Proceeds from the special 7 PM performance aid members of the Belarus Free Theatre, who are facing persecution in their homeland due to political unrest.
Being Harold Pinter incorporates Pinter's writings with transcripts from Belarussian political prisoners. The cast includes Belarus Free Theatre members Pavel Garadnitski, Irene Iarochevitch, Mikalai Khalezin, Yana Rusakevich, Aleh Sidorchyk, Dzianis Tarasenka and Maryna Yurevich. Uladzimir Shcherban adapted and directs the play.
The troupe made headlines in late December 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 claim 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. The entire two-week run of Being Harold Pinter sold-out.
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." Additional events are also planned in support of the Belarus Free Theatre. Washington, DC's Theater J offers a staged reading of Being Harold Pinter with local actors Jan. 17 at 7:30 PM; Belarus Free Theater members will join Tom Stoppard and other special guests for a Jan. 19 benefit at Le Poisson Rouge at 7 PM; and the Public Theater and Amnesty International USA will stage a peaceful demonstration outside the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations Jan. 19 at 12 PM.
For tickets, ranging $50-$500, phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater.
The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.