Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Putin/Snowden Locker Room Pairing: PUTIN AND THE SNOWMAN by Robert Kerbeck

By Gini Chang
Gini Chang

Critics of international politics have had the vast canvas of the Internet to paint their complaints and opinions upon. These criticisms come in the form of text, image, and even video.  For example, in countries such as the US, people have the privilege of being able to Google “Putin memes” and seeing hundreds of thousands of pictures that make fun of Russia’s President. Many of these images have been deemed so offensive that they’re illegal in Russia for portraying a political figure in a negative way. In America, however, political cartoonists are protected by the first amendment that gives them freedom of expression-the right to make fun of whoever they want. 

That’s why America is praised as the country of freedom, because artists, political dissenters and combinations of the two are are able to create work that is uncensored, even if censorship would benefit the government. In fact, there are many things our government isn’t allowed to do- restricting citizens’ rights being only one- and that is why America represents a land of freedom and opportunity when compared with more oppressive governments in countries such as China, North Korea, and Russia. America is a country in which anyone who has an opinion is free to speak. However, on July 21st, 2013, a man named Edward Snowden was charged with theft of government property and Violation of the Espionage Act because while working for the CIA, he discovered classified information about how the National Security Agency was searching through private emails and instant messages as well as tracking cell phones of citizens who were completely unaware of this broach in privacy. After leaking this information to the press, he has fled the country to avoid prosecution. Ironically enough, Snowden was granted asylum by the Russian government. In the midst of this scandal, America was left wondering what could possibly become of this strange alliance between Snowden and Russia. Snowden has been called both hero and traitor for his actions, but his rebellion against his country’s government seems to go against everything that the meme banning Russian government is trying to achieve. 

In Putin and the Snowman, Robert Kerbeck explores a fascinating relationship between Snowden and Putin by placing both characters in a sweaty hockey locker room. Putin is the star player of the hockey team and Snowden is his new social media consultant. Watching Putin and Snowden’s strange interactions, the audience gets to see the figure of Putin in a new perspective, as well as understand his flawless reasoning of why he decided to take Edward Snowden under his wing. Kerbeck’s take on their politically charged relationship is hilarious and thoughtfully crafted. 

What’s your favorite Putin meme? Are he and Snowden meant to be? Comment below or tweet us @RiantTheatre and come see Robert Kerbeck’s Putin and the Snowman at the Strawberry One Act Festival on Saturday, July 16th at 3pm; Tuesday, July 19th at 7pm; Wednesday, July 20th at 9pm; and Thursday, July 21st at 9pm at the St. Clements Theatre: 423 West 46th St, NYC between 9th and 10th Ave.

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