Laura Wade on Belarus Free Theatre
Tuesday 14th December 2010
Recommendation of the week must go to playwright Laura Wade’s Guardian blog about the Belarus Free Theatre (BFT), which briefly visited the Young Vic about a week ago. As she points out, they are an underground group not because this is a cool label to adopt, but because Belarus is a dictatorship, and excessively fond of censoring, imprisoning, beating up, and torturing its citizens. Wade’s inspiring account of a typical BFT performance simply buzzes with relevance, and must surely give us pause. At this season of the year, when all our theatres are falling over themselves to serve up some cheerful Christmas fare, designed to take our minds off our petty problems, perhaps what we really need is theatre that really challenges us — more new plays that ask the really difficult questions. And although it’s a good idea to sign the solidarity petition, maybe the best thing we can do to celebrate the courage of the BFT is to create work that similarly, in Wade’s words, makes us “feel a little braver and less alone”.