Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Belarus Free Theatre – the exiled theatre group …

 

One member of our History group, where we're finding out about the 1900s Russian Revolutionary period, was very excited about going to see 'Dogs of Europe' – put on by the Belarus Free Theatre ...


The image on the Barbican website for the play

She obviously was overwhelmed … and I haven't had a chance to sit down and actually chat to her – she handed me a flyer that was in the theatre …



Set out in summary form below …


Subject: A blogger, designer from Minsk.

Date of Birth – April 18th, 1985


DETAINED 19.05.2021


S E N T E N C E

Art. 342 of the Criminal Code - violation of public order

Art.391 CC (Insulting a Judge)

Art. 188 CC (Libel)


P R I S O N

Tokarchuk Olga Andreevna

Prison No. 8.222163, Zhodino,

Sovietskaya str., 22A



Background:

OLGA was detained several times after the 2020 elections. On May 19, the apartment where she lives with her husband and two minor children was searched. At that time, she was already in the status of a suspect under Articles 391 of the Criminal Code, and Aritcle 188 of the Criminal Code. After the last detention Olga was charged with a new Charge under Article 342 of the Criminal Code.


Her prison details c/o Dissidentby link


Here's the link to the Dogs of Europe play … with further details from the director on how the play came about …


I quote from 'Sir Tom Stoppard':


You can be sure of one thing - Belarus Free Theatre are the good guys.


For seventeen years the company has been chased around, persecuted, arrested, exiled, spied on and slandered by the Lukashenko regime, always in danger and impoverished, and during all that time it has made theatre driven by the death of freedom in Belarus.


Today the last dictator in Europe is paying his dues to Putin, and BFT is once again on stage to remind us what is at stake.



Nikolai Khalezin, Artistic Director, Belarus Free Theatre … notes that if we look for parallels in art then Dogs of Europe reflects his life …



the book is an adaptation of Alhierd Bacharevic’s mammoth novel set in a dystopic Europe of 2049. (c/o the Editorial note in the website).



In the book published in 2017, most of Asia has fallen under a secret-service dominated Russian “reich”, while an ever more fragmented western Europe grapples with a refugee crisis.



The title seems to recall W H Auden’s poem on the death of Yeats: “In the nightmare of the dark / All the dogs of Europe bark / And the living nations wait / Each sequestered in its hate.”  (Part III 2nd verse)


I hope you will get a chance to look at the Barbican website – where further details are available … about the Free Theatre Belarus Editorial Section



The Monster Cockroach -
see the reference to Lukashenko

It is ever more horrific – the book and play provide greater insight into what life is like in a Soviet state … especially for those who abhor and activate for freedom of life (political liberty) in their own country.




I just had to post about this theatre group …



Peace to Ukraine,

and I hope no interference from Belarus … yet fawning Lukashenko worryingly worships Putin.


Another link to read about

Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus


The Dissidents' site about Olga Andreevna Tokarchuk's imprisonment details.


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

25 comments:

John Holton said...

Good for them! I hope they give him hell.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Timely and pertinent - thanks for bringing awareness to it, Hilary. YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

Aaargh. Thank you.
That Auden quote is particularly, frighteningly, pertinent.

bazza said...

Thank you for posting this Hilary. What a sickening world we live in...

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you for telling us about this theatre group! Anything that has to do with what life is like in a Soviet state is very relevant right now. I'm reading a book called The Endless Steppe that's about Russia taking over Poland during WW2, arresting (non-Jewish) Polish people, and sending them to camps and exile. It's the author's autobiographical account of her childhood.

Anabel Marsh said...

The world is horrifying, isn’t it?

Dan said...

Thanks for sharing this post, Hilary. These are inspiring people. This war is bring fought into many levels.

Birgit said...

They are very brave people and Olga seems to be one that sticks in their craw which i am glad about but not that she and her family are enduring such hardship. The people, here, who claim their freedom is taken because they have to wear a mask should be sitting in a theatre and shown more info on the actual Communist regime. Putin is KGB and loves power. He wants Russia back to how it was in the 30s to the 80s. He probably kisses a picture of Stalin every night before he goes to sleep. Too many people have been taken away for speaking, writing or performing what they believe in from Solzhenitsyn to Pasternak and more.

Liz A. said...

Scary stuff.

retirementreflections said...

Thanks, Hilary - I am off to the Barbican website now!

Jacqui Murray said...

How interesting. Such disruption all over the world.

Joanne said...

This post gave me chills. Such brave people and what a story! The ARTS....are a wow in this world of sadness and horror. The stories will be told, passed on, and remembered. That is key to history. Excellent post. Thank you

Kalpana said...

