The first stage production BFT ever mounted underground in Minsk was Sarah Kane’s final play, 4.48 Psychosis.
Rehearsals had already begun at theYanka Kupala National Theatre when the Company was condemned by Lukashenko’s regime prohibiting them from rehearsing and performing the play to the public. Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, the co-founding Artistic Directors of BFT, together with director Vladimir Shcherban, and actors Yana Rusakevich and Olga Shantsina, quickly decided to reimagine how to open the show, recceing thirty unofficial performance venues before chancing upon the Graffitti Café in Minsk where the production finally opened in May 2005.
Lukashenko’s denial that themes touched upon in the play – suicide, mental instability, sexual and political violence – could ever exist within Belarus cemented BFT’s conviction in the artist’s duty to tell human truths and to illuminate both obvious and hidden taboos within society.
This conviction has been a through-line in every BFT production since.
Watch a clip of Belarus Free Theatre’s production of 4.48 Psychosis here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03bcjlv
“the performance’s crazy wild abandon and its continuous flow of ecstatic pain, is allowed to find itself by being”
Exeunt, 2 November 2015