|New Ohio Theatre Now In Process Presents|
UNTITLED UKRAINE PROJECT
FEB. 1 – 2, 2023 at 7 PM In Person + Live Stream
All tickets $15
|Text from Lucky Breaks by Yevgenia Belorusets|
Adapted by Sara Farrington
Directed by Jaclyn Biskup
Stage Manager Nat Kelley DiMario
Costume Design by Kristy Hall
Lighting Design by Jackie Fox
Sound Design by James Worth Bennett
Assistant Director Gaby Sant’Anna
Created by and featuring Monica Goff, Rachel Griesinger, Kara Jackson*, Jennifer McClinton, and Aurea Tomeski*
Untitled Ukraine Project is a stage adaptation of selected short stories from Lucky Breaks, written by Yevgenia Belorusets, reimagined by playwright Sara Farrington, directed by Jaclyn Biskup, and devised and performed by our ensemble of five female actors. The stories are often bleakly comic, beginning and ending abruptly, depicting the haunting effects of the 2014 Russian invasion on the lives of civilian women. A woman who runs a flower shop vanishes suddenly and no one asks questions. In another, a woman takes her war-induced rage out on her broken umbrella. In another scene, a woman on a crowded street suddenly decides she can no longer walk and renders herself forever a “living monument.” The absurdist tone and language of each brief story are transformed into a physical score, bending reality to capture the rootless tortured experience of female victims of war and occupation.
|An Interview with Director Jaclyn Biskup and Adaptor Sara Farrington|
What is your favorite line from Untitled Ukraine Project?
SF: The final speech of the piece I find completely magical and moving, ironically Chekhovian too: “I used to be an ordinary girl. But then everything changed. My dreams made me…successful. They tell a future that is not only mine— but they tell the fate of the whole world. Of Ukraine. Yesterday I dreamt of a gorgeous dog— a red hunting hound, with two necks and two heads. She ran southwest in front of me, opening up a passage toward the lowlands of Kyiv. She was courageous and prophesied happiness for all of us. She told me we will all soon attain prosperity — this year! Or next year, at the latest.”
What excites you about making this piece?
JB: Coming back after the long Covid break, I really wanted to make something with an ensemble that we all created together. I was really craving being in a room with other artists and working that way. Also, I’m beyond honored that I get to direct Yevgenia’s powerful and haunting words.
SF: Everything about making this piece feels new and uncharted for me personally. I adapted these short stories with zero staging in mind, which I’ve never done before. Usually I dive into writing a play with rough visuals and physical scores at the forefront of my mind. But here I literally just went with what sounded great and felt interesting, and left the stage composing to Jaclyn and the actors to build. This is more or less a first for me and has really helped me grow as an artist.
What is the relationship between your lead artists?
JB: Sara wrote an amazing book where she interviewed the heroes of downtown theatre and so I asked to meet with her. I loved her book and we got along famously! After, she casually mentioned that we should work together. I was surprised and delighted…so I asked her to work on this with me. I would never have assumed she’d want to – so I was very glad that she suggested it!
SF: This is a wholly new working relationship I’ve built with Jaclyn and it’s working out extraordinarily well. We met chatting about a book I wrote that she liked (The Lost Conversation) – plus this world being so small, we obviously also knew many peeps in common. Soon, Jaclyn was like, I like this book Lucky Breaks, wanna make something out of it? And I was like, absolutely. It was scary easy and I’m very excited to grow this collaboration.
Who inspires you as an artist?
JB: Yevgenia Belorusets! Meg Stuart, Pina Bausch, Forced Entertainment, FC Bergman, Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, Akram Khan, of course my mentor Anna Shapiro — so many!
SF: As I’m sitting here, the first thing that pops into my mind is a story about Tennessee Williams telling Leonard Bernstein not to be too precious about your work, that artists aren’t necessarily geniuses or masters, they are only day laborers, they show up, they do their work, they keep it if it looks good and easily throw it out if it doesn’t. This is really where I’m at right now as an artist and what inspires me now.
Why this piece, now?
JB: Last February, as I was watching the invasion unfold, I was really struck with the desire to hear from Ukrainians and to know more about Ukraine. I came across Lucky Breaks and was so taken by Yevgenia Belorusets’ stories. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of the Russian war against Ukraine and I’m grateful that I can help keep the plight of the Ukrainian people as part of our cultural dialogue.
SF: Ukraine obviously has multitudes of cultural and emotional artistic facets to it beyond the horrors of war, so that’s what we were curious about – what we know is important to share. This piece is about the daily life of real women existing normally hour by hour, examining moments when nothing happens and then suddenly everything happens.