Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus

Madeleine Sackler

A portrait of the underground theater company Belarus Free Theatre, filmed before, during and after the disputed elections won by dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

‘Life under a dictatorship is very easy. There’s no need to make decisions, and there are no problems.’ Belarus is governed by Alexander Lukashenko, Europe’s last dictator. In the run-up to the 2010 presidential election and for a year afterwards, Madeleine Sackler followed the trials and tribulations of the Belarus Free Theater, an underground theater company based in Minsk.

They join the massive demonstration that takes place right after the election, which Lukashenko won with an overwhelming (and disputed) 79 percent of the vote. The protest is violently crushed, and marks the beginning of a tumultuous year of demonstrations, arrests, fear and intimidation. The group decides to move abroad and to use theater to draw attention to the situation in Belarus. The camera follows their rehearsals, their emotional conversations with the home front, and their successful performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and elsewhere. Some of the actors are still in exile, but others continue to make underground theater in Belarus, in the hope that someday things will change.

Credits

Director
Madeleine Sackler
Year
2013
Country of production
United States
Type
Documentary
Duration
76 minutes
Spoken language
Belorussian, English, Russian
Subtitles
EN