Borya fights. He's been fighting since the USSR annexed his country. Ever since the puppet government was established. Ever since they put him in jail. Even now he'll go on fighting. But Borya needs to escape first. His plan is to lead a group of prisoners in a riot that will give him the opportunity to break out. They smuggle tools in through a teacher called Mitya, who is allowed to bring books in to the prison. But frequent raids by the guards makes it hard for them. Is someone an informer? Borya, convinced the mole is the prisoner Lazar, plans to murder him. But Mitya challenges him; violence won't buy Borya freedom. Borya, fearing Mitya will stop helping him, leaves Lazar alone. The riot begins and the prison descends into chaos. Both Prisoners and Guards struggle. Borya and the group attempt to make a break for it. But one by one they are killed. The last two, Borya and Mitya, are trapped within touching distance of freedom. Mitya decides to gives himself up while Borya flees. Years later Borya spots Lazar and feels the urge for revenge. But remembering that his freedom was a gift he lets Lazar go.
Barrabas is a character that appears in all four of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. As a hard-bitten revolutionary he manifests the Jewish struggle against the invading Roman oppressors. But what does Barrabas really want? Like all of us, ultimately he wants freedom. Specifically, liberation for his people. Given the history of dissident imprisonment in the gulags of the Cold War it seemed a plausible setting to relocate his struggle to. But Barabbas’ understanding of freedom is at odds with Jesus' understanding of freedom. According to John 8, freedom can only be given by Jesus, because people are really enslaved by Sin, not human powers. My pitch explores the time after Barabbas' imprisonment. He enters with one faulty view of freedom, but does this change after he is released? In all of the accounts Jesus and Barrabas change places: Jesus is executed even though he is innocent and Barabbas walks even though he is a criminal. This swap plays a central role in Insurrection. Will the gracious act of Mitya to give himself up for Borya change his view of freedom? These biblical themes of freedom and grace are universal.