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Theatre Performances

Yara is a resident company at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Since its
founding in 1990, the Yara Arts Group has created twenty nine original theatre pieces:


Jeremy Tardy as Ira Aldridge with Maria Pleshkevich
and Sean Eden as Taras Shevchenko photo Pavlo Terekhov

 

video:song from Yara's Dark Night Bright Stars

DARK NIGHT BRIGHT STARS
(2016)

In 1858 the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was set free after 10 years imprisonment. He met the great African American actor Ira Aldridge and drew his portrait.

created and performed by
Yara Arts Group:
Sean Eden, Maria Pleshkevich, Julian Kytasty, Jeremy Tardy, Barak Tucker, & Shona Tucker

conceived & directed by Virlana Tkacz
music Julian Kytasty
set & lights by Watoku Ueno
costumes by Keiko Obremski
with projections by Waldemart Klyuzko

La MaMa June 3-19 2016:
La MaMa | press release | reviews
Photos from La MaMa shows by: Pavlo Terekhov | Waldemart Klyuzko | Lee Wexler

Taras Shevchenko bio & poems
Shevchenko's portrait of Ira Aldridge
Shevchenko Museum in Kyiv

"Yara Arts Group Productions Looks Beyond the Icons"
by Virlana Tkacz, on the making of "Dark Night Bright Stars"

related events:
Ira Aldridge & Taras Shevchenko Nov 2014:
Two Icons and Friends
review and photos

Ukraine spring 2014:
Odesa, Lviv & Kyiv: press release | reviews and photos |
Photo albums: Odesa | Lviv | Kyiv
photos from Shevchenko Museum in Kyiv | more photos from Kyiv show
video:Yara's "Dark Night Bright Stars"

EV=HOME
(work-in-progress)


being created by Yara Arts Group, Serhiy Zhadan and Crimean Tatar artists

presented by Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiative

Virlana's blog: "War Makes a Play" on the making of Underground Dreams

Kyiv: GogolFest - Sept 2014
Press release | Yara's photos| Izolyatsia's photos | press & photos | video

EV
photo by Volodymyr Klyzuko


photo: Lee Wexler

HITTING BEDROCK (2015)

Dreams of Donetsk, Poetry of Serhiy Zhadan and the War in Ukraine
new theatre piece created by Yara Arts Group
with Marina Celander, Andrew Colteaux, Sean Eden, Chris Ignacio, Julian Kytasty and Maria Pleskevich, plus Melinda Custer, Caitlin Harding, Piotr Gawelko & Lasha Taktakishvilli
conceived and directed by Virlana Tkacz
poetry & monologs by Serhiy Zhadan
set & light: Watoku Ueno, music: Julian Kytasty
projections: Waldemart Klyuzko, costumes: Keiko Obremski
translations: Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps
press release | photos | more photos | reviews | video
February 20 to March 8, 2015
La MaMa, New York  lamama.org

Virlana's blog "War Makes a Play"
on the New York Innovative Theatre Awards site


 

 

UNDERGROUND DREAMS (2014)

Donbas Dreams Past, Present & Future
created by Yara Arts Group

performed by: Artem Manyilov, Larysa Rusnak, Mykola Shkaraban,
Julian Kytasty, Ostap Kostyuk, Mykola Zelenchuk & Dakh Daughters Freak-Cabaret
conceived & directed by Virlana Tkacz
monologs & poetry: Serhiy Zhadan
projections & photography: Waldemart Klyuzko
presented by Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiative

Virlana's blog: "War Makes a Play" on the making of Underground Dreams

Kyiv: GogolFest - Sept 2014
Press release | Yara's photos| Izolyatsia's photos | press & photos | video
Les Kurbas Theatre Center - July 2014
photos

Izolyatsia seized June 9, 2014

Donetsk:workshop Oct 2013
photos | press
"Yara Crosses Borders: ... to Donetsk"
video

