help fund pussy riot's secret punk play

Pussy Riot's Masha Alekhina is already rehearsing "Burning Doors" at an undisclosed location in Belarus.

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Jun 1 2016, 8:47pm

It's hard to believe that Maria Vladimirovna Alyokhina, aka Masha of feminist Russian punk band Pussy Riot, is still only 27 years old. The activist icon has already gone to prison, starred on TV, given birth to a son, taken selfies with Bill Clinton, and won the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought. Now she's adding yet another entry to her impressive resume: playwright. Masha has announced her foray into theatre with Burning Doors, which will be put on by UK-based company Belarus Free Theatre, reports The Guardian. She will spend the next few months rehearsing the production at a secret location in Belarus, where Pussy Riot has been banned by the government. 

Burning Doors will explore the consequences of making political art under both dictatorships and democracies. Masha will draw on her own experience in Pussy Riot before and after the punk prayer than lead to her and her bandmates' arrests in 2012, as well as the experiences of other artists who have faced censorship in her home country. She is particularly enthusiastic about controversial "living-pain" performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, whose acts of rebellion include setting fire to the door of the Federal Security Service building and nailing his scrotum to the floor, and jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov. 

"Petr is the most important artist working in Russia now, and I really want his message to be spread out to the world," said Masha. "Also I think it is important to prove that artists, particularly political artists, can make more powerful gestures, braver gestures and more uncommon gestures than politicians." She says the production will include elements of personal Pussy Riot stories that have not yet come to light, but that it won't simply be autobiographical. "I want to use this chance to show moments and situations that we have not spoken about, and which people don't know about Pussy Riot — both while we were in prison but also afterwards," she added. "I want this to speak about the place of political artists and political art in the world, and about the difference between radical gestures and art. The message here is the same as in our music and in our political acts. We are fighting against our oppressive governments, just now we are using theatre."

You can support Burning Doors on Kickstarter. Rewards range from social media shout-outs to a private Belarusian dinner with Masha in London. 

Credits


Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Igor Mukhin