Insulted. Belarus(sia): the protest play travelling the world in solidarity with Belarus

Insulted. Belarus(sia): the protest play travelling the world in solidarity with Belarus
Image: still from the reading by the Jozef Gregor Tajovsky Theater of Zvolen, Slovakia

5 February 2021

A new play in support of pro-democracy protests in Belarus has been read and performed in more than 25 countries across the world.

Written by Belarusian playwright Andrei Kureichik, who took part in the rallies that began in August, Insulted. Belarus(ia) was has since been translated into 21 languages and read more than 120 times in 80 venues across the world. More events are planned in Germany, Finland, Romania, and Moldova for the Day of Solidarity with Belarus on 7 February, marking the six-month anniversary of the protests.

“Kureichik sent [the play] to me [on 9 September], asking if I would translate it and organise a few readings in order to spread the word about the events in Belarus,” tweeted translator and theatre critic John Freedman. “Within 10 minutes I had lined up six theatres, including New York Theatre Workshop, without even a script they could read. Three days later I finished the translation and got it out to dozens more theatres.”

The play presents the political atmosphere in Belarus via two main characters: Oldster, based on longstanding dictator Alexander Lukashenko, and Novice, representing opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Insulted. Belarus(ia) also includes four fictional characters: Mentor, a teacher who helps rig elections, Corpse, an energetic footballer tired of the old regime, Avian, a storm trooper, and Cheerful, the spiritual young woman whose sister is marrying him. Also taking to stage is Youth: Lukashenko’s teenage son Kolya, who is being groomed for the presidency but would rather play video games.

More than 200,000 people took to the streets in Belarus after presidential elections on 9 August, which saw Lukashenko win his sixth term in office in a vote widely condemned as rigged. More than 30,000 people have since been detained, in some of the most brutal repressions in recent European history.

Watch two of the performances available in English in the embedded videos. You can donate to the victims of political repression in Belaurs here.

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