Yara's 'Underground Dreams'
photo by Volodymyr Klyzuko

i

 

WINTER LIGHT (2014)

world music theatre piece based on winter songs from the Carpathian Mountains an 18th century nativity show and the crisis in Ukraine today

created by Yara Arts Group
directed by Virlana Tkacz, music directed by Julian Kytasty,
set & lights:Watoku Ueno,
projections: Volodymyr Klyuzko
with the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia featuring: Paul Brantley, Marina Celander, Sean Eden, Alina and Teryn Kuzma
December 27- 28, 2014
La MaMa E.T.C.
Ellen Stewart Theater 66 East 4th St, New York Runs 1:15.

Winter Light at La MaMa
photos | reviews | video

Concert series: "Koliada & Music from the Carpathians" photos from all 2014 events
Dec 6 Ukrainian Museum, NYC photos | Dec 7 Whippany,NJ photos | Dec 9 UN
Dec 10 Shepko Farm, New Paltz | Dec 11 Bard College | Dec 12 Shumski Innski, Tivoli NY
Dec 13 Philadelphia | Dec 14 Washington DC | Dec 15 Ukrainian Embassy
Dec 20 Holiday Show on WFMU Radio | Dec 21 workshop in NY
Dec 23 La MaMa Family Exhibit at La Gallaria
- information on all 2014 Koliada events

Yara's 'Winter Light


Yara's 'Winter Light


Yara's 'Winter Light


Yara's 'Winter Light


photos by Volodymyr Klyzuko

i

 


photo: Victor Serbin

CAPT. JOHN SMITH
GOES TO UKRAINE (2014)

In 1607 Captain John Smith founded Jameston, the first English settlement in America, but in 1603 he was in Kolomyia

created and performed by
Bob Holman, Susan Hwang and Julian Kytasty
conceived & directed by Virlana Tkacz
with projections by Volodymyr Klyuzko
& Mikhail Shraga
set & lights by Watoku Ueno
costumes by Keiko Obremski

La MaMa February - March, 2014:
press release | photos & reviews
more photos
"Yara Crosses Borders: Capt. John Smith..."
song with photos "3 Heads (Is Love)"
video: Mirabile Dicta"
Youtube: 3 Heads (Is Love)

Cape Breton Oct 2014:
Storytelling Conference & Internattional Festival

Ukraine Sept 2013:
Dzyga, for 20th Lviv Book Fair | GogolFest, Kyiv photos
Kyiv's Les Kurbas National Theatre Center photos

 

FIRE WATER NIGHT (2013)

When Trees Move and Women Burn.
World Music Theatre Performance on the Move
by Yara Arts Group


created & directed by Virlana Tkacz
music by Alla Zagaykevych
and Lemon Bucket Orkestra
with fragments of "Forest Song" by Lesia Ukrainka,
as translated by Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps,
Native American, Canadian & American poetry,
plus spring & midsummer night songs from Polissia

Fire Water Night La MaMa - June 7-16, 2013
photos & reviews | photos | more photos
participants| La MaMa press release even more photos

nominated for two NY Innovative Theatre Awards
as best musical and best original music


photo by Tuda Sarian

 


photo: k.kava

MIDWINTER NIGHT (2012)

Sacred and Profane Rituals
Word Music Theatre with Winter Song Singers from the Carpathians
Baroque Folk Nativity Opera and raucous Goat Songs

created by Virlana Tkacz with Yara Arts Group
Koliadnyky from Kryvorivnia & Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Press and Photos from La MaMa | press release | more photos

related Koliada 2012 events:
The Ukrainian Museum reviews and photos | more photos
Ukrainian League in Philadelphia | Barbes and WFMU
"Photo Patterns" by Volodymyr Klyuzko at La MaMa Galleria

