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‘One Endless Antitheatre Play Is Our Country Now’

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‘One Endless Antitheatre Play Is Our Country Now’

The Janka Kupala Theater has only one performance in the Belarusian language.

A reader of the Charter97.org website noticed that there was only one performance in the Belarusian language at the Janka Kupala Theater in Minsk in September:

“I am an avid theatergoer. Once upon a time, my wife and I did not miss a single premiere at our beloved Kupala Theater. We watched with interest the plays of Belarusian and foreign authors. Even the well-known plays of our classics looked very relevant on stage, shown in a modern way. The Kupala Theatre actors did not disappoint us, just as they did not disappoint us in 2020, by supporting the people and not the dictator.

The tyrant took revenge for this. Most of the actors were expelled from the theater (and even from the country). Underpart actor Niafedava was appointed to lead the theater. She tried to replace the fired stage masters with either students or Russians. And what do we have after three years? Here are such miracles: only one play in the Belarussian language, Paulinka, was scheduled for September. Most of the performances will be shown by some guest performers from the Russian Federation, in their Russian language, of course.”

A reader writes that it is not surprising that the winner of the Miss Belarus contest does not know who is the author of Paulinka.

“Obviously, the girl is attracted to other institutions in life, not theaters. At school the poor thing apparently studied so well that she couldn’t even name the author of the Novaia Ziamlia poem [“The New Land” by Yakub Kolas - Ed.]. The main thing is that Eleanora did not forget to thank the leader for giving her the opportunity to ‘find herself in a fairy tale’.

Well, yes, Belarusians know this mustachioed storyteller very well. The miracles with the Paulinka play are clear evidence of the fabulous decline of national culture and education under the yoke of the regime.

One endless antitheatre play is our country now. No rules of law and no morality. The future of Belarus is largely determined by action on another stage: the theater of war in Ukraine.

In these dark times, it’s time to recall Ne Zahasnuts Zorki w Nebe by Janka Kupala (“Stars Won’t Extinguish in the Sky”) which became one of the national anthems:

"The dark night won’t last forever in the world

Will rise and shine the grain poured into the field…”

We believe that the Kupalaucy will return from their exile, and the Kupala Theater will be restored, and a free democratic Belarus will be revived.

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