„Fear/Furcht“ based on Bertolt Brecht
Kupalaucy (Minsk, Belarus)
In Belarusian with German surtitles
>> Staatstheater Augsburg, martini Park
>> live & digital: Wednesday, 23.2.2022, 8 p.m.
At the end of March 2021, an independent theatre group from Belarus causes a stir on the internet. “Kupalaucy”, a group of former artists from the Janka Kupala National Theatre, post a sequence of scenes from “Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches” (Fear and Misery in the Third Reich) on Youtube. The group explores the essence of fascism with Brecht’s collection of scenes. Although the production makes no reference to the present, people can see clear parallels to the situation in their home country. The government there is doing everything it can to stamp out critical voices. Kupalaucy are not allowed to appear at any of the theatres in Minsk. The group has been blacklisted by the government and banned from performing. Their rehearsals take place abroad and in secrecy. At the Brecht Festival, “Fear” is to be performed live on stage for the first time.
Nikolai Pinigin (Regisseur) about „Fear“:
There is a very good quote from Brecht’s Life of Galileo play. Galilei is talking to his student. The student says: “Unhappy the land that has no heroes”, upon hearing it Galileo answers: “Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.”
Directing „Fear and Misery of the Third Reich“ was my first time working with a Brecht’s play. I should admit that I am in two minds if Brecht fully resonates with me, for example inter alia it is still unclear to me what Brecht means by the theory of detachment. But I consider „Fear“ and “Life of Galileo“ as ideal psychological plays, very subtly and wonderfully written. Being a director I see plays as those that excite me and those that don’t. And I get even more eager to stage a play, if I feel that it is relevant to the present times. I think „Fear“ is one of Brecht’s best plays that perfectly resonates with us.
Since I came to Minsk, I have experienced living in two countries: the Soviet Union and the independent Belarus. I cannot say that in the Soviet times it was easier to make art. Because you have a chance to work as a great choreographer, you can stage operas, you can be an artist. But if you work with a written word and if you want to stay relevant, sooner or later you will get into conflict with „the power” as we know it. As you might know, Yuri Lyubimov, the director of the Taganka Theater, was stripped of his citizenship and expelled from the country. And it did not begin yesterday or today. If you want to be relevant, you should provide your audience with some response, with answers to their questions. Or at least make them contemplate about the topics that are bothering all of us today. In terms of making art, we are in a danger zone now.