Local smartypants art guy Tim DuRoche just informed me that the Smithsonian censorship issue is soooo two weeks ago (sorry PICA) and that the current art world cause célèbre is the repression of Belarus Free Theater. Quoth the New York Times:

The Belarus Free Theater, one of the revelations of the 2008 Under the Radar alternative-theater festival, is scheduled to return for the 2011 edition of the event, which begins early next month. But a real-life drama has suddenly intruded: both founders of the troupe are now in hiding, and another member is in jail, as the result of a government crackdown on protests against a presidential election that human rights groups have described as rigged.

Portland theater artists are joining their colleagues in the US and UK in presenting a free evening of theater in hopes of raising awareness around the situation. Bobby Bermea, Chris Harder, Hannah Treuhaft, Dustin Rush, Haley Talbot and Noah Dunham (former Merc intern alert!) will perform a reading of Belarus Free Theater's Being Harold PInter, which uses Pinter's amazing Nobel acceptance speech/indictment of US foreign policy as "a framework for excerpts from his political drama." (Pinter, along with Tom Stoppard, introduced the show's UK premiere.)

All the (serious, poltiically minded) fun goes down on Monday, Jan 3, from 6-7:30 pm on the mezzanine at Portland Center Stage (128 NW 11th). It's for free.