BELARUS FREE THEATRE
Returns to La MaMa with
NY premiere of
October 12-22, 2017
Cast includes Maria Alyokhina from PUSSY RIOT
Belarus Free Theatre (BFT) – the internationally acclaimed troupe known for its stage works that confront some of the most urgent issues of the day – returns to La MaMa (66 E. 4 St. in NYC) with the NY premiere of BURNING DOORS: previews are set to begin October 12 prior to a press opening Oct. 16. La MaMa presents BURNING DOORS in association with Belarus Free Theatre, the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds.
Devised and performed by Belarus Free Theatre, BURNING DOORS is directed by Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada. DOORS is written by Mr. Khalezin, with dramatury by Mr. Khalezin and Ms. Kaliada, choreography by Bridget Fiske and Maryia Sazonava and original testimony is by Maria Alyokhina.
The cast of BURNING DOORS includes guest performer and collaborator Maria Alyokhina of PUSSY RIOT, the Russian feminist punk-rock group, along with performers and co-creators Pavel Haradnitski, Kiryl Masheka, Siarhei Kvachonak, Maryia Sazonava, Stanislava Shablinskaya, Andrei Urazau and Marnya Yurevich.
As governments clamp down and walls go up, BURNING DOORS examines how art persists under oppression, and how artists living under dictatorship illuminate complacency in democratic societies, reminding us of the true cost of freedom and the danger of passivity. BURNING DOORS draws from the personal experiences of three dissidents who were arrested and imprisoned by the government of Vladmir Putin of Russia – Ms. Alyokhina, Petr Pavlensky and Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian national who has been imprisoned in Russia on terrorism charges after Russia invaded Crimea.
In the case of Mr. Sentsov, who has served three years of his 20-year sentence, his experiences are depicted as told to the creators of BURNING DOORS by members of his family, who have been allowed rare visits and received one smuggled correspondence from him during his time in prison.
BURNING DOORS debuted last year in London, where critics called it:
“A scorching piece of theatre: uncompromising, urgent and angry. 4 stars.” Financial Times
“A spiky, furious mosaic. 4 stars.” The Sunday Times
Belarus Free Theatre is the leading refugee-led theatre company in the UK. BURNING DOORS draws on the company’s own experience of political oppression and continues their campaign to stand up to artistic freedom and human rights across the globe.
Belarus Free Theatre has previously performed at La MaMa: TRASH CUISINE, BEING HAROLD PINTER, DISCOVER LOVE and ZONE OF SILENCE.
BURNING DOORS is dedicated to Pavel Sheremet, Oleg Sentsov and all the Kremlin hostages. The production features the following contributions:
–“Fear” and “Russian Contemporary Artist in a Russian Jail.” By Petr Pavlensky
–“Final Statement” by Oleg Sentsov
–Extract from “How to Start a Revolution” by Maria Alyokhina
–“Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault
–“The Idiot” and “The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
–“Lonely” by Boombox
–Russian and Belarusian folk songs
BURNING DOORS was created in partnership with ArtReach as part of Journeys Festival International; Co-commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne; Developed at Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA), and funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. The organization has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has helped launch the careers of countless artists, many of whom have made important contributions to American and international arts milieus.
La MaMa’s 56th season highlights artists of different generations, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds, who question social mores and confront stereotypes, corruption, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia in their work. Our stages embrace diversity in every form and present artists that persevere with bold self-expression despite social, economic, and political struggle and the 56th season reflects the urgency of reaffirming human interconnectedness.
Scheduled October 12 to 22, BURNING DOORS will perform weeknights at 8 pm (no performance October 17), Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 4 pm. Tickets are $30 ($25 for students/seniors) and can be purchased by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.lamama.org
BURNING DOORS is performed in Russian and Belarusian with English surtitles.
(Photos, top to bottom: Alyokhina, Oslo Freedom Forum, Kaliada and Khalezin, moc.media; Pavlensky, widewalls.ch; Sentsov, the Voice Project.