We had a very unique session at our second Unrehearsed Futures conversation of Season 3, where we invited Ukrainian and Russian theatre artists to share their thoughts about the ongoing war in Ukraine, which Russia invaded on 24 February, 2022.
A gut wrenching conversation, several artists from both countries shared their lived experiences, their fears, their anguish, and their hopes, while others in the room held the space. Maria Vanieieva, an Ukrainian actress at the Pushkin Theatre in Kharkiv, had to flee the city with her little child and drive all the way to Berlin (from where she joined for the conversation). Maria, who is separated from her husband as he could not leave Ukraine, shared that she never thought something like what happened with her was possible in these times. “This is really the destruction and killing of people,” she asserted. “Somebody comes and shoots you, your family, your relatives, destroys your house, your city, your country. And what surprised me the most is the ability of people to say to all of the world that what is happening in Ukraine is not true. That this nightmare is a fantasy of somebody, of these ‘people’ who are ‘damaged’. This lie is what angers me the most.”
While Ukrainians expressed their anguish, Russian artists shared the horror they felt at witnessing the war. A Russian actor from St. Petersburg said, “We have no right to hope that we will be forgiven. But we must ask for forgiveness.”
STAY TUNED! We will be publishing a long-form article about the talk and the ideas/themes that emerged during the session on our blog in the coming weeks.
(Please note: This video contains edited excerpts from the conversation.)