Chicago audiences were invited to bear witness to an unprecedented artistic event with potential far-reaching international impact as Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins Goodman Theatre, Northwestern University and the League of Chicago Theatres in welcoming to Chicago Eastern Europe’s Belarus Free Theatre. The company arrived on the heels of its sold-out engagement at New York’s Under the Radar Festival—for which the company members, facing persecution in their homeland, escaped imprisonment in December 2010.
Being Harold Pinter incorporates transcripts from Belarusian political prisoners with excerpts from Nobel-Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter’s lifetime of writings. Creating visually striking images with simple means, and underscoring the fierceness of Pinter’s words with the intense physicality of the actors, the production blurs the boundaries between art and reality—delivering a poignant contemporary commentary on violence, oppression, freedom and human dignity.
How is a play born? What is the difference between truth in life and truth in art? Should an artist be involved with politics? These are the questions Harold Pinter raises in his Nobel speech. The play Being Harold Pinter by Free Theater begins and ends with a search for the answers to these questions.