News / USA

Belarus Theater Group Performing in New York Festival

Belarus Free Theater performing
Belarus Free Theater performing

The Belarus Free Theater is performing a version of its play Being Harold Pinter at an international festival in New York called "Under the Radar". The troupe's 11 actors, directors and stage managers had to go under the radar themselves in order to make it to the New York.

Being Harold Pinter is based on a mixture of statements by political prisoners in Belarus and the writings of Pinter, the late English writer, actor and political activist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

The play focuses on the abuses of power in Belarus, something members of the troupe know first hand. They were caught in the crackdown that followed the nation's disputed presidential election last month, and had to sneak out of the country.

Director, Natalia Kolyada, explains that acting and politics is one and the same in Belarus .

“…Because when you talk on contemporary issues in Belarus it becomes politics," said Natalia Kolyada. "When you make people to think it becomes politics.  But we talk only about the issues that worry us and it’s everything - it’s childhood, it’s suicide, it’s religion, it’s kidnappings, it’s political prisoners and it’s sexual minorities, all of it is in our performances.”

Which makes returning to Belarus problematic for Koyada and other members Belarus Free Theater. Her husband and co-director, Nikolai Khalezin:

“ If we go back now, we will just join the ranks of other people behind bars," said Nikolai Khalezin. "And there will be nobody left to coordinate our activities on the outside.  Our task now is to inform the international community. “

Festival director Mark Russell believes the New York audience will get the group's message.

”One reason I am bringing this group is for their art, not just for their political relevance and for their amazing story, which does help," said Mark Russell. "If any kind of theater is under the radar, it is the Belarus Free Theatre.”  

Belarus Free Theater performed Being Harold Pinter in London to high praise last year.  Kevin Spacey, the two-time Oscar winning actor and artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theater, flew to New York for this festival to support the troupe.

“What’s happening in Belarus has happened throughout history, where dictatorships close the theaters, they arrest the playwrights, they throw the actors in jail, they take the intellectuals and kill them in some cases," said Kevin Spacey. "Because theater can sometimes accomplish and say more and do more than politics can.”

The Under the Radar Festival runs through mid-January.  Then, on January 19, the Belarus troupe and supporters plan to picket the Belarus consulate.  

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs