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Two Women in Their Time

By Misha Friedman
Publisher: The New Press
Publication date: 2020
Print length: 136 pages
Two Women in Their Time The Belarus Free Theatre and the Art of Resistance By MISHA FRIEDMAN and MASHA GESSEN A collaboration between the National Book Award-winning journalist and the prize-winning photographer on the queer-resistance theater troupe In the fall of 2017, the internationally acclaimed underground theater troupe Belarus Free Theatre took New York by storm for a production of their harrowing anti-torture, anti-Putin play, Burning Doors. They were joined by Maria Alyokhina, a member of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, who made international headlines when they were imprisoned for staging an anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral. The play met with enthusiastic acclaim from critics. Ben Brantley, The New York Times wrote: No matter what the laws of physics decree, there is untold and explosive energy in resistance. Or such is the evidence of 'Burning Doors,' the Belarus Free Theater's bruising exploration of the dynamics of resistance -- the kind that occurs in the intersection of art and politics. Sara Holden, New York Magazine praised it as a smart, smoldering, physically brutal piece of theater. In Two Women in Their Time: The Belarus Free Theatre and the Art of Resistance (The New Press, October 2020), award-winning documentary photographer Misha Friedman and New Yorker reporter Masha Gessen take us backstage, giving us an intimate look at this fiercely creative drama troupe that cannot officially perform in its homeland, which remains a dictatorship in all but name. The result is an astonishing series of photos documenting the group's productions in New York and Gessen and Friedman's visit to Minsk to meet Svetlana Sugako and Nadezhda Brodskaya, the young lesbian couple who keep the Belarus Free Theatre running. The two women live a life in the borderlands-between underground and public, between the closet and being out, in a country where same-sex sexual activity is legal yet remains taboo. Their work proves that queerness will always be dangerous to autocracy.
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