Yara Arts Group from La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York will present "Dream Bridge," an original, experimental theatre piece featuring Yara artists from New York, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The production, created by Virlana Tkacz, is based on a Ukrainian poem "Dream" by Oleh Lysheha and uses fragments from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" (mentioned in the poem), as well as the dreams and nightmares of the participants. It will perform March 27 at the PASIKA Theatre Center at the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on Illinska Street 9 in Kyiv, March 30 at the Kurbas Theatre Center Volodymyrska 23V, Kyiv, and 2 April also at the Kurbas Theatre Center to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine.
The score is by Kyiv composer Alla Zahaykevych which features music on Kyrgyz traditional instruments. Interweaving performances in English, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz, "Dream Bridge" is highly visual show and completely accessible to all audiences.
Virlana Tkacz, creator of "Dream Bridge," wrote: "For several years, I have been interested in creating a piece based on dreams. Our dreams can bring to light the mystery which swirls silently inside. At night, our brains, freed of their burdens, soar like music. Space turns fluid, as we swim through the universe and through time: into our past and even the future. Dreams become bridges into our childhood, where we can find answers to life-long questions, or stumble upon new enigmas." The dreamer drifts off, a school of fish sings, turning into his childhood friends and relatives, as he sees moments when a single gesture clearly signaled that everything was now different.
The core text of "Dream Bridge" is the poem "Dream" by Ukrainian poet Oleh Lysheha and its English translation by Virlana Tkacz and American poet Wanda Phipps. Oleh Lysheha is acknowledged by many to be the best contemporary poet in Ukraine, a "poet's poet." In 2000, he was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for his book published by Harvard University Press. Both Virlana Tkacz and Oleh Lysheha were Fulbright Scholars: Virlana Tkacz, was a Fulbrighter in 2002 in Ukraine and 2008 in Kyrgyzstan, Oleh Lysheha was a Fulbrighter 1997-1998 in the U.S. They began their artistic collaboration during these exchanges.
In July, Yara worked in Kyrgyzstan to create the first draft of "Dream Bridge." The play's company now includes Yara artists Andrew Colteaux, Brian Dolphin and Christopher Ignacio, Ukrainian actors Mykola Shkaraban and Vladyslava Havryliuk, as well as Kyrgyz actors Kenzhegul Satybaldieva and Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy and musician Nurbek Serkebaev, who performs on traditional Kyrgyz instruments. Yevhenk Kopyov designs the lights while Nadia Sokolenko is the assistant director. The production has projections by Mikhail Shraga and Waldemart Klyuzko last year's New York Innovative Theatre Award nominees.
Oleh Lysheha's poetry has been central to several of Yara Arts Group's productions. In 2003, Yara staged his poem "Swan" at La MaMa and at Harvard. Dzvinka Matiash, a critic of Komentar, wrote, "The production of 'Swan' is a virtuoso translation of Lysheha's text – it is not simply a literary translation into English, but rather a translation of poetry into the languages of music, light, image, movement of the human body, human voice (that can sound sharp, hoarse, strained, tired, lonely), and of course, stage space… This is what art should be like – in the glare of the stage lights you suddenly see the essence." Last spring, Yara created a new theatre piece based on Oleh Lysheha's poem "Raven." NYTheatre.com (Amy Lee Pearsall) wrote, "'Raven' incites this ensemble to glorious flight. The path flown by 'Raven' is, by turns, intoxicating in both its simplicity and complexity. I encourage you to follow where it leads."
Virlana Tkacz is the founding director of Yara Arts Group and has created twenty two original theater pieces with the company, all of which had their American premieres at La MaMa in New York. The Village Voice described Yara's production of "Circle" as "stunningly beautiful work that rushes at your senses, makes your heart pound, and shakes your feelings loose." Off-Off Online (Michael Bettencourt) labeled Yara's "Scythian Stones," with the world renowned Ukrainian singer Nina Matvienko and Kyrgyz artists, "Pick of the Week" and wrote, "The performance builds what good theatre should always build: an alternate world that allows us to re-learn and reflect upon the great questions at the core of our being human."
Yara Arts Group, founded in 1990, is a resident company of La MaMa Theatre in New York. The troupe transforms original material into experimental theatre productions in a signature style that uses multilingual dialogue and music supported by evocative visuals and projections. Timely issues are explored through the diverse cultural perspectives of the group's members, bringing together poetry, song, historical materials and scientific texts, primarily from the East, to form what one critic described as "extended meditation on an idea." The company has created eleven pieces based on materials from Ukraine and Eastern Europe, six theater pieces with Buryat artists from Siberia, three with artists from Kyrgyzstan and two based on Japanese material.
"Dream Bridge" is made possible by support of the U.S. Embassy, Fulbright Program in Ukraine, the Coca Cola Company, Self-Reliance(NY) F.C.U. and friends of Yara Arts Group.
a journey into the land of dreams
an experimental theatre piece
created by Virlana Tkacz
with Yara Arts Group, from New York, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz artists
based on the poem “Dream”
by Oleh Lysheha
with excerpts from Shakespeare’s "Midsummer Night’s Dream" and our own dreams
WHERE AND WHEN:
March 27 19:00 - Kyiv-Mohyla PASIKA Theatre Center, Illinska 9, Kyiv,
March 30 – 19:00 - Kurbas Theatre Center, 23 Volodymyrska 23V, Kyiv
April 2 – 19:00 - Kurbas Theatre Center, 23 Volodymyrska 23V, Kyiv