CULTURE TO REMEMBER: JUBILEE
Ukrainian Play Can Give New Impetus to European Theater
One evening “UC” editorial board joined an interesting event, and was so nicely impressed with German and Austrian theatrical figures and diplomats speaking about the level of Ukrainian drama, that decided to bring a bright sense of pride for our country to dear reader, and also welcome Ukrainian theater community with their professional holiday. High score of European colleagues seems worthy gift So, dear reader, join the celebration of the International Theatre Day and talk to the director of the State Theatre Karlsruhe Peter Spuhler, who assessed Ukrainian playwrights as a member of jury at “Talking About Borders”, and is a playwright and the director
think that I ever had such a mixture before…
UC: What is interesting in Ukrainian drama writers?
Most participants of the contest «Talking About Borders» cared about political or social issues. I got the feeling, as if Ukrainian writers are very much interested in how our society can become better.
UC: Could You point Your opinion of the way for Ukrainian drama writers: where to go, how and why should they get there?
I think they should continue on the way of those plays in the contest: to have the courage to point out thinks in the society that should be changed — but at the same time to write about human beings and not about ideological ideas. To be interested in how people talk and act and what questions are responsible for mankind and society.
About two thirds of the roundabout 50 participants I would consider as professional dramatists. This is quite a lot for a contest, where everybody could join. Of those about 10‑15 told their stories in a way, that was really remarkable — which is also a high number in comparison to other contests, where I was a member of jury. Besides the social engagement, which I mentioned before, I really liked that the authors tried to create real people — not abstract ideas. The plays were realistic, not ideological. And sometimes, they had interesting formal inventions — like the winning play, that mixes a normal conversation comedy with political subjects and dreamlike interventions:
when — for example — suddenly stones in the pavement of Maidan (the central square of Kyiv — K. K.) start to talk about flying… This was one of the reasons why we chose that play — because it can give an impulse to European theater. I don’t
UC: Describe the level of Ukrainian drama in the context of European drama and theatre, and in the contest of other countries that participated «Talking About Borders», please.
UC: Do You celebrate the Theatre Day? Say few words about this Day, please.
Yes, we do celebrate the Theater Day. Normally we will give our audience notice about the annual speech for this day issued by the international theater institute. But we should stick too much to one day. Every day is a theatre day. Theatre is important to reflect our society — to show how people act or decide in difficult situations. As it’s already been in the antique Greek theater, when performances taught people how they can live together. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . УК
Ukrainian playwrights have the courage to talk about things that need to be changed, and to write about man as a living creature, not about ideology 10
Ukrainian culture №3 2012
Vasyl Stus (1938-1985)
In January 2013 Vasyl Stus could be fulfilled only 75 years old — the age of acting wisdom and immutable conviction. But the poet died at 47
an it be a coincidence to be born Jan. 6 — on Christmas Eve? Was it the fate that has already defined a mission? With his life and work the poet showed that it was a Way. He confidently knew where to go.
...the best of my brothers and sisters must go over spiky fence, worrying constantly about their purity — to do the clean action of native people rescue...
No necessity to waste words, because there is Stus’ word and those who knew him personally.
spiritual and national existence of my people is under the threat today. I do not accept judicial charges, on the contrary — I blame the judges. Ahead judges and guards’ bayonets I blame those who organized methodical extermination of intellectuals in Ukraine, who organized famine in Ukraine in 1933, inflicting my nation to irreparable damage. Repressions of 1961, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1977 stand in the same row with forged processes in Ukraine of 20‑30th years.
From the cycle Palimpsests 2 Never could I descry, and I still do not know, if the world passed me by, or if I passed it so. Of old all would be a sleepy enchantment and someone imparted the great dates to me. The world seemed filled at first, with hopes, like pond unrippled. That realm will pass from people, uncensored and uncursed. 83 And east, and east and east once more, and east, pace after pace! The painworn heart, like meteor In the nights leaves its trace. Now phantoms loom in distance haze: Ukraine lies yonde — look! And all with gangrene fires blaze, As warning and rebuke. Towards her, from her you go To hunchbacked otherlife. Horizons, like a black rim shows Where bitter gall runs rife.
Never could I descry, and I still do not know, if the world passed me by, or if I passed it so. Of old all would be a sleepy enchantment and someone imparted the great dates to me.
Towards Her, from Her you go, A path in torment palled, And on that path, you’ll be brought low, And others, too, shall fall.
To prevent the leveling of Ukrainian people we should devote our best sons. God does not recognize other donations. And the best of my brothers and sisters must go over spiky fence, worrying constantly about their purity — to do the clean action of native people rescue. I am proud that fate gave me a sign — I boldly following her call. Because I want to be worthy of that native people, who is to be born tomorrow, throwing of himself the shame of age-long stagnation. And I shall gain my immortality in that people! Let this be my last word.
«Dear brothers! …behind me — my hurt, disgraced, terrified, demoralized people is. Because
The world seemed filled at first, with hopes, like pond unrippled. That realm will pass from people, uncensored and uncursed.
Vasyl Stus 30 July 1978» «Now, the poet becomes the representative of his nation, because his right is hard-won. And he holds out his weapon as the baton, protecting dignity and honor. The battlefield is not between the two camps. It lies in the heart, in the soul of everyone. With a good smile on a severe face the high poet gives us the baton-testament: Mastering, animate the space with spirit! Create a field of struggle for life. For a decent life». Eugene Sverstiuk. From the essay «The Figure of Stus Over Time»