May 16, 2022


Its all about the school

“The Chechens,” by Phillip Christian Smith, directed by Jean Randich

12 min read

In the spring of 2017, a secret purge of gay citizens began in Chechnya and continues to this day. Phillip Christian Smith, who most often writes plays about black, gay, and marginalized people, thoroughly researched events that the Chechen government had covered up. Phillip knew a Chechen would have been killed for writing this play. He wrote it to make the world aware of this state-sponsored terrorism. The play is an enormous act of empathy to which the actors brought their own. In the spring of 2021, our ensemble and creative team researched, designed, and embodied this situation. The actors also filmed themselves with their own iPhones. We shot under Covid restrictions, including periods of quarantine, where they could neither see nor touch each other. Please join us for this searing exploration of how a society survives when its government demands honor killing of its own citizens. Content warning: Homophobia, homicide.

Designed, video recorded, and edited by Sue Rees.
Produced by Drama at Bennington.
Featuring Colton Chaney, Brooks Hope, Jelena Mijatovic, Hannah Pereira, and Amanda Tafeen. Costume design by Richard MacPike, lighting design by Dale Doucette, sound supervision by Hazel Peters, music supervision by Robert Cotnoir, and technical direction by Seancolin Hankins. Assistant directed by Lane Hill, stage managed by Thomas Finegar.

“In modern Chechnya homosexuals are rumored to be held in camps. Can one family protect their brother suspected of being gay, or will they honor kill him to protect the name of the family? What prevails in the end-religion, politics, or love? “

Source: Bennington College

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