18th Jun 2012 10:27am | By Louise Kingsley
Performed in Russian with English surtitles, the 85 minutes of Belarus Free Theatre’s touring production forms a companion piece to New York in 1979, produced in their homeland 2 years ago and based on a text by American punk writer Kathy Acker.
This urgent new work paints a deeply disturbing picture of a city scarred by political events, corruption and suppression – and one in which, under the current dictatorship, they cannot freely perform. Several of the cast have lost jobs, been detained, exiled - or worse -because of their involvement with the company.
The threat of arrest and torture is everywhere, with the KGB ready to pounce at the slightest – or even no – provocation. Wave a flag and you run the risk of being carted away; play a musical instrument in public and you can end up in jail. One actor marks the scars on his body in red – some the legacy of innocent childhood accidents, the more recent ones the result of police brutality. An actress’s naked body is painted black, then completely obscured in paper to emphasise the country’s dysfunctional attitude to sex. Most effective of all are the closing statements, quietly delivered like love letters to a city held dear in their hearts even though it takes away their freedom. Louise Kingsley
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tube | Southwark / Waterloo
Until 23rd June | £10 - £17.50