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experimental performance piece created by Yara Arts Group
exploring unknowable boundaries
based on poetry by Oleh Lysheha

Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 20:00
Kyiv-Mohyla PASIKA Theatre Center
Illinska 9, Kyiv
Free admission. Runs less than one hour

Yara Arts Group from La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York will present "Raven," an original, experimental performance piece featuring actors from America and Ukraine. The production will perform Thursday March 10 at 20:00 at the PASIKA Theatre Center at the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on Illinska Street 9 in Kyiv.

“Raven” is directed by American director Virlana Tkacz. The core text is the poem “Raven” by Ukrainian poet Oleh Lysheha and its English translation by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps. In America, Oleh Lysheha is acknowledged by many as the best contemporary poet in Ukraine, a “poet’s poet.” In 1999 the book The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha in English translations by the author and James Brasfield was awarded the PEN Translation Prize. Lysheha is the author of the collections: The Great Bridge (1989) To Snow and Fire (2002) and Friend Li Bo, Brother Du Fu (2010).Yara Arts Group staged Lysheha’s poem “Swan” at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York and at Harvard University in 2003. Critic Dzvinka Matiash, wrote in Komentar: “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… The poetry interweaves with music, Ukrainian becomes an echo of the English, dance becomes an extension of the voice, and bodies continue to speak as the voice grows silent… This is what art should be like – in the glare of the stage lights you suddenly see the essence.”

Oleh Lysheha’s “Raven” speaks to our desire to explore unknowable boundaries. It is performed by Yara’s Andrew Colteaux and Ukrainian actors Larysa Rusnak, Mykola Shkaraban and Victoria Shupikova. Music is by Alla Zagaykevych. Americans Aurelia Shrenker and Eva Salina Primack (Ash / Æ) sing songs used in the show. The lights are designed by Yevhen Kopyov, projections by Volodymyr Klyuzko. Nadia Sokolenko is the assistant director.

Virlana Tkacz is the artistic director of Yara Arts Group and has created twenty one original theater pieces with the company, all of which had their American premieres at La MaMa. Reviewing Tkacz's production of "Scythian Stones" with Nina Matvienko last year, Michael Bettencourt named it “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.”

Founded in 1990, Yara Arts Group, a resident company of La MaMa, creates original pieces that explore timely issues rooted in the East through the diverse cultural perspectives of the group's members. Yara artists bring 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 ten pieces based on materials from Ukraine and Eastern Europe, including: “A Light from the East,” “Blind Sight,” “Yara's Forest Song,” “Swan,” “Winter Sun,” and “Waterfall/Reflections.” The last of these was developed with folk singer Nina Matvienko, and The New York Times (D.J.R. Bruckner) called it “a theatrical enchantment given cohesion by choreographed movement and by music on a prodigal scale.” Yara has also created six theater pieces with Buryat artists from Siberia, three with artists from Kyrgyzstan and two based on Japanese material.

The production of “Raven” at the PASIKA Theatre Center was made possible with the support of the friends of Yara Arts Group. Yara Arts Group, a resident company of La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. For more information please see For reservation for “Raven” at PASIKA Theatre Center at the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy call (044) 425-2154. For information on premiere in New York Raven April 8- 24, 2011.
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