2017 I Street, NW
Voices Festival Productions joins the Arts Club of Washington one year after their inaugural virtual partnership to present UKRAINIANS UNDER SIEGE, YEAR II: Five New Ukrainian One-Acts From the War written over the past year since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Featuring a five-actor ensemble and four directors, tickets are free through the Arts Club of Washington: www.artsclubofwashington.org – with donations encouraged to support the United Nation's Ukraine Humanitarian Fund or HIAS' Ukraine Crisis Response.
The local event once again joins an international initiative to bear witness through theater to the horrors of Putin’s war on Ukraine. The Worldwide Readings Project (which began in 2020 in solidarity with the beleaguered Belarus theater community) presents works which bring to light the corruption and brutality of authoritarian regimes. This year’s featured Ukrainian playwrights are Andrii Bondarenko, Iryna Harets, Olena Hapieieva, Lena Liahushonkova and Kateryna Penkova.
The ensemble of Local DC actors includes Lisa Hodsoll, Rachel Manteuffel, Fatima Quander, Theodore Sapp and Sam Sherman. The plays will be directed by VFP Artistic Producing Partner, A. Lorraine Robinson, along with Vanessa Gilbert, and NY guest artists, Zoya Kachadurian and Sam Sherman. The plays are translated from the Ukrainian by Natalia Bratus and John Freedman and have been commissioned through the Center for International Theater Development and the advocacy of CITD Founding Director, Philip Arnoult.
“In the Bowels of the Earth”
by Olena Hapieieva | directed by Lorraine Robinson
In an underground bomb shelter, Lena shares crowded quarters with her family and plenty of strangers, hoping that "the earth that takes us in" will provide protection. Families fill the space with a cacophony of needs, interrupted by children questioning the strange brutality of war.
“Planting an Apple Tree”
by Iryna Harets | directed by Vanessa Gilbert
A woman recounts daily activities in her rural home as war creeps closer. Horrors are still at a distance in other, not-far-away cities, so she remains focused on tending to her trees, mixing together feelings of safety and dread in the planting.
by Andrii Bondarenko | directed by Zoya Kachadurian
A man prepares to go on a date that never happens and confronts the guilts and regrets that grow as war disrupts everything around him. Told from The End to The Beginning, the play moves from Apocalypse to Hope in a lyrical chronology offset by a clinical precision of all that’s been lost.
A Topol-M Rocket Fired at a Cat Named Brooch
by Lena Lagushonkova |directed by Vanessa Gilbert
A Russian Topol-M Rocket has been fired and may reach the narrator at any moment as she focuses her concern on the well-being of innocent cats on both sides of the border. “I do not want Russian cats to suffer. But that's the limit of my sympathy.”
“TDP (Temporarily Displaced Persons)”
by Kateryna Penkova | directed by Sam Sherman
A woman helps place refugees in a local hostel, noting their quirks and peculiarities. In each profile, politeness is pronounced and the sense of tragedy understated, but when the narrator needs help for herself, is anyone left to help?
Following the reading, there will be a discussion with Ukrainian-American journalist Irena Chalupa.