Wednesday July 23rd 2014

“Being Harold Pinter”

Highly Recommended Try to imagine being a performer, who while on tour, finds that the leadership of your country has put out an arrest warrant for your troupe members, while on tour in the United States. Two of their members were previously arrested .This just took place as the Belarus Free Theatre troupe was scheduled to appear  in New York at The Under The Radar Festival. They escaped to bring their show to this event despite the fear of arrest, feeling that what they had to say was of great import to the “free world”How can they dare to return? What will happen if they do? meanwhile, Robert Falls and Roche Schulfer, hearing of their plight arranged to have their stay extended to bring them to The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier and at Northwestern University allowing Chicago area theater audiences the rare pleasure of watching these seven powerful actors production of “Being Harold Pinter” directed and adapted by Vladimir Scherban. The performance is based on Pinter’s texts: “Mountain Language”,’One For The Road”, “The Homecoming”,”Old Times”,”Ashes to Ashes” and “The New World Order”.

This is true “political theater” utilizing actual transcripts from Belarusian political prisoners telling their stories and adding excerpts from Pinter’s works. This is dark ( with some comic moments) theater that deals with  politics and the boundaries between what is real and wha is art. How valuable is freedom for expression of what is in our hearts and our minds and are artists allowed to create the words they feel or only what is felt to be correct by the powers to be? Watching Pinter’s works become interwoven with real events in the lives of these prisoners of war, we learn to respect and value the rights we have in our country. The right of freedom of expression without fear that at any moment our lives can be changed on a soldiers whim.

Belarus Free Theatre’s “Being Harold Pinter” is more than a theatrical experience. It is indeed a life experience that is not for the feint of heart. It is intense with strength in all the characters portrayed, real and Pinter’s characters. Played on a very small stage with very little in the way of sets and a few props, there are some magical moments as this marvelous cast keeps us on the edge of our seats for approx. 75 minutes. Each of these stories is unique but related. The entire production is performed in  Belarusian and Russian with English Subtitles on a screen over the stage area ( it is in no way a distraction from the marvelous action on the stage).

The schedule for this sterling production is: The Goodman January 27-29/ Northwestern University ,February 4th-6th and 11th -13th/Chicago Shakespeare Theater February 18th-20th.

Tickets are a mere $20, a value for an experience that will last you a lifetime. For more information and locations or to order your tickets

www.goodmantheatre.org 312-443-3800

www.nortwestern.edo 847-491-7282

www.chicagoshakes.com 312-595-5600

Let Chicago theater audiences be thankful that these organizations along with the League of Theatres-Chicago have brought this experience here, limited as it may be in number of performances, it is far better than none and let us hope that they find a way to continue to spread their message in this country or hopefully in their own without fear of reprisal.

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