COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Plans by a Danish theater to stage a play based on the manifesto of Norwegian anti-Muslim extremist Anders Behring Breivik drew harsh criticism from lawmakers and relatives of his victims Thursday.
Director Christian Lollike, head of the small Cafe Teateret in the Danish capital Copenhagen, said he wants to use the confessed killer's text to try and understand his mindset as a means of avoiding a repeat of his July 22 bomb-and-shooting rampage which left 77 people dead.
Lollike told the Politiken newspaper that "it was a terrible tragedy," but "it can happen again."
Lollike was not available for further comment Thursday, but press officer Jeanette Kruse said the report and quotes were correct.
In Breivik's 1,500-page document which was posted online before the attacks, he laid out a blueprint for a nationalist revolution to overthrow governments he claims have let their countries down by allowing Muslim immigrants to settle in Europe.
Per Balch Soerensen, the Danish father of one of the victims, said the play — named "Manifesto 2083" — "is an acceptance of his (Breivik's) acts."
Danish lawmakers have harshly condemned the planned performance, but say they will not intervene, citing freedom of speech.
Flemming Moeller Mortensen, the ruling Social Democratic Party's cultural affairs spokesman, told The Associated Press that news of the play "has left some deep, deep scars, and we're still shaken." He ruled out political intervention, however — "We have artistic liberty in this country," he said.
Pia Kjaersgaard of the opposition Danish People's Party strongly condemned the plan and said it was in "poor taste."
Olaf Hoejgaard is to play Breivik in the monologue play. It is expected to open Aug. 23.
The trial against Breivik starts in Norway April 16.