Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 27 October 2013
Minsk 2011, Oct 27, 2013 ***1/2
Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker, Belarus Free Theatre, Melbourne Festival Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, Oct 24, 25, 26, 27, 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Sunday Oct 27 at 3pm Stars:***1/2 This short review was not for Herald Sun and is published only on this blog. KH
Although the style and form
of Minsk 2011 Belarus Free Theatre
is old-fashioned, episodic, political theatre that harks back to the 70s and
80s, it has something compelling to say.
Theatre in many former
Soviet countries lost its sharp, critical edge and underground status when those countries no longer suffered
political oppression; but this is not the case in Belarus where, according to
this production, political oppression is alive and unwell.
In this insane despotism,
citizens of Minsk are arrested, abducted or beaten on the street – by police or
skinheads – for attending peaceful gatherings, gay pride marches or simply
meeting in groups of more than three persons.
The performance depicts
individuals attempting to speak into a microphone then retreating in silent fear,
only to be abducted by skinheads while old women quietly sweep away any
In a compelling scene, a
young woman rants about Minsk while men paint her black, print images on paper
with her inked body then wrap her in a cocoon of paper from which she escapes
like an avenging angel, cracking a whip at her abusers.
most powerful moments are the final scenes when the cast, seated in red plastic
chairs, tell their love-hat stories about Minsk: one man is a political refugee
who cannot return to his family in Minsk so spends his days in UK in his
virtual Minsk while another must return to her child.
There is love, pain and anguish in this play
that emanates from the cast whose passion for their city and sadness at its
state are palpable.
Director, Concept & Adaptation: Vladimir
Originally produced by: Natalia Kaliada,
Nicolai Khalezin, FUEL
Text written & performed by: Viktoryia
Biran, Kiryl Kanstantsinau, Siarhei Kvachonak, Pavel Radek-Haradnitski, Yanan
Rusakevich, Yuliya Shauchuk, AlehSidorchyk, Dzianis Tarasenka, Maryna Yurevich