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Documenting migrant labour in Moscow’s Teatr.doc

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In Russia, documentary theatre can be seen as a challenge to a bureaucratic logic that was famously summarized in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita: “If there are no papers, there is no person.” Teatr.doc, the first documentary theatre to open in Moscow, has recorded a “human document” for undocumented immigrants by staging plays about the lives of ethnic minorities in Moscow. Recently threatened with the loss of its 12-year-old basement space, Teatr.doc must be studied as an institution that created space for public discussion despite increasing state supervision of culture. This paper describes Teatr.doc’s efforts to document the everyday lives of undocumented labourers living amidst ethnic stensions in Moscow.
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Keywords: Documentary theatre; Russia; Teatr.doc; ethnic minorities; labor migrants; verbatim theater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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