about the production
How does theatrical art comment on current political developments? Does it actually have an ability to adequately and meaningfully reflect the reality of the current societal conflict, such as the wars?
The young Ukrainian director Sashko Brama seeks an alternative and a more fundamental reflection of the situation in which his country has found itself. With his young team of musicians and actors he created not as much a theatre production, but rather a radical musical-visual-theatrical commentary on the events in Ukraine. As if aware of the fact that, at times like these, theatre has to reach for other than traditional forms. Whilst inspired by Shakespeare, not a verse sounds from Romeo and Juliet throughout the evening. The text is original and fragmentary. It is rock music that plays the main role. As the director puts it, the reason for the choice is that it is this very kind of music that can express screams hidden within young people. People who protest and fight for their freedom, even though the outer world keeps destroying them with its aggression, hatred and fear.
Roma from Lvov and Yulia from Donbas do not stand on opposite sides of the Maidan barricade. Quite on the contrary, with their independent, even anarchic attitude they express clearly what they think of politics. Yet their drama lays in the fact that politics ultimately touch upon their lives drastically. Yulia is forced by her father, a Russian separatist, to leave for Russia but decides instead to go ´elsewhere´ with a help of a drug.
This is no sentimental love story, but a very humanistic message: that, which is the most important and invaluable in human life, is love. More than in political theatre, the producers are rather interested in that what is permanent behind the reality and passing global events. Brama calls it ontological dimension of the world. He also uses it as a frame for his play. At the beginning the lead character comes to the world from a kind of transcendental uterus that is free of conflicts, notions and definitions of the world. Yet suddenly he finds himself in the context of the real world, country and its history. Sashko Brama places together Roma’s path through this world in fragmentary images – photographs, video projections and textual sketches that reflect the frag- mentation of the country of the young protagonist. The producers create the video projection using video sequences they have shot, and excerpts from documentary historical films that talk about the past of Ukraine and its conflicts with Russia.
The powerful energy and strong commitment by the young actors and musicians from Ukraine is an imperative voice that has to be allowed to sound. It is the voice of the young generation whose lives have been made complicated and their future affected by the futile conflict in Ukraine. Sashko Brama and his colleagues show that the events can never be seen as black and white, and creativity is the best way to o conquer despair.
“What is interesting about the production is, certainly, the current political conflict, but it is also the mastery in handling the moments of fiction and documentation, and the open concert form. And indeed, Brama, born in 1988, has found a concise image for the generation that, as he puts it, ´is burning in front of our eyes as the headless rock musicians´.”
Sabine Leucht, 22. 4. 2015, taz
“Even though Brama’s political and ideological neutrality triggered criticism during the public discussion following the performance, it is the very farsighted perspective on the events in his homeland that is the most power aspect of the production. The tangled and ancient conflict without the good and evil among the truths is blown out of proportion by the war propaganda that only brings suffering to young people and the country.”
Christoph Löbel, 21. 4. 2015, cult-zeitung.de
text and directed by Sashko Brama
music: Timur Gogitidze, FaUst, Freddy Marx Street
video: Volodymyr Stetskovich
cast: Marko Banko (vocal), Oksana Kozakevych (vocal), Sergii Smetaniuk (bass guitar), FaUst (guitar, midi-keyboard), Oleksandr Pelypenko (video-jockey)
Sashko Brama (1988), née Oleksandr Palianychka, is Ukrainian independent theatre activist, director, screenwriter and playwright. He studied advertising design at the Salvador Dalí College of Arts in Kiev, he was playwright at the independent theatre association Wind of Change. He then went on studying theatre science at the Ivan Franko University in Lvov, and attended a number of seminars and workshops for playwrights and directors. His directorial debut was a production of his own play, Pork Liver that was made within the framework of Modern Playwright Theatre at the Les Kurbas Academic Theatre in Lvov.
Sashko Brama is involved particularly in experimental investigative theatre based on documentary material. He authored a number of additional pieces, such as The Diploma, a documentary production about the Ukrainian education system. Since 2011 his productions are presented at festivals in Ukraine, Poland and Germany.
Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: SK
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