Previews start Oct 12

Burning Doors

10 reviews
0 reviews

Belarus Free Theatre and Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina come to La MaMa in a searing performance on how art persists under oppression.

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Where do you belong when your government suppresses your basic right to expression? What do you do when your government imprisons you for making art? How would you survive one of the most brutal prison systems in the world? Through the prism of persecuted artists who will not be silenced, 'Burning Doors' reveals how artists living under dictatorship illuminate the knife-edge of complacency in democratic societies reminding us of the true cost of freedom and dangers of inertia.

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Cast & Creatives (15)

Reviews (10)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Victoria Sadler

for a previous production “‘Khalezin and Kaliada have cleverly juxtaposed these harrowing scenes with more sarcastic, light-hearted touches…The contrast works perfectly and keeps the audience engaged. But the second half sees even these brief light(er) touches stripped away…Instead we are given an impressive and quite remarkable piece of physical theatre that has the company exploring imprisonment and freedom…‘Burning Doors’ is powerful stuff. Its visceral anger and sense of injustice hits you like a truck." Full Review

Time Out London

for a previous production "The harsh, sometimes absurdist theatricality of the staging becomes a discomforting analogue for the ritualized humiliation and control employed by the Russian authorities...‘Burning Doors’ is too long and baggily structured; clumsy in places. But two Russian officials trying to understand artistic dissent while taking a a sharp splash of pitch-black humor. And ‘Burning Doors’ moves effectively from this provocation to the agony and defiance of its final, almost wordless scenes." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production “A forceful, intense excavation of freedom, of control and of the right to protest…As the piece progresses it becomes increasingly and relentlessly physical and ‘Burning Doors’ itself becomes an act of endurance…It is grueling to watch but after the first half, ‘Burning Doors’ becomes too abstract to feel relevant. It is a pity: several of the images conjured up are shocking. The show is admirable and real and often enlightening, but it is also muddled and willfully obscure where it needn't be.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production “There is more expression than information on offer; I longed for some explanation and history. And yet there are magnetic moments: terrifying and haunting and sometimes wordless. As when a woman is bungeed high up above the stage stretched out like a starfish…Or when, at the end, a single lightbulb is swung around the stage amid darkness. A good deed in a naughty world.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production “Brims with urgency and anger but fails to find any lasting articulacy…There are numerous frustrating obstacles to overcome before one can begin to appreciate ‘Burning Doors,’ rapid surtitles,...dissonant tonal shifts, and impenetrable streams of garbled pop psychology among them. Underneath all that, there are glimpses of authentic comment on the ethics, obligations, and taboos surrounding...protest and unjust political imprisonment. But you have to really dig to find them.” Full Review

Sydney Morning Herald

for a previous production “A fiery work of protest theatre that fuses brutality and poetry, philosophy and irreverent satire…Towards the end, the piece is dominated by savage physical theatre: disorienting incarnations of torture, bodily ruin, cycles of violence, punctuated by the rousing beauty of Russian and Belarusian folk song. 'Burning Doors' is theatre as bracing, intelligent and visceral protest. These performers know that freedom must be fought for.” Full Review

The Australian

for a previous production "Good old-fashioned revolutionary art. It is purposeful, ardent and agitational. In style, it is direct, intelligible and blunt-force. The performers and performances are heroic...'Burning Doors 'isn’t so much anarchic as messy and inconsistent. It badgers rather than persuades. It would rather destroy the joint than improve it...'Burning Doors' is political art turned into calculated exhibitionism. It might galvanize the faithful but it won’t win any converts." Full Review

The Upcoming (UK)

for a previous production “A disturbing and challenging piece of theatre featuring a series of striking tableaux…The section dealing with Maria Alyokhina is especially poignant for the presence onstage of the former prisoner herself... The play is ultimately stirring and disturbing, with a vitally important message that it wishes to remind people of, though many may find the piece a little too abstract at times to fully appreciate it.” Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production “This is in many ways an extraordinary show, every bit as noisy, taboo-busting and brutal to behold as you could want…BFT reaffirm their unmatched abilities as physical performers…In intellectual ambition, too, the show is hardly lacking…The problem of course, comes in trying to pack everything into a single show…These themes require greater examination and perhaps their own shows to be done justice to…Most people will come away from the way cheered by such a bracing call to arms.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production “The play becomes increasingly dependent on passages of charade, gymnastics, and acrobatics…But while reduction to dumbness is initially a resonant metaphor in a piece about censorship, the wordlessness is so prolonged that it becomes progressively less eloquent. At its strongest, the show suggests Pinter resurrected in Minsk. At its weakest, it feels like an uneasy attempt to stage an armistice between the opposing forces of text-based and physical theatre.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
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