Image: PUSSY RIOT/ Jonas Akerlund

You may remember that famous scene in House of Cards where Pussy Riot humiliate the fictional Russian President Viktor Petrov, a impersonation of Vladimir Putin. That cameo was just the latest stepping stone in Pussy Riot’s had given rise to global disrepute as female icons of resistance.

But in real life, the Russian feminist punk rock group have paid a heavy cost for their dissident voice. Two members of the group spent two years in prison and they are now planning an immersive theater performance in London, which promises to instil everyone with the feeling of fear and isolation that they felt after their protest.

is it worth is? let me work it

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“In today’s Russia, you can say basically say a couple of words for 40 seconds and end up in jail for two years, ” Pussy Riots NadyaTolokonnikova said .

On Aug. 17, 2012, Pussy Riot stepped inside Moscows Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, performed a snippet of a carol called “Punk Prayer” a direct attack on the Russian Orthodox Church’s unequivocal support for Vladimir Putin and were rapidly convicted of hooliganism motivated by religion hatred.

They were sentenced to two years of imprisonment, where they were faced with solitary confinement and “endless humiliation, ” including regular forced gynaecological examinations. Tolokonnikova and fellow Pussy Riot memberMaria Alekhina were released three months early as part of an amnesty law passed prior to the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

NadyaTolokonnikova

Image: PUSSY RIOT

Pussy Riot’s immersive performance is called Inside Pussy Riot and the aim is to hold a six-week residency of the show in London, starting in November.

But there’s a catch you won’t be sitting comfortably in your chair with a glass of wine. The fourth wall between performers and audience will be broken and you will be taken through an immersive experience of arrest, sentencing, incarceration and, eventually, a very real and chilling sense of fear.

A Kickstarter campaign, launched to help the performance come to life, has received substantial support, raising 55,658 from pledged 60,000 ($ 77,830) aim with 8 periods to go in the time of writing this article.

Setting the stage

I knew that I wanted to make it happen since 2014 when we got out of jail, ” Tolokonnikova told. “But an immersive theatre of this kind, replicating prison life, it’s a big production. My pals connected me to the theatre scene in London and they introduced me to this theatre company, Les Enfants Terribles.”

The theatre corporation has gained acceptance in recent years, most notably for its Olivier-nominated production of Alice’s Adventures Underground which, itself, sought to break that wall between watcher and doer.

Tolokonnikova tells Inside Pussy Riot is loosely on the basis of their trial and incarceration in Russia, but it’s not biographical. “It’s not interesting to always talking here ourselves. The tale is broader, because any ordinary person that stands up to Putin’s regime can find themselves in a similar situation.”

Coming to the performance attains you an active participant.

“They read you your convict. Youre moved to a penal colony where you have to work. We want to remind people that there are those who are working there right now, right this second in slave-like circumstances. Nobody was convicted to lose their dignity. That’s different from losing your freedom.”

There’s likewise a priest who term vomits a monologue about abortions and how girls exist, like farm animals, to improve the demography and render kids.

Does this demagoguery sound familiar? It’s the underlying plot of the Handmaid’s Tale , the reach series illustrating life inside a U.S. faced with infertility, militant patriarchy, and religious extremism.

But Tolokonnikova alerts preemptively that the implementation of its is no longer an sight of a dystopian future it’s the life that actual people are living right now. “It’s not just a show.”

“Spoiler: youll be released.”

In preparation for Inside Pussy Riot , Tolokonnikova depicted inspiration from Russian artists from the 1970 s through the 1990 s, whose project focused on proving the everyday life in the USSR. Ilya Kabakov is one example, with his famous Berlin installation of a kommunalka ( the utopian programmes from the 1920 s for collective living) bathroom.

“It was amazing, because no one in Berlin had ever seen anything like that shared bathroom, ” Tolokonnikova mentioned. With the rise of immersive theatre about two decades ago, Tolokonnikova watched an chance to combine this focus on the Russian experience with a chance to involve and teach people. And get them to feel panic, a little.

“Spoiler: youll be liberated, ” Tolokonnikova joked. “You will not have to spend 2 years in jail.”

( Like she did .)

Discipline and Punish

Tolokonnikova hopes the experience will be particularly shocking for a UK audience.

“A lot of them they have just never experienced, thankfully, what it means to live in a country where freedom of speech is so restriction. But, you can lose your liberty if you don’t fight for it. Ive recognized it with Brexit, with Trump, the rise of hate crime and racism, we see how ugly it gets when senior White House officials talk to reports about sucking roosters.”

Tolokonnikova says history is not linear. Nor is progress. And you can easily slide back into darker times. Gradually but securely( another Handmaid’s Tale lesson ). And that, Tolokonnikova told, is the main takeaway from Inside Pussy Riot as well.

For now, the performance would be limited to a stage in London. In the future the scheme is to expand and, eventually, one day, bringing it back home to Russian clay. That, unsurprisingly, is very difficult. Aside from the personal hazards any outspoken Putin critics face, it’s people who are in any way connected to them that become targets.

“That’s why Pussy Riot has to be a guerrilla gig. Its impossible to rent a space, an office. So the prosecutors agency calls the owners house and they say, Do you really want to have troubles, do you really want a criminal case opened against you right now? If you dont want that, dont work with Pussy Riot, ‘” Tolokonnikova said.

So, for now, the theatre performance remains an act of dissidence in a city which has become an unofficial capital of Russian dissidents.

The Puppet( eer )

As the Trump administration hangs along, and with it the ever-deepening Russia scandal, what many Russian columnists have noticed is a a parallel process paranoia by media and officials in U.S.

According to Alexey Kovalev, a writer and expert debunker of Russian state propaganda, the seemingly growing image of Putin as evil genius and strategic mastermind is dangerous and false. With the unexplainable enjoy for Putin shown by President Trump, and the immediate toxic reaction by major media outlets online, we’ve come to anticipate the underlying dominance of the often-shirtless judo-wrestling former KGB spy Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

That is just for show, Tolokonnikova said.

“I’m truly annoyed every time Putin is portrayed as some almighty hero that’s exactly how he wants to be portrayed.”

“Im really bothered every time Putin is portrayed as some almighty hero thats exactly how he wants to be portrayed. If you, as Western media, want to help people in Russia, then you need to break that image of the strong macho boys. That he is not. His squad are unbelievably ineffective and pervert. Hes not a global marionette master.”

Perhaps that sounds hyperbolical, but it’s a useful counterpoint to the image of Russia as well cogged machine manned by Putin an image long comprised about the Soviet Union, too, for that are important. Until it collapsed. In all such cases, it’s the human stories inside these regimes that work to hollow them out from the inside out and delegitimize them.

And, for Pussy Riot, their immersive theater performance is just one small step in speaking truth to power.

Read more: http :// mashable.com/ 2017/08/ 11/ pussy-riot-immersive-theatre-russian-prison-life /~ ATAGEND