Encountering Ukraine: Readings in Solidarity
War. Witness. Heroic resistance. From the early 20th century to today, Ukrainian playwrights have epitomized their fellow compatriots’ distinct grit, humour and imagination through challenging and troubling times. Curated by Ukrainian-Canadian artist and activist Andrew Kushnir, this reading series of plays-in-translation represents some of the best of Ukraine’s theatre and showcases how artists help define and defend the culture of a people.
Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre. From $29
Cassandra: A Dramatic Poem by Lesya Ukrainka, translated by Nina Murray, September 22, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Among Ukraine’s greatest literary figures and feminist activists, Ukrainka at the age of 13 chose the penname “Ukrainian Woman”. In Cassandra, she spotlights one of the more marginal characters of the Trojan War and offers us a remarkably timely play about fighting for the truth, even when no one believes you.
Sonata Pathétique by Mykola Kulish (1930),translated by George S.N. and Moira Luckyj (1975), September 23, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Set in the chaos between Easter 1917 and Easter 1919, Kulish’s sweeping and satirical take on love and revolution is considered by many to be the finest Ukrainian drama of the 20th century. In what may be a first in Western theatre, the play’s dramaturgy carefully mirrors a piece of classical music: Beethoven’s much-loved Piano Sonata No 8.
Bad Roads by Natal’ya Vorozhbit (2017), translated by Sasha Dugsdale (2017), September 23, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
An often darkly comic, unsparing and ever-surprising portrait of how women fight to sustain their humanity in times of war, Bad Roads is a seminal work from one of Ukraine’s most brilliant contemporary playwrights. Vorozhbit’s own film adaptation of the play was Ukraine’s submission to the Academy Awards in 2021.
Witnessing War: Ukrainian plays since February 2022, September 24, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The war in Ukraine has been called the most reported upon war of all time and Ukrainian playwrights have been prolific contributors. This closing event features an assemblage of short works written since the full scale invasion of February 2022 – Ukraine’s leading dramatists reaching out to us, as they make sense of a world shattered and reformed.