Yara Arts Group receives TWO New York Innovative Theatre Awards
Yara Arts Group received two New York Innovative Theatre Awards, which recognize outstanding work in New York City's Off-Off-Broadway Theatres, honoring the essential role it plays in American and global culture. The 14th annual award ceremony were held September 24, 2018.
Yara’s "1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs," which performed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre June 9-25, 2017, won as the Best Production of a Musical during the NY Innovative Theatre Award season which runs from June 1 to May 31. Julian Kytasty and Zhadan & the Dogs, who created the music for the show, won a NYIT Award for Outstanding Original Music.
"1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs" was an original theatre piece which examined what individuals do when a society crumbles. It was conceived and directed by Virlana Tkacz, using the poetry of Pavlo Tychyna, Ukraine's great 20th century poet and the poems and songs of Serhiy Zhadan, Ukraine's great 21st century poet. The core text of the show was Tychyna collection “Instead of Sonnets and Octaves,” which as Kateryna Kindras noted, was Tychyna’s “real but disturbing testimony about ‘his time’ – the bloody events in Ukraine 1918-1920 during the Red Terror.” In the show the performances of Tychyna’s poetry were punctuated with songs by Zhadan & the Dogs, a Ukrainian nine-member rock group led by Serhiy Zhadan. Zhadan is famous for his poetry and songs about everyday people caught in today's conflict in the war zones of eastern Ukraine.
New York critics loved the show. Time Out New York listed “1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs” as “a show to watch for this week.” The critic for New York Wire wrote: “This magnificent performance encourages us to confront the ugliness with vigor and celebrate the beauty that human beings are capable of in the midst of tragedy and error. In our present climate such artistic collaborations as Yara Arts Group has undertaken and La MaMa E.T.C. has supported for more than fifty years are to be valued as a boon.”
Both Julian Kytasty and Zhadan & the Dogs won for Outstanding Original Music. Writing for “Chas I Prostir,” Lydia Korsun noted that, ”Julian Kytasty “conjured” on his bandura his best compositions for theatre so far.” Kytasty’s music accompanied the Tychyna poems, which were interspersed with contemporary Zhadan poems performed as songs by Zhadan & the Dogs. Olena Jennnings felt that “Zhadan’s energy was matched by a colorful background with red and yellow lighting. The dynamic music was a way to bring the poems to heart, to feel them throughout our bodies with the band accentuating the words. The two pieces of the performance converge in a poignant moment when Zhadan picked up a book bound in red cloth, a relic from Tychyna’s time that he brings into the present.”
Responding to the awards Ms. Tkacz wrote: ‘Yara is honored to be recognized by our colleagues in the independent theatre movement of New York. “1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs” was Yara’s largest production ever. We brought Serhiy Zhadan and his 8-member rock band from Kharkiv. We had a super Yara cast, plus Bob Holman. The show was powerful and timely and I am very proud of it.” See Yara’s Website (www.brama.com/yara for photos and videos from the show.
Yara is a resident company at La MaMa Theatre and since 1990 has created thirty four international cultural projects with contemporary and traditional artists from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia.
1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs
Yara Arts Group
306 East 11th St., #3Bb
New York, NY 10003 USA