Generation Jeans is an autobiographical monologue about rock music and resistance written and performed by BFT co-founder Nikolai Khalezin, with music by DJ Laurel.
When Belarus was part of the Soviet Union its people were prohibited to wear jeans or listen to rock music. The buying or selling of either one could result in arrest at the hands of the KGB. Detained during a demonstration in 1998, Khalezin offers a candid account of the degradations of incarceration, the blossoming of young love and how denim became a symbol of freedom under the dictatorship.
Generation Jeans is an ode to the people who are not bound by age and who fight for the freedom of their country. Every country has this generation.
‘Khalezin gives an arresting performance. The overwhelming sense you are left with – to borrow a phrase from the jeans revolution – is that life under a “dictatorship is shit”.’ – The Guardian
‘An autobiographical monologue performed by its writer, the ponytailed Nicolai Khalezin …with skill and subtlety… is as honest about himself as it is unsparing in its description of the degradations of confinement…You go to the theatre to hear a story; you end up having met a man who, in his mixture of self-mockery and seriousness, shows a spiritual resilience that makes dictatorship look even more inflexible and absurd.’ - Michael Billington, The Guardian
Written by Nicolai Khalezin with the participation of Natalia Kaliada
Directed and performed by Nicolai Khalezin
Live Musical fusion by DJ Laurel (Laur Biarzhanin)
Translation by Yuri Kaliada
Stage Manager: Siarhei Kvachonak
Assistant Directors: Svetlana Sugako and Nadia Brodskaya
Producers: Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin
Performed in Russian and Belarusian with English surtitles
Running time 1 hour 20 minutes
Generation Jeans was first performed on 17 March 2006, underground in Belarus