Andrei Kureichik’s ‘Insulted. Belarus’ – Handwriting On The Wall At City Garage

By Ernest Kearney  —  City Garage’s production of Insulted. Belarus, a chronicle of that country’s political woes by native son Andrei Kureichik, is commendable on a number of levels with each expanding outwards like the transverse waves of a stone when dropped into a pond’s stagnant waters.

Most immediate to the gravity wave of said stone is the solidly crafted production itself. Next comes the commitment of City Garage to providing international playwrights the opportunity to have their voices heard beyond their homeland while presenting American audiences with the opportunity to hear them. Finally, the most praiseworthy of the generated longitudinal ripples is City Garage’s dedication to the most essential of dramatic expressions, that of the Political Theatre.

Sadly few companies possess the courage to engage that challenge or the craft to do so successfully.

Now to Insulted. Belarus

“I hate theatre,” bellows Oldster, the Mustache Man (Randall Wulff) from a podium, an image that is projected largely behind him on the stage’s back wall in true Orwellian fashion.

And so begins the audience’s introduction to the tragic struggle of the Eastern European nation of Belarus.

What Kureichik (with the aid of translator John Freedman) offers is a schooling in how the hand of totalitarianism tightens its grip around the throat of a people.

 Insulted. Belarus focuses on the mass protest which erupted across that nation when Alexander Lukashenko, who had reigned as head of state since 1994, claimed his sixth term as president in a 2020 election, denounced by international observers as fraudulent.

Wulff’s superb rendering of the “Oldster,” a portrayal of Lukashenko, is one of a trio of characters on stage depicting players in the actual historical drama.

There’s “Novice, a candidate” (Angela Beyer) as Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who ran against Lukashenko after her husband and most of the opposition party had been arrested by the government.

And there’s “Youth, the son” (a wonderfully bratty Courtney Brechemin) as a caricature of Nikolai, the third son of the dictator widely seen as being groomed as his successor. 

The remaining cast is representative of the two factions of the Belarus society.  Supporters of the government are embodied in the aptly named “Raptor, a storm-trooper” (Andrew Loviska) and the self-righteous functionary “Mentor, a teacher” (Juliet Marrison.)

Symbolizing those engaging in civil disobedience are “Cheerful, the sister” (Devin Davis-Larton) and forebodingly named “Corpse, a protestor” (Anthony M. Sannazzaro); both of whom capture the suffering of those crushed beneath the despot’s heel.

Against a background of actual footage from the widespread protests of 2020, Kureichik offers us insights into the human cost of the government’s brutal repression.

Director Frédérique Michel stylishly renders this human tragedy on her stage with great aplomb, and the cast excels in the tasks given them.

While Michel does elevate this production above being a mere history lesson, that history nevertheless should be taught.

If Lukashenko’s name sounds familiar to some, it was he who brokered the end to the recent rebellion of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group, the Russian mercenaries who fought in the Ukraine then turned against Vladimir Putin.  It was widely reported that Lukashenko ended Prigozhin’s assault on Moscow by offering him a safe sanctuary in Belarus which makes it all the more telling that Prigozhin ended up dying in a mysterious airplane crash on route from Moscow to Saint Petersburg a month afterwards.

What Insulted. Belarus offers us, in a dramatically moving fashion, is knowledge of the methods of fascism in undermining a democracy.  Sadly, that knowledge is what this nation seems to be in vital need of.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, after the government crackdown, went into exile in Lithuania.  She has continued to fight for the freedom of her country, warning the world, “Dictatorship is a cancer.  It will spread.”


Tickets and More Information

for Insulted. Belarus

click HERE

9 Dates from Fri, Nov 17, 2023 – Sun, Dec 17, 2023



T1 Space

2525 Michigan Ave

Santa Monica, CA 90404


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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