The Belarus Free Theatre Performs Zone of Silence

The Belarus Free Theatre has been gaining a lot of new fans lately, including Tom Stoppard, who helped support a production in New York last month. Zone is more performance art than drama (and low tech performance art at that), but it’s well done and remarkably playful considering the subject matter. And subject matter would have to include the subtitles, which are random quotations of various statistics, such as “70% of the radioactive debris from Chernobyl fell on Belarus”, or “100% of the workers cleaning public restrooms are women”. Almost random: during one segment involving a woman and a ballon, we read “80% of pregnancies end in abortion.”

Belarus—as one speaker says after the production—is old school when it comes to tyranny. Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the country since 1994. His policies are the reason that in their own country the troupe must perform out in the woods or in private apartments, and suffers arrest, beatings, and constant intimidation. As someone says towards the end of the clip, When a Belarusian poet is silenced, it violates our right to hear her. So stand up for freedom in Belarus and watch this clip … at least some of it.


  1. One more reason I like this blog–posts like this.

  2. Things like this remind me of how blithely unaware I am of my own privileged status. Thanks for posting this – where did you find out about it?

    • I think it was Jay Nordlinger at NRO. He’s a music critic, and is really good at keeping up on the arts and dictatorships. And I don’t think many people knew about BFT until last month, so who knows? Maybe this will spark some significant change. Thanks for reading!

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    Thanks Quin. What a nightmare.


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