Thank you for this depth of information. Like Sue of Elephant's Child, I'm fascinated by the Auden quote.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John – yes … both men could do with some of their own medicine …

@ Yam – great … I know you'll appreciate the links …

@ EC – the reference to Auden's poem reminds us that poetry can find a place in the world … and can make us think …

@ Bazza – yes ,sadly in specific areas … a very sickening world …

@ Chrys – I know your interest in these subjects, so it's really good to see you here – thank you … you've a lot going on.

What an interesting author Esther Hautzig seems to be … I must remember to read her books at some stage – I'd never heard of her … this one you mention The Endless Steppe and some of the others. (though it appears this is her primary book in print).

@ Anabel – yes, at the moment areas of the world are brutal and without thought for humanity …

@ Dan – I was pleased to find out about this theatre group – they put the spotlight in the right place …

@ Birgit – like you I cannot imagine what Olga and her family are going through.

I avoided wanting to know too much about WW2 or WW1 for that matter … yet over time – we do learn … equally if we don't experience/come across things in our lives, then the consequences do not really register … hence the empathy is there, but for many to a point ephemeral …

You're right there've been too many historical episodes in recent times … we don't learn … or people in those situations 'are bullied' into submission.

We do need to learn … and encourage others to do the same …

@ Liz – yes …

@ Donna – that's great you'll be looking at the Barbican website and the Belarus Free Theatre links …

@ Jacqui – I was so pleased to find out about this theatre group, bringing another autocratic power to your attention – particularly as there's a large border with Ukraine.

@ Joanne – thank you … it certainly gave me the chills – and as you note the ARTS bring us subjects that we need to be aware of. You're right stories will be told and passed down – the key to history …

@ Kalpana – I can quite understand your interest in the Auden quote – so pertinent for this play. Thank you for appreciating the post …

Thank you all for visiting and being so interested in this incredible Theatre Group … they are just inspirational - Hilary

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

That's so interesting, Hilary. I was listening to Prime Minister's Questions the other day and instead of bemoaning the constant barracking, dithering answers and constant cries for "Order!" I suddenly found myself thankful for a government that can criticise, lampoon and, if the mood takes them, throw out the leader of the country. If only someone dared accuse Putin of "half-arsed bluster", being "tin-eared" and "making it up as he goes along".

Susan Scott said...

Thanks for this Hilary ... will follow up on links. It's wonderful that the arts in this case theatre, the BFS, refuses to be silenced. I've been seeing Olga on various social media. I can only hope that she is released soon and that her family can welcome her back again. The price for freedom is high indeed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John - thank you ... I'm glad I picked it up and decided a blog post could be crafted ... Olga and the Belarus Free Theatre needed to be recognised, though I see from Susan's comment below - that there's quite a lot on social media - which I don't do.

But you're right ... the 'stuff' our leaders get up to - is irrelevant compared to a Putin regime ... or one of his puppets ... yet thankfully we can call people to account and not get whisked off to prison.

@ Susan - thank you ... I don't do social media - so probably wouldn't see anything about Olga. Like you - I do hope she'll be freed soon - but I have my doubts ... the price for freedom and free speech is indeed very high ...

Thanks to you both for your salient comments - all the best - Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is sobering to reflect that these conditions prevail in the twenty-first century, and to make us appreciate our democracies, however flawed they may be. Before the people of the United States rush to re-embrace Trump they should pause to contemplate such a future. I fear that it would not look much different from Russia, where sycophants would rule, chaos would be the order of the day, irrationality the norm and a "Dear Leader" cult would develop. We already saw how reporters Trump didn't like were excluded and vilified, and others willing to promulgate his lies were favoured. One of his favourite possession is a letter from a brutal, murderous Korean dictator. Beware!!

cleemckenzie said...

Applauding very loudly here! I'm imagining the performances and wishing I could be a part of the audience.

Keith's Ramblings said...

So brave, so inspirational. I'm so pleased you drew our attention to them, Hilary.

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for sharing, Hils. I don't know as much as I'd like to about Belarus.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - yes you've encapsulated some of the dreadful effects/ actions that have happened in very recent years. Beware - I hope peaceful solutions can be found. We don't need bullies or worse those who lead countries in the world ...

@ Lee - thank you ... the theatre group and all activists would be happy to know we're understanding the actions of the soviet horrors, which still occur in this century. I hope the Free Theatre are able to perform elsewhere bringing attention to Olga's unjust imprisonment, as too other activists.

@ Keith - yes ... The Free Theatre must have extraordinary supporters ... I'm glad you appreciate their situation ...

@ Sandra - there's so much to learn ... about Eastern Europe and its development ... and how it developed from as early as 32,000BC - so much change as explorers started to settle the northern regions.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting ... Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Have a wondrous weekend, Hils.

DMS said...

Thanks for sharing this! Sounds very interesting!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - thank you ... all well and now into DST ...

@ Jess - I hope you'll get a chance to look at the links ...

I gather the plight of Olga is promoted in FB - which I don't do ...

It'd just be 'so nice' if we could all live in harmony ... thanks for being here and commenting - Hilary