Three Kingdoms is a blackly entertaining and unsettling detective story-cum-parable about the devil in us all, international human trafficking and the changing state of Europe.
As the severed human head of an Estonian woman is found in a river in Hammersmith, two British detectives set off in search of her origins in Europe and how she came to be found dead. Accompanied by a Mephistophelian German detective acting as their guide, they gradually sink deeper and deeper into the world of prostitution and international human trafficking. Fighting to cross international borders and language barriers, they enter a nightmarish world that will change one of them forever.
Telling the stories of trafficked women, gangs and the police forces across Europe that attempt to control them, this dark thriller explores an international business where the goods are not products, but people.
Questioning and undermining not just tenets about the nature of Europe with its old and new borders, Three Kingdoms also explodes moral certainties. With good and evil presented not as polarized forces but as disturbingly shifting, overlapping and contradictory, the play provocatively unbalances convictions of truth, ethical codes, violence and justice.
This edition also includes a preface with contributions from playwright Simon Stephens, German director Sebastian Nübling and Estonian dramaturg Eero Epner, discussing this uniquely collaborative and tri-lingual project.
The play was presented in Tallinn at Teater NO99 in Estonia on 17 September 2011, before opening at the Munich Kammerspiele, Germany, on 15 October 2011, and at the Lyric Hammersmith, London, on 3 May 2012.