Given the political record of the Belarus Free Theatre and its overt references to the war in Ukraine in this creation, Canine of Europe simply cannot be noticed as theatre by itself. It is art, activism and theatrical disruption, at once.
Owning been executed clandestinely in garages and warehouses in Minsk, it feels introduced on this large-scale phase. Like a genie escaping from a bottle, there is a wonderful eruption of audio and spectacle. Big, haunting, discordant tracks and audio by Mark and Marichka Marczyk of Balaklava Blues increase to fill the auditorium. Maria Sazonova’s choreography is arresting in its acrobatic drama, with movements like orchestrated armed forces routines or assaults, and made up of a intense, fulminating physicality. A back display for projections (with video structure by Richard Williamson) starts as a roving camera from a laptop game, which presents the display an unstable, lurching excellent and appears to be built to discombobulate its audience.
Each individual member of the ensemble has put in time in jail and their orchestrated movements engage in out street protests, battles, rape and murder. Inert bodies are dragged off phase, time and all over again. Intentionally cartoonish violence reveals people shot at issue-blank vary and bouncing back again up.
Primarily based on a dystopian novel by Alhierd Bacharevic which is banned in Belarus, the tale moves from 2019 to 2049 and depicts a earth in which Russia has taken above various nations around the world to develop into a dictatorial superstate. There is a crystal clear feeling of a related landmass that underlines the reality that Belarus – and Ukraine – are not individual geographic entities less than siege but part of the observing environment around them.
The script is characteristically meandering, with scenes that appear more like a collection of skits. Surtitles display screen a stream of text, scarcely stopping for breath. Fairytale imagery is blended with absurdist humour and indirect dialogue which has the disjointed feeling of a fever dream. These things sense like disruptions – mirroring the illogicality of dictatorships – but the general outcome is breathtaking in spectacle and entire of a gruelling tedium, developed to frustrate and defy logic.
The end of the drama segues into a postscript about Ukraine with a immediate deal with from Natalia Kaliada (who directs along with Nicolai Khalezin) about what Britain could – and must – be executing in reaction. Like the demonstrate by itself, it feels like an urgent, enraged, annoying and required affront.