In September 2020, the Belarus Worldwide Readings Project organised hundreds of international theatre companies, groups, schools, and individuals, to present readings, videos, and discussions of Andrei Kureichik’s new play Insulted. Belarus(sia), in solidarity with the people and theatre companies of Belarus.
In late February 2022, the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings Project, was formed by John Freedman (a writer and translator, who first translated Insulted.Belarus(sia) into English), and Maksym Kurochkin, a Ukrainian playwright and leader of the new Theatre of Playwrights in Kyiv. Supported and funded by CITD (The Centre for International Theatre Development), they commissioned 23 Ukrainian playwrights to create new historical plays to be performed around the world to raise money for Ukrainian based organisations. In such a short space of time this could be considered impossible, but as of July, the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings include 92 plays with 183 pledged readings in 22 countries, and this continues to grow.
In support of this project, the London based Finborough Theatre, are staging a double bill of Two Ukrainian Plays which includes the English premiere of Take The Rubbish Out, Sasha, written by Natal’ya Vorozhbit and translated by Sasha Dugdale, and the first production outside of Ukraine of Pussycat In Memory Of Darkness written by Neda Nezhdana and translated by John Farndon.
Take The Rubbish Out, Sasha, is to be directed by Svetlana Dimcovic and includes cast members Alan Cox, Issy Knowles and Amanda Ryan:-
‘Katia and Oksana are organising Sasha’s funeral feast. The bereaved widow and daughter mourn for Sasha, a Colonel in the Ukrainian Army, who has dropped down dead suddenly of heart failure.
As war intensifies, a year after his death, the army has resorted to recruiting soldiers who are dead. Sasha is anxious to join his country’s fight, and ready to be resurrected, but his family are reluctant to bury him again. A family argument ensues, should Sasha volunteer again?’ – Extract from The Finborough Theatre’s website.
Pussycat In Memory Of Darkness, is a monologue performed by Kristin Milward and directed by Polly Creed:-
‘Donbas, 2014. A nameless woman stands in the street. Wearing a pair of dark black sunglasses, she tries to sell a basket of kittens. She has lost everything else she holds dear: her home, her family, her hope.
Russia has taken over Crimea and stirred up ongoing violence in her beloved homeland of Donbas. Betrayed by her neighbour and brutalised by Russian-backed militia, her hope has waned for humanity. She can only now place her hope in finding a home for a basket of kittens, a home she cannot offer.’ – Extract from The Finborough Theatre’s website.
Seeing this double bill in the intimate space of the Finborough Theatre, is a ‘not to be missed’ opportunity to watch new Ukrainian plays, written by Ukrainian playwrights, whilst also supporting this wonderful project. The intimate space does however, mean that the ability to raise sufficient funds to support the writers and creatives who have given their time to this project, is restricted. The project does have support from the Culture of Solidarity Fund initiated by the European Culture Foundation, but there are costs involved in staging these plays.
To give additional support to this project, a Kickstarter page has been set up to help to raise further funds to be able to support the creatives, including the playwright, who still lives in Ukraine. Follow this link for further information – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1304041163/take-the-rubbish-out-sasha-by-natalya-vorozhbyt/?ref=kicktraq
To book tickets for Two Ukrainian Plays at the Finborough Theatre, which runs from the 9th August until the 3rd September, go to – https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/production/two-ukrainian-plays/?fbclid=IwAR0NkE91_sdpm8hkRvG9b7utDPSGJjSvu_ETh1eDTENg0XXZqTfrMeMLuVY