Wednesday 8th March, 19:30
Thursday 9th March, 19:30
The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, NW8 8EH London, United Kingdom
£15 (conc. £12). Book here
In English and Russian (all Russian parts will be accompanied by surtitles)
A play based on a book by a Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich.
“These people had already seen what for everyone else is still unknown. I felt like I was recording the future.”
A moving account of how the Chernobyl tragedy disturbed the tranquility of a warm April night and changed the lives of the people in nearby towns once and for all, the play “Voices from Chernobyl” shows the human side of a nuclear disaster.
The play is an adapted version of a book by Svetlana Alexievich who collected hundreds of stories from the victims of Chernobyl. The stories are often obscene and disturbing; they reveal the carelessness of the governments and the reckless heroism of the soldiers. But at the same time, they show the enormous human capacity to love and to care for each other in the time of a crisis.
Svetlana Alexievich is a Belarusian writer who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2015 “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
April 16 1986, an explosion destroys a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. While the government is trying to cover up the catastrophe people carry on with their lives completely oblivious to what had just happened. Hundreds of thousands of recovery workers from all over the Soviet Union arrive to the sight to clean the contaminated area. They have little idea of what kind of radiation they will be exposed to and what effect it was going to have on the rest of their lives. More than 600,000 fire-fighters and emergency workers are called in from all over the former Soviet Union to put out the fire. Most of them are working without any protection and as a consequence of the radiation many soon dye or become severely ill and disabled. Over 7 million people and 63.000 square miles of land were affected. The most affected, taking in around 70% of the pollution, was Belarus, “terra incognito”, a small, unknown to the world country hidden in the abundant forests of Eastern Europe.
In the play those who experienced the catastrophe share their memories with the audience – the wives, the workers, the politicians, the scientists and the ordinary people who lived through it and continue to suffer its consequences. Thanks to the works of Svetlana Alexievich we have access to their memories.
Adapted for stage and directed by Germán D’Jesús