Saturday, 2 July 2016, 14.00 – 16.00
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
From the GUARDIAN: This play is about the terror-famine that caused seven million deaths in Ukraine and neighbouring lands in the 1930s. A grim subject, but this extraordinary play by Natal’ia Vorozhbit tackles it, in Sasha Dugdale’s translation, with passion, intelligence and cunning. Vorozhbyt starts from a village Romeo–and-Juliet relationship that foreshadows the coming conflict: the peasant Arsei falls for Mokrina, who hails from a family of kulaks (skilled farmers). But the play’s cleverest idea is to show how life mirrors art. A group of agitprop actors descends on the village to hymn Soviet supremacy. As the Stalinist ideal of collectivisation is pursued and the kulaks are stripped of their land, the agitational drama turns into a nightmarish reality. Vorozhbyt brings home the scale of the disaster by focusing on a single community. One particular scene brands itself on the memory. At the height of the famine, the starving villagers are forced to do jovial peasant dances for the sake of a propaganda movie: as they stumble through their routines, the banquet, their supposed reward, becomes an ever-more-distant mirage.
No single play can convey the full horror of Stalinist genocide, but this one reminds us of an event that, as George Orwell said, English russophiles tend to blot out.
The Dash Arts Dacha is a 12-hour, ever-changing free performance , welcoming audiences through the prism of an Ukrainian family and their friends across a century – from the turbulence at the end of Tsarist imperialist rule, through Soviet socialism, to the contemporary challenges of independence. Films, dressing up, board games and cards, fevered political discussion with guest experts, live music, impromptu theatre performances and late night DJs are all on offer with an endless supply of comforting drinks and snacks.
Dash Arts Dacha is curated by our co-Artistic Directors Josephine Burton and Tim Supple, designed by Bryan Woltjen and packed with musicians and actors. It forms part of our on-going REVOLUTION17: an explosive season of performance from artists across the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union.