Following a sold-out New York run, Being Harold Pinter will play the Goodman Feb. 1-27. The Goodman has aligned with Northwestern University and the League of Chicago Theatres to host the Belrusian company.
The Belarus Free Theatre made headlines in late December 2010 when several of its members were arrested after protesting the Dec. 19 re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 16 years. His opponents claimed election fraud. Belarus Free Theatre members went into hiding following the harsh government reaction to the protests, and the Public Theater made arrangements to quietly transport the performers from the Eastern European nation in time to participate in the Under the Radar Festival in early January. Critics praised the bold, political work.
Being Harold Pinter incorporates Pinter's writings with transcripts from Belarusian political prisoners. The cast includes Pavel Garadnitski, Irene Iarochevitch, Mikalai Khalezin, Yana Rusakevich, Aleh Sidorchyk, Dzianis Tarasenka and Maryna Yurevich. Uladzimir Shcherban adapted and directs the play.
Goodman artistic director Robert Falls said in a statement: "We found it imperative to extend this brave, bold theater company’s stay in the United States by offering them the opportunity to perform in Chicago. These are artists struggling against an oppressive state, and their work is both essential and powerful."
Here's how the work is billed: "Being Harold Pinter incorporates transcripts from Belarusian political prisoners with excerpts from 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, Being Harold Pinter blurs the boundaries between art and reality, delivering a poignant contemporary commentary on violence, oppression, freedom and human dignity." The Goodman will announce venue and ticketing information shortly. Visit GoodmanTheatre.