Reviews

London Stories; a shifting point London Stories; a shifting point verity healey November 13, 13:15 “I think the act of sitting and listening, whilst looking into the eyes of a stranger is something that rarely happens in life” writes David Jubb in answer to my question about the pluses and minuses of asking members of the public to narrate their personal fables to an audience of strangers. We are talking about London Stories, a Battersea Arts Centre project where story tellers, all immigrants or refugees, tell the tale of how they came to make London their home. Russia: Belarus Free Theatre calls for the release of jailed Ukranian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov Russia: Belarus Free Theatre calls for the release of jailed Ukranian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov October 15, 8:04 The Belarus Free Theatre, which campaigns for free expression in Belarus, is calling on the British government to pressurise the Russian authorities to release prisoners whose only crime is to have opposed the annexation of Crimea, an act that the British Government has declared illegal. Burning Doors Burning Doors verity healey September 12, 17:39 Belarus Free Theatre's newest performance Burning Doors tells the stories of three dissident artists, and stars Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina. Verity Healey joined them in the rehearsal room to explore their incendiary creative process. Belarus Free Theatre meets Pussy Riot: 'If you don't run in front of the train, then you're nowhere' Belarus Free Theatre meets Pussy Riot: 'If you don't run in front of the train, then you're nowhere' September 08, 9:13 Pussy Riot's Masha Alyokhina is working with Belarus Free Theatre to make UK audiences stand up for political prisoners – Jessie Thompson meets them to find out more. Review Blue/Orange: What is sanity? Review Blue/Orange: What is sanity? verity healey May 23, 12:00 Jeremy Herbert’s fortress and moat implied stage are reached by the audience filing through a deserted psychiatric waiting room in the underbelly of the Young Vic’s main space. The smell of bleach catches the back of the throat. Pushing the art of protest to new limits Pushing the art of protest to new limits April 29, 14:43 If you were going to use art as a form of protest, would you (a) drop an unannounced album on Tidal accompanied by a one-hour special on HBO, or (b) nail your genitals to a paving stone? The Syrian, the Human and the Resisting: Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution The Syrian, the Human and the Resisting: Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution Julia Farrington March 02, 11:21 ‘There is no political control without control of the archives or the memory’ – Jacques Derida (1930-2004) Place Hacking, Belarus Free Theatre, and Coming Home Place Hacking, Belarus Free Theatre, and Coming Home February 15, 10:47 Seeing a play by Belarus Free Theatre in their home country can get you locked up or flung out of university. It’s forced the company to form close protective relationships with their home audiences, many of whom are themselves committed to the struggle to oust dictator Alexander Lukashenko. It’s also encouraged BFT to think particularly about their audiences outside Belarus and how they communicate with them during and post shows. But what’s particularly apparent to anyone who regularly attends BFT’s plays, is the strong invisible presence of the audiences and creative teams who support the company in secret in Belarus, who while not being with global audiences in body, are certainly there in spirit. This bond between audience, actor, and company, those who are present and not present, was imaginatively highlighted by BFT’s Staging a Revolution festival held in London, a two-week celebration of the company’s tenth anniversary. 