On November 15-16, Austrian and Ukrainian audiences visited the Ukrainian documentary play "The City with Me" by director Georg Genoux and the concert with the special programme by splendid Mariana Sadovska.
"'The City with Me' is a play based on the documentary materials from the occupied areas," explains Anastasia Kosodii, the playwright of the project. "I worked in Bakhmut while my colleague Denys worked in Popasna. This is our debut abroad. Now, we are working on the third part in Mykolaivka. The play will be finalised after that. It has such name because during the play the kids tell about the things they bring with themselves when leaving their cities.
I visited Donbas for the first time in 2017, and since then worked with this region a lot — we worked with kids, organised workshops. I think that Ukrainian culture should also be made in the east of Ukraine because there is the most evident need for that. So far, only a few cultural projects represent these cities."
The performance followed the discussion on the project and its social role.
"This project has changed everything in my life completely," says Dima, a 10th-grade pupil from Bakhmut. — I like the arts a lot, so when the project came to our city I got very interested in the theatre. During our work, I changed a lot. I am very glad to work with my peers from Popasna, with our teachers who take care of us."
Mariana Sadovska closed the festival with her concert "The Night is just beginning"
The musician created her performance based on folk songs collected during her expedition around the villages of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts in 2016. Mariana combined the songs with the poems by Liuba Yakymchuk and Serhiy Zhadan.
The songs were performed in three languages — Ukrainian, German, and English. Sadovska says that audience does not perceive it as a merely Ukrainian experience: "At my concert in Dresden, for instance, many migrants and refugees told me they discovered something personal in the songs. There is a great responsibility when people share such feelings."
Although Mariana Sadovska is well-known in Europe, it has been her first performance in Vienna. The musician deeply touched the audience: she got an encore four times.
Ukrainian November was held as a part of the Bilateral Ukrainian-Austrian Culture Year 2019.