Facing The Zone

project realised with the support of Europeam Culture Fundation and Polish Ministery of Culture

It is hard to find words that can best describe the contaminated Chernobyl zone. We can only consider the complexity of this phenomenon as we try to convey our personal experiences, fears, and fascination. We came to understand that there is an existential thrill associated with radiation - the ultimate, invisible terrorist. We would like to emphasize the power of nature against the fragility of man. We would like to describe the zone as a peaceful and mysterious refuge, yet full of lethal beauty. We want to tell about people who have found greater meaning and purpose to their lives out of this great tragedy. During the last 20 years a host of different characters have appeared on the scene competing for the copyright of Chernobyl's misfortunes - a copyright for suffering. Politicians, officials, activists impose their opinions as if only they knew how to speak about it properly: how they should look, how they should feel and how they should express themselves.The reality is, nobody knows how to speak truthfully about it. To this day little is known about the complexity of the reasons, the effects and consequences of the accident that took place in the nuclear plant. What is well known however is the way the political and economical capital of Chernobyl has been exploited ever since.


Our journey to the Belarusian and Ukrainian contaminated zone, meetings with liquidators, officials, ecological activists, as well as our extensive research through books, photographs, films, has contributed to the creation of this theatre experiment. It is the result of the collaborative work of Teatr Arabesky (Ukraine), EcodomArt (Belarus) and Teatr Biuro Podrozy (Poland).