2013 Yara's Midwinter Night in Toronto's Harbourfront Center| photos from theatre piece | photos from Toronto Koliada events | photos from Koliada Concert
List of all 2013 Koliada events in Toronto | press release
"Carpathian Photo Patterns" Exhibit in Bezpala-Brown Gallery
video: Finale of Midwinter Night

About the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia
"In Search of the Hutsul Koliada of Kryvorivnia" by Virlana Tkacz
"Hutsul Koliada to a Young Man" English translation

 

DREAM BRIDGE (2012)

inspired by the poetry of Oleh Lysheha
created by Virlana Tkacz with Yara Arts Group, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz artists

Dream Bridge New York, May, 2012
press in New York | photos from La MaMa

Dream Bridge in Kyiv March, 2012 | photos | more photos

Bishkek July, 2011 | photos

Virlana on Oleh Lysheha and Dream Bridge


photo by Lee Wexler

 


photo: Lee Wexler

RAVEN (2011)

Exploring unknowable boundaries

inspired by the poetry of Oleh Lysheha
created by Virlana Tkacz with Yara and Ukrainian artists

La MaMa E.T.C., New York | plus New York Press & Pictures

Pasika Theatre Center June 10-14, 2011 | plus Kyiv Press & Pictures
Les Kurbas Theatre June 22-23, 2011 | plus Lviv Press & Pictures | plus more pictures from Lviv

Voron | and workshop in Kyiv | plus workshop Pictures inspired by Oleh Lysheha's poem | poem in Ukrainian | plus Virlana Tkacz on Oleh Lysheha


 

WINTER SUN (2010)

Theatrical Celebration of Winter Songs from the Carpathian Mountains
with an 18th century nativity show, puppets, music, ritual food and videos

created by Yara Arts Group | video: Before the World Began

photos from Winter Sun La MaMa and Bonfire upstate New York
Ukrainian Museum and Ukrainian Institute | related events: Koliada 2010


photo: Makoto Takeuchi

 


photo: Aleks Zelenina

SCYTHIAN STONES (2010)

an experimental theatre piece about traditional culture

created by Virlana Tkacz with Ukrainian and Kyrgyz artists

Scythian Stones - La MaMa ETC | plus Press & Pictures from New York

Scythian Stones - B'Art Center, Bishkek
Скифские камни | plus Press & Pictures from Bishkek

Scythian Stones in Kyiv | Kyiv information in Ukrainian
| plus Press & Pictures from Kyiv

and workshop in Kyiv

 

ER TOSHTUK (2009)

based on a Kyrgyz epic

created by Virlana Tkacz and Kenzhegul Satybaldienva
with Yara Arts Group and Kyrgyz artists
Er Toshtuk at La MaMa | video: the epic begins

plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures from La MaMa
Margaret Morton's pictures from La MaMa
and workshop in Kyrgyzstan

plot in English | 2010 B'Art Center | Эр-Тоштук в Бишкеке | сказ

Yara's book Kyrgyz Epic Theatre in New York


photo: Margaret Morton

 


photo: Alexander Khantaev

STILL THE RIVER FLOWS (2008)

Celebration of Winter Rituals from the Carpathian Mountains

new world music theatre piece by Yara Arts Group
Still the River Flows see pictures and reviews


 


KO'OLAU (2008)

based on a traditional Hawaiian story

created by Tom Lee at La MaMa

Tour in Hawaii 2010

 

AFTER THE RAIN (2008)

based on Japanese stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, including "Rashomon"

created by Watoku Ueno with Yara Arts Group

After the Rain |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures


photo: Makoto Takeuchi

 


photo: Johnathan Slaff

JANYL (2007)

the story of a woman warrior from the Celestial Mountains based on a Kyrgyz epic

new world music theatre piece by Yara Arts Group and the Sakhna Theatre of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Janyl at La MaMa |plus Theatre Press and Pictures from New York
Janyl Myrza Returns to Her Homeland |plus Press and Pictures from Kyrgyzstan
Janyl Myrza in New York exhibit of photographs by Margaret Morton
Janyl Myrza workshop in Bishkek |plus pictures from Yara's research trip to the Land of Janyl Myrza
Yara's "Kyrgyz Spring in New York" and Kyrgyzstan: Celestial Mountains in Saratoga Springs, NY
Yara's book Kyrgyz Epic Theatre in New York

