Belarus Free Theatre Dogs of Europe[Theatre]
With the advent of the war in Ukraine, the premonitory dimension of the dystopian scenario present in this 2020 production by the Belarussian company, now living in exile, has intensified its emotional impact. The piece, resembling a grandiose mosaic, and as brutal as it is necessary, provides us with an unforgettable experience of humanity and theatre.
In 2049, a man who is on the run after being accused of murder decides to carry out his own enquiry. His outlandish odyssey takes him from Europe’s last remaining bookshops to those of the former Belarussia and Russia, since been turned into a single European territory under the authority of a secret service. Censored in its own country, the piece Dogs of Europe, inspired by the novel by Alhierd Bacharevic – also censored by the Belarussian state – is a visceral and psychological piece that depicts a dystopian super-state under which all individual rights are subject to control. Alternating between eccentric fairy-tale, political thriller, futuristic epopee and testimony to the horrors of war, Dogs of Europe functions both on the level of what we see onstage and also in its interstices. The work of the fourteen actors and actresses, together with their level of physical commitment, is used as a means for revealing the origins of the regime, but also that of the role of creation. The piece is an artistic gesture of great poignancy, which alerts us to the dangers of turning our backs on the increase in authoritarianism.