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Free Belarus Project

8 Jan

Quick rundown on Belarus: Last remaining dictatorship in Europe. It’s not really a badge of distinction, and after a particularly nasty and repressive election in December, roundly condemned by international observers, public protest is on the rise. That means, as dictatorships are wont to do, the suppression of dissenting voices is becoming more violent. One of those voices is that of the Belarus Free Theater, an underground company whose work is critical of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Several of the members were arrested in the post-election violence and others have made it out of the country and to New York by hiding in trucks and switching vehicles to throw off government tails. The Belarus Free Theater is there to present their work “Being Harold Pinter”, which the New York Times describes in their story on the troupe;

““Being Harold Pinter” mixes transcribed statements by Belarussian political prisoners with writings by Pinter, the Nobel Prize-winning playwright and a supporter of the troupe. Previously performed in London, it has been praised by The Sunday Times of London, which said, “drama doesn’t come more urgently political,” and by Tom Stoppard, a friend who has visited the company in Belarus.”

Theater companies across the world are planning presentations of “Being Harold Pinter” in solidarity with the artists of Belarus and with politically oppressed artists. Locally, the Skewed Visions company has set up a clearinghouse website for information on Belarus called Send for the Warden! and have a reading scheduled for this Sunday, January 9 at 7pm in the Skewed Vision Studios. E-mail them to reserve free ticket at tickets@skewedvisions.org. On Monday, January 10th & Tuesday January 11 at 7:30pm, Nautilus Music-Theater will present a CANTATA FOR BELARUS, music with text from “Being Harold Pinter”. For more information on those performances, call 651-298-9913 or e-mail them at roughcuts@nautilusmusictheater.org. Go see a performance, its the least you can do to help stand up to a regime that beats people in the streets.

*Still from “Being Harold Pinter” via Life Magazine.

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