 


SUNDOWN (2006)

theatrical reflection on the life and work of the father
of Japanese photography, Hikoma Ueno (1837-1904)

created by Watoku Ueno with Yara Arts Group

Sundown |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures

 

KOLIADA: TWELVE DISHES (2005)

forces of nature, animal spirits and the dead come to dinner

new theatre piece by Yara Arts Group based on
ancient winter rituals from the Carpathians
and the very contemporary poetry of Serhiy Zhadan

Koliada: Twelve Dishes | plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures
Koliada workshop in Kyiv| plus "In search of the Hutsul Koliada" by Virlana Tkacz


photo: Alexander Khantaev

 


photo: Alexander Khantaev

THE WARRIOR'S SISTER (2004)

world music theatre piece based on an ancient Buryat epic song

sister of a legendary warrior puts on his armour when he is killed

created by Yara Arts Group and Buryat Artists
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre March 5-21, 2004

The Warrior's Sister |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures

 

SWAN (2003)

music theatre piece based on poetry by Oleh Lysheha

discovering the mythical in the everyday

created by Yara Arts Group
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre June 12-29, 2003
at Lowell Hall, Harvard University July 11, 2003

Swan |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures

Swan at Harvard |and text of Oleh Lysheha's poem "Swan"


photo: Watoku Ueno

 


photo: Alexander Khantaev

KUPALA (2002)

songs from the midsummer night festival

created with Mariana Sadovska
at the Ukrainian Diaspora
International Theatre Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine
and in the villages of Kraichkivka in Poltava
and Svarytsevychi in Polissia
November, 2002

Kupala: at Festival in Kyiv and in villages

 

HOWLING (2002)

world music theatre piece based on Siberian wolf legends

created by Yara Arts Group and artists from Buryatia
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre March 15 - 31, 2002

Howling |and Theatre Reviews


photo: Alexander Khantaev

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

OBO: OUR SHAMANISM (2001)

world music theatre piece based on shaman intiation rituals
the artists witnessed in Siberia

created by Yara Arts Group
and artists from Buryatia
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre March 15 - April 1, 2001

Obo: Our Shamanism |and Theatre Review|

 

SONG TREE (2000)

A World Music Theatre piece based on ancient winter songs and dances from the Carpathians and Poltava
Spirits of Malanka and the Goat Dance descend on a woman who has buried herself in work and science.

created by Yara Arts Group, artists from Ukraine and Gogol Bordello
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre December 21 - 23, 2000
On the making of Song Tree see "Kryachkivka: A Village That Sings" |
and "Utoropy: A Village with Salt in Its History" |
On our show Song Tree with show photos


photo: Watoku Ueno

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

CIRCLE (1999-2000)

Siberian legends, shaman chants and post-Soviet reality intermingle in an outrageous look at contemporary wedding in Buryatia when Gogol Bordello, a hot gypsy punk band, arrives to make sure everything goes wrong

created by Yara Arts Group, artists from the Buryat National Theatre of Siberia and Gogol Bordello
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre March 24 - April 9, 2000
video: wedding scandal & video: fire given to bride

"Making Our Circle" by Virlana Tkacz(with photos) | Reviews of Circle | Circle in Mongolia

 

Flight of the White Bird
(1998-99)

created with artists from the Buryat National Theatre of Siberia, featuring traditional Buryat Mongolian music and throat singing. -- An American journalist in Siberia today finds herself in the footsteps of a 16th century Buryat Mongolian princess. Their worlds entwine as a Shaman, at the height of his trance, leaves his body and takes flight. The piece performed at La MaMa in New York, the Buryat National Theatre in Ulan-Ude and on tour in the villages of the Buryat Aginsk Region, where the folk songs and legends that inspired the piece were originally collected.

