11 June 2023, Sunday, 3:49
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

World culture figures against forceful disappearances in Belarus (Photo)

A performance about famous people, kidnapped in Belarus, was shown by Belarus Free Theatre in Rotterdam and started an international action of culture figures in support of UN Convention against enforced disappearances.

Performances Generation Jeans and Discover Love were shown in the frames of Rotterdamse Schouwburg international theatre festival. Iryna Krasouskaya, on whose love story and tragic story of her family the play is based, came to Rotterdam specially to see Discover of Love. Iryna couldn’t refrain from tears at the end, and thanked the actors for “beautiful play and deep understanding of the material”.

Discover of Love performance started an international action of culture figures in support of the UN Convention against Enforced Disappearances. Famous British vocalist MC Coppa, was the first to join the action. He recorded two tracks for the performance, where he reads the text of Convention against Enforced Disappearances to ambient.

“We had to initiate this civil action, because Belarus is the only European country where awful evil of enforced disappearances has not been extirpated,” theatre director Natallya Kalyada told in an interview to the Charter’97 press center.

The Free Theatre showed four performances at the Rotterdam festival – Silent Zone, directed by Uladzimir Shcherban, Generation Jeans and Discover of Love by Mikalai Khalezin and work in progress of the Eurepica project, which will be showed in Swedish Lund in March 2009 for the first time.

Plays of the Free Theatre provoked great interest of theatre experts. Producers and organisers of leading festivals of Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK came to Rotterdam to watch plays of the Belarusians. All performances drew capacity audiences.

A play Silent Zone directed by Uladzimir Shcherban gained splendid reviews, and closed work in progress of the Eurepica international theatre project was a real intrigue for theatre experts. Five ready fragments (out of 14 planned) convinced producers this material is worthy and the project was invited to a number of fasts and tours. Two new actresses of the Free Theatre made their first appearance in Eurepica project – American singer and actress Stephanie Pan and Australian actress Esther Mugambi. Critics noted professionalism and emotionalism of Belarusian actors and high level of staging.

Festival’s director said commenting on the performances of the Belarusian collective: “I am glad the Free Theatre took part in Rotterdamse Schouwburg. Success, they had during the whole week of performances, has convinced us we should go on cooperation. We have begun negotiations on a collaboration project, we want to prepare for the next festival.”

Free Theatre company in Eurepica project. New actors Stephanie Pan and Esther Mugambi are standing on the right

Eurepica’s fragment

Aleh Sidorchyk and Hanna Salamyanskaya as Anatol and Iryna Krasouskis in Discover of Love play

Lera and Iryna Krasouskaya watching Discover of Love

A scene from Discover of Love play

Audience giving standing ovation to the Free Theatre

Traditional candles after the play in memory of kidnapped and murdered