Minsk is a play performed by Belarus Free Theatre in 2011. Belarus Free Theatre cannot even be regarded as a theatrical company, for under the current political system in Belarus, it has no official registration, no premises, nor any other facilities. Rehearsals and performances (always free of charge for the public) are normally held secretly in small private apartments, which, due to security and the risk of persecution, must constantly be changed. On several occasions, performances were given in street cafes and in the countryside, in the woods. Members have been repeatedly harassed by the authorities and some were sacked from their jobs at state-run theatres. All their productions were conducted underground. At the end of 2010, a massive protest demonstration against the government’s presidential election contrary to public opinion was held in Belarus. Then the government started armed repression, more than a thousand demonstrators were beaten and arrested, including Natalia Koliada, the founder of Belarus Free Theatre, which brought international attention and caused protests against the arrests. Finally the arrested were released, yet many members of Belarus Free Theatre lost everything and went into fleeing and hiding. It was in such a context that Minsk was created. On its website, Belarus Free Theatre clarified the main aim of its performances, that is, to “break through stereotypes of the Belarusian population that are imposed by the ideological system of Belarusian dictatorial regime”.

戲劇《明斯克(Minsk)》,2011來自白俄羅斯的自由劇團 (Belarus Free Theatre)。我甚至不能說這是一個劇團。因 為在現行的白俄羅斯政治制度下,它的存在並不合法,也不能 被承認。沒有場所,沒有設備,演出通常只能在私人的住所進 行,並因安全和管制問題不得不經常變更地址。有時候,演出 甚至要在街頭的咖啡館,農村或者樹林裡進行。劇團成員們被 當局不斷地警告和騷擾,一些同為國立劇團工作人員的成員被 開除出了體制之外。全部創作活動一直保持地下狀態。2010 年年底,白俄羅斯發生大規模抗議政府違背民意的總統大選的 示威遊行,後被武裝鎮壓,數千人被政府軍警襲擊逮捕,其 中就包括白俄羅斯自由劇團的創始人尼古拉 • 卡拉真(Nikolai Khalezin)。後因該事件引起國際社會的抗議和聲援,被捕者 才得以釋放。但是很多劇團成員從此失去了他們的一切,走上 了逃亡和躲藏的道路。這部作品《明斯克》就是在這樣的背景 下創作的。劇團的網站上闡明了他們的宗旨,就是“打破白俄 羅斯被獨裁專政所束縛的廣大民眾的僵硬思想”。

Belarus Free Theatre has an indissoluble bond with the United Kingdom. It was established in 2005, and its first production was 4.48 Psychosis, by British playwright Sarah Kane. (This production is also very famous in China, which was performed in Penghao Theater in Beijing this year.) In 2007, its original theatrical work Being Harold Pinter participated in academic activities and performances in commemoration of famous British playwright Harold Pinter, during which Harold Pinter himself got involved in the after-performance discussion. In 2011, Minsk was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; and this time, Minsk 2011 was invited to participate in the London International Theatre Festival, performing in Young Vic Theatre which is one of the best small theaters in London.

該劇團和英國有着不解之緣,2005年劇團成立的第一場演出 是英國女作家薩拉 • 凱恩(Sarah Kane)的《4.48精神崩潰 (4.48 Psychosis)》。這部戲在中國也很著名,今年曾在北 京的蓬蒿劇場演出。隨後,2007年,該劇團作品《作為哈囉 德 • 品特(Being Harold Pinter)》參與了紀念英國著名劇作家哈囉德 • 品特的學術和演出活動,品特本人也參與了觀看和 演出後的討論。2011年,《明斯克》在愛丁堡邊緣戲劇節首 演。這一次,《明斯克》受邀參加倫敦的國際戲劇節,在倫敦 最好的小型劇場之一Young Vic Theatre演出。

C.Yana Rusakevich in Minsk 2011. Photo by Nikolai Khalezin

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