Playwright Marius von Mayenburg Boycotts His Play's Russian Premiere Over Anti-Gay Laws

His decision was triggered by Russia’s recently adopted law against gay propaganda.

MOSCOW -- German playwright Marius von Mayenburg has refused to attend a Moscow premiere of his play out of protest against Russia’s controversial law against gay propaganda.

“The main reason is the so called 'law against gay propaganda,' ” Mayenburg said in a letter to the organizers of the theater festival Territoriya, which is to host a performance of Mayenburg’s Der Stein in October, following its Russian premiere at Moscow’s Theater of Nations.

“I regularly work with many homosexual artists, with whom I am friends and to whom I feel connected and indebted,” he went on to say. “I cannot travel to a country, in which people are discriminated by the state on the basis of their sexual orientation, pretending that nothing is happening.”

According to Mayenburg, he had no ambition “to be an activist in Russia,” and so, after consulting his friends and colleagues he made the decision not to come to Russia.

“I don’t believe that this could change anything, but, at the moment, this is the only possible solution for me in this situation,” he concluded.

The Russian premiere of Der Stein, directed by Fillipp Grigoryan, is scheduled for Sept. 21, and the performance within the festival Territoriya is to be staged on Oct. 3. The festival, which operates as a theater school as well, also planned to organize Mayenburg’s talk for its students.