24 February 2019, Sunday, 5:17
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Belarus Free theatre’s triumphant performance in France (Photo)

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This time Minsk theatre company has presented its plays in Nancy and Dijon at Passages and Theatre en Mai festivals.

The Belarusian team has demonstrated plays “Silence Zone” staged by Uladzimir Shcherban, “Jeans Generation” and “Discover Love” by Mikalai Khalezin. Four performances took place in Nancy as a part of the program of Passages festival, and 6 performances were showed in Dijon during the traditional Theatre en Mai festival. While the Belarusian theatre is well-known in Nancy for their appearance at the 2007 festival, it was their first show in Dijon, Mikalai Khalezin said.

It is worth mentioning that one of the plays, “Jeans Generation”, was demonstrated for the second time in the framework of Passages festival in Nancy. This unprecedented occasion took place after organisers of the festival received a great number of letters from viewers who asked to bring this performance to Nancy once again. This time the show was demonstrated on the same evening with the second part of dilogy “Jeans Generation” – “Discover Love”. The plays were shown on the birthday of Anatol Krasouski, a Belarusian businessman and public leader, abducted and assassinated in September 1999. The crew of the Belarus Free Theatre dedicated these performances to his memory. They announced about that after the show.

The tour of the Belarusian team traditionally attracted much attention from the public and press. The tour in May was no exception. It included a number of meetings with public and many interviews in the both French cities.

In Dijon organisers constructed two stages specially for the Free Theatre plays. In fact, a mini-city was created, which included not only stages, but necessary infrastructure – a kitchen, a bar, a lounge for viewers’ relaxing between the acts. The stage for “Silence Zone” was placed in the former barracks of the 19th century. A special tent was build for “Jeans Generation”. It included all rooms necessary for the crew’s work.

Much attention of the public and critics was paid to “Silence Zone” which was demonstrated in France for the first time. Uladzimir Shcherban, the stage director of the play, was really satisfied by the five-time performance: «There was little anxiety before the first appearance in Nancy, as we worried whether French would be able to understand specifically Belarusian matter. But we worries in vain. The performances were held really spiritedly. We have once again proved that the public in France is one of the most theatrically educated in Europe, and definitely the most emotional one”. The president of the theatrical festival in Dijon, a famous French actor François Chattot, said: “Silence Zone was an amazing final chord of the festival. Many of us could feel ourselves Belarusians after watching it. That’s who the modern patriotism should look like – full of love to the people living in one’s country. I really hope that our cooperation with the Belarusian team will continue in the future”.

Theatrical expects were especially interested by methods of work of Belarusian stage directors with actors. “In different countries there is a rather stable interest to our educational and stage methods. We worked with the Dutch art schools DasArts, the European State University; in September we are to hold a course in California Arts Institute. French colleagues have offered us a large-scale program for us – a tour of master classes and courses in theatre universities in several cities of France. We have given advance consent, as we believe that the educational project of the Free Theatre is one of our priorities. Today we are not just interested by our work with foreign students and testing of our methods, but inviting best foreign experts to Belarus to work with our students in the framework of the theatre laboratory Fortinbras, which was launched in October 2008,” the director of the Free Theatre exchange programs Natallya Kalyada said about the talks.

Beside the theatric shows in Nancy and Dijon, SolidParties which are held by the Free Theatre in different parts of the world were held there. Dj Laurel (Lavr Berzhanin) traditionally took the place behind the DJ machine. He initiated a project of DJs’ solidarity with Belarus. Besides, DJs from the hosting country of a SolidParty are invited. In Dijon Dj Laurel performed at the closing of the party dedicated to the end of the festival.

Video fragments of shows participating in the festival projected to the wall of Manufacture theatre in Nancy

Dijon’s main theatre situated in the former Catholic church building

Slam – a contest of playwrights who read their short texts in the lobby of the theatre

Preparation of stage space inside 19th century barracks for “Silence Zone”

François Chattot, the president of the festival, presents the Free Theatre to the public at the traditional gathering after the show

The house is full not only during the performances, but during the meetings with viewers too

Svyatlana Suhaka, stage director’s assistant. This year she celebrated her birthday during the French tour

“Jeans Generation” scene

A scene from “Silence Zone. Legends of childhood”

A scene from “Silence Zone. Others” Yana Rusakevich

A scene from “Silence Zone. Figures”

Applause after the performance

Dj Laurel. The final set of Dijon festival

The final party of the festival. Stairs of the main theatre of Dijon