At its core, "Being Harold Pinter," the gut-wrenching show from the Belarus Free Theatre, is an attempt to wrestle with a problem. To put it starkly: What does an artist do when people's heads are being broken for speaking out against those in charge? Seven actors from Belarus, whose physical discipline is of a level we don't see every day in Chicago, intermingle snatches of text from Pinter's plays and from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Late in the 80-minute show, the Pinter words drop away and are replaced by real-life testimony about prison, rape and torture. If you support this endeavor and you aren't familiar with Pinter, some of this might be hard to unpack in the moment. But you'll have no trouble grasping what's important to these artists. And there's no question these gifted, brave actors deserve the freedom to make their art and say what they need to say.
Through Feb. 20 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier; $20 at 312-595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
- CHRIS JONES