The Belarus Free Theatre Takes on Government and ‘King Lear’
Belarus has been under the authoritarian rule of president Alexander Lukashenko for more than 20 years. Observers view his rule as a throwback to the Soviet Union.
Civil liberties and free artistic expression are commonly suppressed. The Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 by co-creator Natalia Kaliada. The group was banned by the government and forced to go underground. BFT produces numerous works critical of authoritarianism, including its most recent work- an interpretation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
The play opens this Friday in Chicago at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as part of its yearlong “Shakespeare 400” celebration. We first spoke with Kaliada in 2011. She’s back to update us on her work and the situation in Belarus.