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Play based on bloody Moscow theater siege to be shown in Beslan

MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - A play by a British director based on the 2002 Moscow theater siege could be shown in Beslan, the south Russian city that witnessed a similar tragedy in 2004, and in Italy, the playwright said on Friday.

The Russian version of "In Your Hands" by Moscow-born British playwright and director Natalia Pelevine premiered in the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan earlier this month, but was allegedly banned the next day by the republic's president.

Pelevine said Beslan, a town in the nearby Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, would "welcome the production," and the Daghestani theater that staged the Russian version would soon receive an invitation.

Beslan itself saw a bloody terrorist school siege in 2004, which left 333 people dead, including 186 children.

"I have also received an invitation [to stage the play] from Italy. They are translating the play already," Pelevine said.

Shown in London in 2006 with measurable success, "In Your Hands" is based on events in the Dubrovka theater after it was taken over by Chechen terrorists in 2002, when over 900 people were kept hostage for about three days.

The main protagonists are a shahid woman and a woman journalist trapped in the theater. During the performance the director placed actors dressed as armed terrorists at theater exits to make the atmosphere more realistic.

The production has reportedly been also banned in Moscow.

Special troops stormed the Moscow theater after pumping a little known gas into its ventilation system. All the 40 militants were killed and 130 hostages died in the operation, which raised questions about the chemical agent used and the authorities' handling of the crisis.

Pelevine also said she could sue Daghestani President Mukhu Aliyev over claims the republic had been chosen to stage the Russian premiere in order to destabilize the region bordering on Chechnya.

The director said after the premiere in Makhachkala, Daghestan's capital, that Aliyev had banned the production. The president denied he had issued such an instruction.

"I will probably sue him. These are groundless, awful accusations uttered by the president of the regional republic," Pelevine said.

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