also be structured to have a proper theatrical pace. In fact, it acts as proof of what has made the vice president, and he used to try to relativize his murder. It will come to him, perhaps when blame the torture or whenever also curry favor with his audience.

The text related to the presentation of the book and its contents.
The comparison of the two murderers. The main function of update crimes using copycat strategy, an actual murderer and comparing the model, the murderer of Ratcliff Highway.

The required text (combined with the actions or stage movement) to suggest what happened to the President. In the “apparitions” of this, the vice president will speak directly.

The text developed in improvisations anchored in the body of the global context in which the participants vice dinner, that is, the actual government is headed.


The language used by Vice President must obviously be updated without thereby losing its pedantic style and passé. It has some linguistic tics that help enrich the characterization of the character and do something flashier. When speaking of the original crimes can reach a kind of linguistic frenzy to identify your passion with the language of the time. Since it is a man who talks or meet many languages ​​including Latin and ancient Greek, this also plays not only to characterize his learning or pedantry, but to create scenes of comic showing a somewhat overwhelming syndrome Babel sometimes seizes this enthusiastic speaker.


We can imagine a kind of music that is heard over dinner, background, composed of excerpts from operas that deal in one way or another crime, such as Verdi’s Macbeth. Obviously when we would hear only the interest, probably on rare occasions. Perhaps, among the vast and overwhelming culture of vice president also is the talent to memorize the lyrics of some passages in these operas, driven by his exultant mood will not have to hesitate to sing as a quote to illustrate whatever is He is saying, as it does with the texts of classical philosophers. In fact, apart from music to create an environment, it could also have an ironic role of theatrical solemnity that is showing our character.


Another attraction points of the staging is to involve the real public of the work as much as possible. From a proposed actor during the tests work the different lines of action in this regard will be discussed. First, the public cohabits with the characters sharing the same space, reaching sits on the dining tables where dinner of the Foundation, some even sit at the head table is held. Secondly, the vice president addressed them, customizing his speech often includes individually to an audience member. The waiter, to serve drinks and maybe more games can also develop in parallel with the public to help, support or explain what is happening. Finally, the apparitions of the assassinated President, which in principle can only see Vice President could also be confused with occasional clueless another spectator.


To support public fictionalization perhaps you could turn to strategies outside representation, before it starts it is in the lobby of the theater. For example, the playbill may be the dinner menu, the music that exists in the input is the same as that in the room, etc.