Childhood, Adulthood, Parenthood: A Cycle of Dependency
On the Under the Radar website, Time of Women by Belarus Free Theatre is described as "a story of three women at the forefront of the movement for a democratic Belarus with an unflinching dedication to the truth. Iryna Khalip, the PEN Pinter Prize-winning journalist, Natalya Radina, editor of the pro-human rights news site Charter 97, and political activist Nasta Palazhanka were all imprisoned at the time of the fraudulent presidential elections of 2010". The action of the play focuses on the women as they are imprisoned, being questioned, and at a later point in time, having escaped house arrest and fled Belarus. Their interrogations are brutal and manipulative. The scenes of imprisonment are filled with denial, nervous laughter and defiance. Once it's over, the women reflect on the sorrowful and painful reality of their experiences.
The Fever by 600 Highwaymen is a very different play, not only due to its radical form. A story is told of a town and its residents using company members seated among the audience and the audience itself to portray characters, relationships, and situations. The highly intimate and urgent staging of audience participation brought out the best in everyone in the room, showing us that we had the license and ability to create with and care for one another. When the audience enters the theatre, it is an empty space with chairs lining the boundaries of a rectangular playing area. Aside from that, the room is bare. It's comfortable, and in its intimacy, allows you to feel safe.
A common theme in these two plays was a clear tie to family and the experience of growing up. The Fever dealt primarily with interpersonal relationships and specific experiences ("when was the first time you had an opinon?" a performer asks as the audience stands with them and moves their arms in unison). Time of Women continually recalled the experience of being incarcerated as a parent and as a child, how one must consider the lives of those living for them outside of prison.
I speak as a 19-year-old girl who was raised by two loving parents: adolescence and early adulthood is a weird pace to be in. The teenage years of rebellion urge one outward, away from family, yearning for new experiences and rule-breaking, independence, and anything but stability and responsibility. The unfortunate truth to growing up lies in a human need for intimacy. Though it's a common belief of youth that sexual relationships will fill that desire, the truest bonds come from your home. The family that raises you is something that will never leave your character, your experiences, your life.
Growing up will take you by surprise. Independence happens when you're not looking for it. Loneliness grows when you forget your need for intimacy. So call your mom, she's waiting for you.