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   05 FEBRUARY 2021


INSULTED. BELARUS(SIA) – series of play-readings – solidarity actions of theatres in Romania and Republic of Moldova with artists in Belarus The National Theatre in Sibiu and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, partners of this action

The “Radu Stanca” National Theatre Sibiu and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, alongside 15 other theatres in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, have joined the programme “Belarus(sia) Worldwide Reading Project” – an unprecedented solidarity action with artists in Belarus. On Wednesday, 10 February 2021, at 7 p.m., the National Theatre in Sibiu and FITS will present the play-reading “INSULTED. BELARUS(SIA)”, by Andrei Kuricik, coordinated by director Bogdan Sărătean, online, on their Facebook pages and YouTube channels. The cast includes actors Cristian Stanca, Andrei Gîlcescu, Raluca Iani, Cristina Ragos, Horia Fedorca, Ioan Paraschiv and Cristina Stoleriu.

Insulted. Belarus(sia), a theatre play inspired from the Belarus protests.

Pavel Latushko, the manager of the “Ianka Kupala” National Theatre of Minsk, former minister of culture and ambassador of Belarus in Poland and France, was dismissed for statements supporting protesters. Most employees resigned in solidarity. On 26 August 2020, just twenty days before its 100th anniversary, the National Theatre of Minsk ceased to exist. The group reunited in a basement, where they continue to work, posting their performances online.

In this context, while attending the protests, playwright Andrei Kureicik wrote a play about the reality he himself, as well as the entire country faced, starting from the statements of Alexander Lukashenko and Svetalana Tikhanovskaya. Insulted. Belarus(sia) is a tough play, fraught with dignity and humour, in which, besides the two presidential candidates, five more representative characters live, their lives tragically impacted by Lukashenko’s decision to crush Belarusians’ peaceful revolution with violence and torture. It is a snapshot of all that is going on in Belarus today, which can happen anywhere, at any point; it is a cry for help and a wake-up call, aimed to raise awareness among as many people as possible about a concrete situation, and at the same time about the danger of any type of dictatorship.

On 12 September 2020, a first play-reading was organized in Kherson, Ukraine, thus kickstarting a project designed by John Freedman, who translated the play into English: Belarus(sia) Worldwide Reading Project, which, over the last four months, was translated into 21 languages and read 130 times in 80 theatres of 28 countries, from New York and Boston, to Hong Kong, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, The Hague, Stockholm, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius, Tel Aviv, Tbilisi or Tashkent.

15 events as part of this action to take place in February

Every day, in 7-22 February 2021, based on the initiative of Raluca Rădulescu, who translated the play into Romanian, one of the partner theatres will show an online or live play-reading in solidarity with the theatre movement and the citizens of Belarus, who, for six months, have been relentlessly protesting for freedom and the right to properly organized, free elections.

On 7 February 2021, a day declared by Svetalana Tikhanovskaya as the “International Day of Solidarity with Belarus”, in Romania, the biggest series of play-readings organized so far will begin, as part of Belarus(sia) Worldwide Reading Project, in an attempt to show solidarity with theatre people and citizens of Belarus.

Partner theatres, in chronological order of their play-readings

  • 7 February 2021 - “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre in Iași
  • 8 February 2021 - “Mihai Eminescu” National Theatre in Chișinău
  • 9 February 2021 - Teatrul de Nord, Satu Mare - Mihai Raicu Group
  • 10 February 2021 - “Radu Stanca” National Theatre Sibiu
  • 11 February 2021 - “Bacovia” Municipal Theatre in Bacău
  • 12 February 2021 - “Ioan Slavici” Classical Theatre in Arad
  • 13 February 2021 - “Tony Bulandra” Theatre in Târgoviște                    
  • 14 February 2021 - “Regina Maria” Theatre in Oradea
  • 15 February 2021 - “Andrei Mureșanu” Theatre in Sfântu Gheorghe
  • 16 February 2021 - Tineretului Theatre in Piatra Neamț 
  • 17 February 2021 - unteatru in București
  • 18 February 2021 - Constanța State Theatre                   
  • 19 February 2021 - “Fani Tardini” Dramatic Theatre in Galați               
  • 20 February 2021 - “Matei Vișniec” Municipal Theatre in Suceava       
  • 21 February 2021 - “Colibri” Theatre for Children and Youth in Craiova
  • 22 February 2021 - Târgu Mureș National Theatre - Liviu Rebreanu Company

‘In these times, any form of solidarity is useful, and I think this solidarity of Romanian theatres with Belarusian artists is also a sign of internal theatrical solidarity, which we too need in these moments of uncertainty. We symbolically chose the date 7 February for our play-reading and we will begin by showing two performances again, the first one from Romania, produced by the Iași National Theatre, which initiated the translation of the text, and the first one, produced in Chișinău, which was in a similar situation to that in Belarus at the time. The new play-readings are scheduled starting 9 February (the day that marks six months of protests in Belarus) and each of them includes certain specific elements as part of this joint solidarity action that is purely voluntary, and I would like to thank everyone for having accepted my proposal. The participating theatres were selected for a reason, and the entire project is based on the principle of “helping the other when they need to, not when you want to or feel like it”’, says Raluca Rădulescu, who translated the play into Romanian and initiated this play-reading programme in Romanian theatres.

‘This play is my response to the brutal repression faced by Belarusian artists and citizens for taking a stand. Lukashenko is closing down theatres and art galleries, throwing out hundreds of actors, many of whom are arrested or fined, but this cannot silence theatre. We continue to say the truth about events in Belarus. To me, the international solidarity project INSULTED. BELARUS(SIA) is proof that there are no borders in theatre. And I believe that Romanians’ solidarity translated into an impressive amount of play-readings stems from the fact that Romanians too have been through similar situations, escaped a tyrannic rule, but have not forgotten the price of freedom, which Belarusians are paying every day now’, says playwright Andrei Kureicik, author of the play Insulted. Belarus(sia)

‘Everything about this project has been unexpected. I unexpectedly received the play from Andrei, who asked whether I could organize “a couple of readings in the West”. Then, within ten minutes, I unexpectedly received a confirmation from the first six theatres I had contacted and I am still surprised that, in only a few months, the project has reached such proportions. With the 15 play-readings scheduled in February, Romania will be number two in the world in terms of play-readings and number one in terms of professional theatres involved’, says John Freeman, who translated the play in English and created Belarus(sia) Worldwide Reading Project.