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Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy and Tonia Matvienko turn to stone
photo by Aleks Zelenina

Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy and
Kenzhegul Satybaldieva
photo by Katerina Kliuzko

Tonia Matvienko embraces Nina Matvienko
as she gets ready to leave
photo by Aleks Zelenina

Debutante Hour's Susan Hwang and Maria Sonevytsky set Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy in front of a TV
photo by Aleks Zelenina

Scythian Stones

world music theatre piece – the journeys of
two women become epic descents into the Great Below,
where songs, skills and languages vanish

created by Virlana Tkacz with Yara Arts Group
Ukrainian and Kyrgyz artists
directed by Virlana Tkacz
design by Watoku Ueno
movement by Katja Kolcio

with: Nina Matvienko, Tonia Matvienko, Cecilia Arana,
Kenzhegul Satybaldieva and Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy
music: Nurbek Serkebaev, Julian Kytasty &
Debutante Hour’s Susan Hwang & Maria Sonevytsky

Sept 9, 2010 at GogolFEST International Festival in Kyiv
Sept 12-16, 1020 at Pasika Theatre Center in Kyiv-Mohyla
Sept 25-28, 2010 at B'Arts Center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Although the avant-garde is usually associated with the search for new forms, often lacking in meaning, the ethno-music theatre piece Scythian Stones, turned out extraordinarily heartfelt. The show is totally devoid of patriotic pathos, but full of hidden meaning. Two paths intertwine through the stage space and disappear upstage, like two entwined fates. So, two tales are interlaced here… At its essence Scythian Stones is a simple and moving story about two girls, a Ukrainian and a Kyrgyz, who leave their own homes. The girls abandon their traditional lives, full of ancient rites, magical rituals and set out for the city which strips them of their unique human identity… Two mothers – Nina Matvienko and Kenzhegul Satybaldieva (actress from the Sakhna Theatre in Kyrgyzstan) ready their daughters for the long journey, placing simple items (a spindle whorl and a jar) into kerchiefs. The Kyrgyz mother braids coins into her daughter’s hair, while the Ukrainian mother gives her child a coral necklace. The city shines with bright lights, but is actually a lifeless wasteland. The girls lose their mother’s bundles and eventually their souls turn to stone…. Virlana Tkacz wove this theatre piece out of traditional songs and poetry, creating a virtuoso intertwining of lines from the works of Mary Karr, Maria Meyerchik, Yurko Pozaiak and Oksana Zabuzhko. In the final scene she has the actors whirl in front of cool, but unbelievably beautiful stars. The spectators forget they are in a theatre in this culminating moment. “The Universe” and the Homeland” suddenly become related words, describing a single concept…
Olena Morozova, Courier (Kyiv weekly), September 24, 2010

Oksana Zabuzhko’s “Symptoms of Poetry” becomes the coda of Scythian Stones, a theatre piece built entirely of traditional songs and poetry. Poetry is truly the code of the cosmos that exists between two worlds. Only poetry is capable of saving our soul from a world in chaos. The final mise-en-scene, when the performers whirl in a ghostly dance in front of a projected starry galaxy, is truly unforgettable. At that moment you actually believe that the intimate and inspiring strength of song and poetry can save us from the global wasteland.
Nadia Sokolenko, Den (Kyiv’s major newspaper), September 15, 2010

Virlana Tkacz, an American theatre director of Ukrainian heritage does not visit Kyiv often. But her shows are always the talk of the town… Scythian Stones was performed at the GogolfEST at the Dozhenko Film Studio last Thursday. Now from September 12 to 16th it will be shown every evening at 7 at the Pasika Theatre Center of the University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy at 9 Illinska Street. Scythian Stones is an experimental theatre piece that addresses the globalization process. Songs, traditions, and languages throughout the worlds are disappearing due to the bustle of great cities. Only vague traces remain, reminiscent of the stones carved by Scythians that are now found by archeologists throughout Ukraine and Central Asia. Virlana Tkacz has become interested in disappearing ancient Ukrainian and Kyrgyz epics and rituals. The show uses Kyrgyz and Ukrainian folk elements. The mother and daughter from Kyrgyzstan are played by actresses Kenzhegul Satybaldieva and Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy. Nina Matvienko and her daughter Tonia, portray the Ukrainian pair… “We never speak. We sing the entire show. A song can be understood without translation. I never felt that they were singing in another language, Kyrgyz, right next to me,” said Nina Matvienko. All their voices truly blend beautifully…. The beauty of the songs disappears when the daughters of both mothers decide to go off into the city and see the world… Virlana Tkacz’s goal was to show that the relationship between mother and daughter is similar among all people. “Women are different in different nations; not just in appearance, but in character and attitude. But they are the same in their love to their children. Every mother wants to keep her daughter close to her. Yet this is impossible – you cannot keep and hold this moment forever. I wanted to show how culture and tradition can be passed on without stifling the children,” explained Virlana Tkacz
Olena Zhuk, Ukraina Moloda, national newspaper, September 14, 2010

For more pictures and information on Yara's Scythian Stones

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