In a transformed Sunday faculty house within the Citadel Greene community of Brooklyn on Monday, 8 kids, who just lately arrived from Ukraine, collected on a couple of risers and broke into track.
Hanna Oneshchak, 12, at the accordion, accompanied the opposite seven as they sang a Ukrainian people track, “Ta nema toho Mykyty,” a couple of guy who makes a decision to go away the rustic to hunt higher paintings, however then appears to be like to the mountains and, struck via their attractiveness, adjustments his thoughts.
“Regardless of the grief now we have,” they sang in Ukrainian, “I received’t move to the American land.”
The youngsters, scholars on the Faculty of Open-Minded Youngsters Studio Theater in Lviv, had been rehearsing the track forward of 2 weekend performances of the play “Mama Po Skaipu” (“Mother on Skype”) on the Irondale Heart in Brooklyn. This would be the American premiere of the 80-minute display, being offered on Saturday and Sunday evening.
“We proportion our feelings with American citizens,” Anastasiia Mysiuha, 14, mentioned in English. And, she mentioned, she hopes that target market individuals will “higher perceive what’s taking place in Ukraine.”
The display, which will probably be carried out in Ukrainian with English subtitles, is a sequence of 7 monologues about circle of relatives separation advised from the standpoint of kids. Written via fresh writers from Lviv, the actual tales had been impressed via the mass exodus from Ukraine within the Nineties after the autumn of the Soviet Union. At the moment, many women and men went to different nations to paintings so they may supply for his or her households again house.
“Mother on Skype” was once first staged in a warehouse-turned-bomb safe haven in Lviv, in western Ukraine, in April, simply two months after the Russian invasion started. There it was once directed via an arts instructor grew to become active-duty Ukrainian soldier, Oleg Oneshchak, who’s the daddy of 2 of the kids within the play: Hanna and Oleksii, 7. It was once one of the vital few cultural occasions to happen in Ukraine at the moment.
“A lot of people had been crying once we did it in Ukraine,” mentioned Khrystyna Hniedko, 14, one of the vital performers.
Now, the kids, ages 7 to fourteen, are acting for audiences in Brooklyn this weekend.
The speculation for the discuss with took place when Jim Niesen, inventive director of the Irondale Heart, the house of the nonprofit Irondale Ensemble Undertaking theater corporate, noticed a photograph essay in The New York Occasions in past due April concerning the efficiency in Ukraine.
“I used to be so impressed via them,” Niesen mentioned in an interview on the theater this week. “There was once this horrific struggle happening, and right here they had been, doing a play.”
He and the theater’s govt director, Terry Greiss, tracked down Oneshchak on Fb Messenger and proposed an concept: Would he and the kids imagine bringing the display to Brooklyn?
Oneshchak, the kids and their households had been all captivated with the speculation, and Greiss and the group at Irondale started elevating cash to pay for commute and lodging prices — the entire invoice for the monthlong keep for the 8 kids and their 3 chaperones, which may also take them to Connecticut and Massachusetts, is round $40,000, he mentioned. (Oleg Oneshchak wasn’t ready to make the shuttle, however his spouse, Mariia Oneshchak, who may be an actor and educator on the theater program, was once.)
A majority of the gang’s foods were donated, and lots of of them are staying within the houses of Irondale board individuals and others. The places of work of Senator Chuck Schumer and Consultant Hakeem Jeffries additionally helped the gang e-book visa appointments, which can be tricky to protected as a result of such a lot of individuals are looking to depart Ukraine, forward in their arrival on July 22.
The generosity of different donors intended that the itinerary for the shuttle temporarily ballooned to incorporate a weeklong acting arts summer time camp in Connecticut, the place the kids taught American campers 3 Ukrainian people songs; an day trip to look “The Lion King” on Broadway; visits to the Guggenheim Museum and Coney Island; a Russ & Daughters bagel manufacturing unit excursion; and a non-public excursion of the Statue of Liberty.
Once we spoke at Monday’s practice session, Valeriia Khozhempa, 12, she mentioned she have been straight away struck via something: the absence of air-raid sirens.
“It’s a in reality gorgeous existence,” she mentioned. “In Ukraine, there are such a lot of air alarms.”
There was once additionally a funny characteristic, Khrystyna mentioned: American politeness. “Other folks all the time say ‘Sorry’ and ‘Excuse me,’” she mentioned. “It’s sudden as a result of everyone seems to be in reality well mannered.”
The youngsters started running at the display in January prior to being compelled to halt rehearsals when Russia invaded Ukraine. Although the play was once at the beginning about tales from the Nineties, households are being separated once more as a result of males are preventing within the struggle. (Maximum Ukrainian males ages 18 to 60 — of conscription age — aren’t allowed to go away the rustic.)
The theme of every of the display’s monologues is that oldsters don’t understand how damaging their choices, even though financially prudent, can also be to their kids’s happiness. “Cash can by no means compensate you for dropping your connection to the folk you’re keen on,” a personality says in one of the vital tales, titled “In the course of the Eyes of Kids.”
All the kids are fearful about whether or not American target market individuals will perceive their message, on account of the language barrier and having to learn subtitles.
“I do know it is going to be arduous,” Anastasiia mentioned. “But when they’ll come, I am hoping they’ll attempt to perceive.”
All the proceeds from this weekend’s displays — in addition to performances in Hartford, Conn., and Boston subsequent week — will move towards a fighter jet that the gang hopes to assist acquire for the Ukrainian army. (A used jet prices roughly $1 million, Oleg Oneshchak mentioned.)
Hanna Oneshchak, who sings a patriotic Ukrainian track she wrote, mentioned she was hoping the target market would see no longer simply the play, however the underlying message concerning the struggle that the performers embrace.
“The sector sees this like a movie,” she mentioned. “I need them to keep in mind us.”