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Kherson Theatre to perform Kitten as a Memory of Darkness in seven Slovak cities

Kherson Theatre to perform Kitten as a Memory of Darkness in seven Slovak cities

The Mykola Kulish Kherson Regional Academic Music and Drama Theatre from Ukraine will be performing Kitten as a Memory of Darkness in seven cities in Slovakia from July 5. The performance will begin on Wednesday at the Slovak National Theatre, from where it will travel to Pohoda Festival, Banská Štiavnica, Pezinok, Prešov, Rožňava and end in Bardejov. The Kherson Theatre is coming to Slovakia at the invitation of Pohoda organiser Michal Kaščák, who saw the performance during one of his trips to Ukraine. The tour will also include the ceremonial launch of the book of the same name, published by Denník N in cooperation with Pohoda Festival.

03. July 2023

Kitten as a Memory of Darkness is a story about the life that Ukrainians have been living in Donbass for 8 years, and about the realities in which people from Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Luhansk and part of Kharkiv regions found themselves in 2022. The plot is based on a touching monologue by a woman from Donbass. A woman wearing dark glasses sells three orphaned kittens – white, grey and black – all that is left of her home, her country, her peaceful world after the Russian occupation. You can take off the glasses, but the darkness remains – under the eyes and in the eyes.

While telling her story, the heroine cooks borshch. She peels potatoes and carrots, chops cabbage and tells of the horrors she experienced during the occupation. The preparation of a traditional dish balances the terrible story and at the same time shows the resistance of the heroine, who remains a patriot when her country is destroyed, and a housewife when she is robbed of her home. “I had everything,” says the main character. “Husband, two kids, cat, house, job, car, bank account, holidays by the sea... I thought how much I struggled, but only now I realise what a paradise it actually was...”   She lived through the occupation in 2014, the Maidan protests, denunciations, looting, a battle. After the Russians arrived, she lost everything and was left with only three kittens. But she decided to stay and tell her story. At the end of the play, the woman treats the audience to the borshch. This is quite symbolic, as she shares almost the last of her possessions in the hope that better times are ahead and that light will overcome darkness.

The performance Kitten as a Memory of Darkness is a powerful testimony by a woman from the occupied Donbass. It was staged by the Kherson Regional Academic Music and Drama Theatre of Mykola Kulish, which, despite the war, continues to operate at home, performing in an air-raid shelter.

"I saw the Kherson Theatre’s play in the bunker of the Mykolaiv Theatre. It was one of the most powerful artistic experiences of my life, and I am proud that the Kherson Theatre will perform it at Pohoda. After the performance there will be a discussion with Oleksandr Knyha, an admirable person and the director of the Kherson Theatre," adds Michal Kaščák.

In addition to the theatre performances, a book of the same name, which presents the text of the play in Slovak and Ukrainian, will be published on Tuesday in cooperation with Denník N and Pohoda Festival. The ceremonial launch of the book will take place in the presence of the author of the play, Neda Nezhdana, and the theatre's director, Oleksandr Knyha, on Friday July 7, directly at Pohoda Festival.

Dates and venues:

5.7 BRATISLAVA – Slovak National Theatre
7.7 POHODA FESTIVAL – Ceremonial launch of the book and a discussion with the author Neda Nezhdana
8.7 POHODA FESTIVAL – performance and a discussion with Oleksandr Knyha
10.7 PEZINOK – SNG the Schaubmar Mill
11.7 PREŠOV – Stromoradie
12.7 ROŽŇAVA – Cultural Centre Kláštor
13.7 BARDEJOV – Bašta – cultural and community centre

Starring: Olga Boytsova
Director: Serhiy Pavlyuk, Honored Artist of Ukraine
Dramaturgy: Neda Nezhdana
General artistic director of the theatre, People's Artist of Ukraine Oleksandr Knyha
Language: Ukrainian + Slovak subtitles: translation by Marta Kákoni, head of the Taras Shevchenko Music and Drama Ensemble from Bratislava
Duration: 75 min
The Kherson Theatre is named after Mykola Kulish, a Ukrainian writer and playwright who was one of the artists who were murdered or tortured during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.