"Flight: A Buryat Princess Finds Us" by Virlana Tkacz (with photos) |


photo: Watoku Ueno

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

Virtual Souls (1996-97)

created with artists from the Buryat National Theatre of Siberia. On the Internet someone opens a window into the past... Nature reveals its mythical secrets--swans transform into beautiful women. But can you copyright a dream? The piece performed at La MaMa, in Ulan-Ude and at the Experimental Theatre Festival in Kyiv.

"Virtual Souls in Siberia" by Virlana Tkacz (with photos) | Reviews of Virtual Souls

 

Waterfall/Reflections (1994-95)

created with the legendary folk singer from Kyiv, Nina Matvienko. The piece explores notions of identity in our changing world by weaving together family histories, myth, ancient song and contemporary poetry by American and Ukrainian women. The piece performed at La MaMa and at the Festival of Experimental Theatres in Kyiv.

Theatre Reviews and Pictures


photo: Watoku Ueno

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

Yara's Forest Song (1993-94)

the shifting boundaries between wilderness and civilization.

Based on a classic of Ukrainian literature, Lesia Ukrainka's Forest Song, translated into English by Yara members, Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps. Also included in the text were the works by American, Canadian and Japanese poets, pre-Christian Ukrainian incantations and ancient songs were incorporated into an original score. In the spring of 1994 Yara traveled to Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine to further work on the piece with the Kurbas Young Theatre. The joint cast performed the piece bilingually in Lviv and then in New York at La MaMa in June.

Song |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures

 

Blind Sight(1992-93)

considered the nature of "seeing" across barriers of culture. Blind Sight was based on the life of blind writer Vasyl Yeroshenko, who traveled the world, settling in Japan 1914-21 and writing in Japanese. The piece was comprised of the autobiographical writings and short stories of Yeroshenko and of poems by 7th to 20th century Japanese and Ukrainian writers. It was performed primarily in English, with fragments in Japanese, Ukrainian and Esperanto. This multilingual version was performed at festivals in Kharkiv and Kyiv and at La MaMa.

Blind |plus Theatre Reviews and Pictures



photo: Watoku Ueno

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

Explosions (1991-92)

explored society's ambivalence towards technological power. It interwove documentary material from the Chornobyl nuclear accident, alchemical texts, fragments of German expressionist drama, new American poetry, and translations into English of contemporary Ukrainian verse for which Yara members were awarded the AGNI Translation Prize from Boston University.

 

A Light from the East (1990-91)

the power of art to change the world and the forces that oppose change

This piece incorporated writing from the diaries of Les Kurbas, an experimental theatre director who worked in Kyiv in the 1920s and was later destroyed by Stalin; the poetry of Pavlo Tychyna, the foremost Ukrainian writer of the 20th century; and dreams of the Yara artists. A bilingual version of this piece was produced in Ukraine with Yara members and local artists in the summer of 1991. This version opened in Kyiv during the week of the attempted coup in Moscow and played to standing-room-only audiences in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv.

Theatre Reviews and Pictures
Trailer from film about Yara's tour in Ukraine

 


photo: Watoku Ueno

Yara also performed Pandora/A Re-Considered Masque by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps at the Women's Project spring of 1990,
Breath by Annette Kurek in a workshop at La Mama in the fall of 1991,
Time In Between by Andrew Colteaux and Virlana Tkacz shown as a work-in-progress at the Berezillia Theatre Festival in Kyiv in the spring of 1994,
Hoplite (2004) and Ko'olau (2008) by Tom Lee at La MaMa
and Singing Tree (2010), Grosch the Cellist (2011), Music in the Wood (2012) and On the Waves (2013) by Watoku Ueno

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