In new York, are touring the “Belarus free theatre”. The company shows a performance of “the Flaming door”, which formed the history of the artist-actionist Peter Pavlensky, the Ukrainian Director Oleg Sentsov, detained in Russia, and members of Pussy Riot Mary Alekhine, who plays in the play itself.
The Belarus free theater has existed for twelve years. Its co-leaders, the wife of Mikalai Khalezin and Natallia Kaliada, was granted political asylum in the UK and are unable to return Home, although the main part of the theatre continues to work in Belarus in conditions of illegality. About the Belarus free theatre, and about the role of avant-garde theatre in the modern world Mikalai Khalezin said in an exclusive interview with the Russian service “voice of America”.
“We wanted to show the history of the current node, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia through three characters: that’s Masha Alyokhina, Pussy Riot member, Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian Director, who now sits in prison in Russia, and Petr Pavlensky, the artist, who now lives in France. We can work with them to agree or disagree, everyone has their own opinion on it. We’re not talking about their work. We’re talking about their lives. About how they tried to oppose something, and what it brought. Through them we show methods of power pressure on free man, his personality, as in the case of Maria Alyokhina, his work, as in the case of Pavlensky and his body, as in the case of Sentsov”.
In the play, the idealistic intentions of the artists are opposed to the cynical manipulation of government officials, moreover, both Russian and Ukrainian. Some critics call this experimental work of the Belarus free theatre “revolutionary.” For the co-Director of theatre Nikolay Khalezin revolutionary is not so much politically sharpened the narrative, as in aesthetic performance solution. “Artistic imagery,” he says, ” has not been canceled, and, moreover, for us this is important. Because we are not a newspaper and not a poster. We are still a theatre. And creative task was to find the limits of the physical possibilities of the actors. In the four scenes of this play there are moments when the actor reaches the edge of its physical capabilities. That is, to more he is not enough forces”.
Maria Alekhina adds, “Especially if we are talking about the history of Oleg Sentsov, this story is told and shown, largely through torture. And if the question arises, how to show a scene of torture, then the answer is only through direct experience of this torture… we are constantly behind this wall are bundles of ice, because that did not happen even a single set without bruises or bruises”.
Maria Alekhine plays herself, and is dedicated to its history part of the play written in her stories, particularly about the experience of punishment. However, according to her, this chronicle of humiliation is not unique, with her face who is in the Russian prison system. Mary is convinced that what is happening in Russian prisons to be talked about it people need to know. “The only way we can really change something, because in the silence, nothing changes,” she says.
For Alekhine revolutionary Theater is the experience of overcoming myself. “To understand what it feels like to torture, to experience for yourself this every day, so in the end, become stronger. Because, most likely, you will not die… more likely. But you will become stronger. For me, different forms of political art, protest and experiments with them are probably the core of my life. And this is one of them,” says the actress.
In the play sounds a sentence: “you Know, you were right. The most terrible sin on earth is cowardice. It was written by the great Russian writer Bulgakov “the Master and Margarita””.