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photo: Volodymyr Klyuzko


Donbas Dreams Past and Present

experimental theatre piece created by Yara Arts Group with Serhiy Zhadan
featuring Dakh Daughters

conceived and directed by Virlana Tkacz
with Larysa Rusnak, Artem Manuilov, Mykola Shkaraban,
Julian Kytasty, Ostap Kostyuk, Mykola Zelenchuk
Darya Koltsova, Mary Lysenko, Maria Prokopenko & Kateryna Zhemchuzhnikova
projections & photos: Volodymyr Klyuzko
set and lights: Yevhen Kopiyov
sound: Yuriy Krasnookyi
translations from English: Oksana Batiuk & Virlana Tkacz

Sunday September 14, 2014 at 16:00 and 20:00
GOGOLFEST at Vydubichi
Gogolfest tickets

Yara Arts Group from La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York will perform its new theatre piece “Underground Dreams” created with Serhiy Zhadanabout Donbas Dreams Past and Present on Sunday September 14 at 16:00 and 20:00 at GogolFest in Kyiv. The show features Dakh Daughters, Yara and Ukrainian artists and is presented by Izolyatsia: Platform for Cultural Initiative. Les Kurbas National Theatre Center in Kyiv and Yara Arts Group.
Gogolfest tickets
Press photos
Facebook photos

“Underground Dream” explores the emergence of dreams and identity, their connection to recent events and the deep history of the region, as well as to their ability to illuminate our future. The new theatre piece was conceived and directed by Virlana Tkacz who developed the original work with poet Serhiy Zhadan based on interviews they conducted with young people in Donetsk in October 2013, when it was first performed at Izolyatsia in Donetsk. In June after Izolytasia was captured by the terrorists, the artists decided to continue the project. They again interviewed the participants, included new texts by Serhiy Zhadan and created a new version of the piece in rehearsals. “Underground Dream” is performed at Gogolfest by Larysa Rusnak, Artem Manuilov and Mykola Shkaraban, Dakh Daughters, Julian Kytasty and Ostap Kostyuk, Mykola Zelechuk and features Dakh Daughters.

Virlana Tkacz is the founding director of Yara and has created 26 original theater pieces with the company, all of which had their premieres at La MaMa. Michael Bettencourt wrote of Yara’s “Scythian Stones,” “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.” Virlana Tkacz was awarded the prestigious Poetry Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Art for work on Serhiy Zhadan’s poetry.

Serhiy Zhadan is the most popular poet of the post-independence generation in Ukraine. His work speaks to the disillusionment, difficulties and ironies that the collapse of the Soviet Union has brought. His readings fill large auditoriums and he publishes regularly. Originally, the enfant terrible of Ukrainian letters, now forty he is considered the most important poet of this century and one of the most popular novelists. He won the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year Awards for Depech Mode (2004) and Voroshylovhrad (2010). Bob Holman wrote: “Serhiy Zhadan's imaginings are an x-ray that sees through the flesh of now into the bones of the past, somehow observed from a vantage point in the future, hovering above the earth. How Ukrainian is it, how revelatory of the US it is, how Universal…”

Underground Dreams” at Gogolfest will feature Dakh Daughters singing Serhiy Zhadan’s poem “Refugees.” Dakh Daughters first appeared in 2012 at Gogolfest and include: Natalka Bida, Tanya Hawrylyuk, Ruslana Khazipova, Solomiia Melnyk, Anna Nikitina and Nataliya Zozul, directed by Vlad Troitsky.

The cast of “Underground Dreams” includes Larysa Rusnak, actress in Kyiv’s Franko Theatre who appears in film, TV and has worked with Yara since 2011; Artem Maniulov, actor born in Luhansk, who worked in Donetsk and in Poland with the Gardzienice Theatre; Mykola Shkaraban, Kyiv actor and TV director who has worked with Yara since 1991. Also appearing are: Dariya Koltsova and Maria Lysenko, who was in the original production in Donetsk and is now a refugee.

Additional music is composed by Julian Kytasty and features the instrumental music of his bandura. A third generation bandurist, born in US, his music combines a mastery of traditional styles with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. He has worked with Yara since 1998. Ostap Kostyuk, appears in the show and performs on the duda, a traditional Ukrainian bagpipe made of goat skin. Mykola Zelenchuk, a Hutusl who worked in Donetsk, joins him on trembita, wooden mountain horn from the Carpathians.

Projections are by Volodymyr Klyuzko from Kyiv, who was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for his work on Yara’s “Raven.” The set and lights are by Yevhen Kopiyov from the Les Kurbas National Theatre in Kyiv, sound is by Yuriy Krasnookyi from Lviv and Nadia Sokolenko is the assistant director.

Since 1990 Yara Arts Group has created twenty eight international collaborative cultural projects with contemporary and traditional artists from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. Favorite shows include: “In the Light” about Les Kurbas and our own dreams of a new world on stage, “Blind Sight” about a blind Ukrainian writer who became a Japanese writer in 1914, “Circle” with Buryat artists from Siberia and Gogol Bordello, “Swan” and “Raven” based on poetry by Oleh Lysheha, “Scythian Stones” with Nina and Tonia Matvienko and Kyrgyz artists, and the recent “Fire Water Night” based on Lesia Ukrainiaka’s  “Forest Song” which was nominated for two New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives is a multidisciplinary cultural center that was located in a factory in Donetsk until June 9, 2014 when it was seized by terrorist of the DNR. Izolyatsia continues its mission in exile in Kyiv, supporting new cultural and social initiatives. It initiated Underground Dreams as a workshop in Donetsk in October 2013 and presented it as a work-in-progress at the Les Kurbas National Theatre Center in Kyiv in July 2014.

Underground Dreams” was made possible by the Izolyatsia: Platform for Cultural Initiateives, the Les Kurbas National Theatre Center in Kyiv, the Coca-Cola Company and the friends of Yara Arts Group.

Virlana Tkacz on workshop at Izolyatsia in Donetsk October 2013

photos from work-in-progress at Kyiv's Les Kurbas National Theatre Center July 2014

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