'King Lear,' via Belarus, rages and storms at Chicago Shakespeare 'King Lear,' via Belarus, rages and storms at Chicago Shakespeare February 08, 17:57 If a King Lear could still be said to exist anywhere in the world, then Alexander Lukashenko, the president of the Republic of Belarus, is about as close a candidate as you could find. In office for more than two decades, the monarchical dictator of the outlying Eastern European nation holds all the effective reins of governmental power, including near-total control of spending, the ability to dissolve an uncooperative parliament and a stranglehold on the judiciary. King Lear (Shakespeare 400 Chicago) King Lear (Shakespeare 400 Chicago) February 08, 13:51 Belarusian Dissidents as Nasty as They Wanna Be. The individual hells in Escaped Alone at the Royal Court The individual hells in Escaped Alone at the Royal Court verity healey January 31, 12:44 This is a play that showcases Caryl Churchill’s instinct for comedy and close observation of characters whose personal turmoils and tragedies are never quite out of their lives, like dark shadows that interrupt the gentle sunlight. It also parallels the playwright’s love for ironic, genre-busting dramatic sabotage, here being in the form of an apocalyptic nightmare. Pop Up Performance in a Dictatorship? No Problem! Pop Up Performance in a Dictatorship? No Problem! January 15, 17:10 Belarus Free Theatre’s theatrical laboratory Fortinbras’ provocations of pop up contemporary art and theatre shone a bright light through the chinks of the armor of Belarus’ dictatorship this past December in a cold and rainy Minsk. Trash Cuisine: Rare meat, naked actors, Vladislav Kovalev's child photos Trash Cuisine: Rare meat, naked actors, Vladislav Kovalev's child photos December 28, 16:38 Rare meat, naked actors, Vladislav Kovalev's child photos – Belarus Free Theatre shows Belarusian version of Trash Cuisine in Minsk. Natalia Kaliada: “Any system, anywhere, is afraid of people who think” Natalia Kaliada: “Any system, anywhere, is afraid of people who think” verity healey November 27, 11:45 Verity Healey talks to Natalia Kaliada about Staging A Revolution. Trash Cuisine- Belarus Free Theatre- Staging a Revolution- New River Studios Trash Cuisine- Belarus Free Theatre- Staging a Revolution- New River Studios verity healey November 26, 15:29 The body. Or, rather, our bodies. Freedom From Torture With Belarus Free Theatre At The Young Vic Freedom From Torture With Belarus Free Theatre At The Young Vic November 24, 18:09 Earlier this month Belarus Free Theatre invited Freedom from Torture to lead the post-performance audience discussion of their play Being Harold Pinter at the Young Vic Theatre. Noreen McKeever went along to watch them in action: Belarus Free Theatre’s networks of dissent Belarus Free Theatre’s networks of dissent November 22, 18:01 The repeated violations of subordinate aerial spaces by U.S. drones constitute one of today’s most striking examples. Just as sovereignty is no longer flatly territorial but instead volumetric and three-dimensional, so too are the ways to challenge or deny it. – Grégoire Chamayou, Drone Theory “Tonight we are live-streaming. We hope that people online could see us in Belarus, in Ukraine, in Russia and many other countries where we don’t have artistic freedoms.” – Natalia Kaliada, Belarus Free Theatre King Lear- Belarus Free Theatre- Staging a Revolution- Young Vic King Lear- Belarus Free Theatre- Staging a Revolution- Young Vic verity healey November 16, 0:10 Time and again Belarus Free Theatre confound audience’s theatrical notions and preconceptions and they do so here, once more, with spectacular aplomb. Defiantly performed in Belarusian, a language outlawed by the dictatorship in their own country, BFT’s slightly truncated version of King Lear rollicks along at a furious pace and, for those of us used to reverent, more conventional productions, this stylish extravaganza is a breath of revelatory, revolutionary air and a bit of a shocker. Time of Women from Belarus Free Theatre Time of Women from Belarus Free Theatre verity healey November 11, 19:22 If Time of Women feels like two fingers up to Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko it’s probably because its cowriter and cofounder of Belarus Free Theatre, Natalia Kaliada, was prevented by the oppressive regime from finishing her PhD on ‘Women’s role in the anti-Soviet movement’. Now she jokes that her next PhD has to be on ‘women’s role in resisting the dictatorship in Belarus’ and this play is a good start- it’s an immediate, hot and passionate true account of three female journalist/activists, who are arrested for protesting peacefully and find themselves sharing the same 3 bunk cell together. Discover Love Discover Love verity healey November 11, 19:22 On September 16th 1999, Irina Krasovskaya’s successful businessman husband Anatoly Krasovsky, who was a fierce critic of Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorial regime in Belarus, left their family home to visit a sauna with his friend and prominent opposition politician Viktar Hanchar, and along with him, never returned. more