In collaboration with and in support of Ukrainian Artists, their commissioned plays are being read to give voice to the experience of artists in occupied Ukraine and support them financially. A benefit reading featuring Ukrainian playwrights to benefit those displaced by the war in Ukraine.
Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War Part 1 and 2 by Elena Ataseva
Give Me Taste of the Sun by Oleksander Viter
The Russian Solider by Igor Bilyts
Survivor’s Syndrome by Andrii Bondarenko
I’m OK by Nina Zakhozhenko
The Sailor by Oksana Grytsenko
Metrosexuals (On Reserve) by Tetiana Kytsenko
Meet the Artists
Elena Astaseva was born in the city of Kherson (Ukraine), which she considers her hometown to this day, although she currently is in exile outside of Ukraine. She studied at the Kyiv Institute of Culture. Worked as a librarian, bookseller, copywriter. She is the author of stories and a number of plays that were repeatedly shortlisted for the Ukrainian Contemporary Play Week festival and were staged in the theaters of Kherson and Kyiv. A founding member of the Theater of Playwrights in Kyiv, her short play A Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War has been presented, read, performed and filmed in a dozen countries since it was written in March 2022.
Igor Bilyts studied at the Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Film and Television in Kyiv. He worked as an actor in the Dyvniy Zamok Theatre-Studio in Kyiv, and debuted as a playwright in September 2017 with Gay Parade at Ukrainian Contemporary Play Week. In January 2018, Gay Parade premiered at the Wild Theater in Kyiv. His second play How to Steal a Horse opened in 2018 November with the support of Renaissance Foundation. His play Prostitute was chosen for the shortlist of DramaUA in December 2018, and was staged at the Theater Neft in Kharkiv in 2019. In December 2021 his recent play Captive was shortlisted at DramaUA.
Andrii Bondarenko is a Doctor of Philosophy, playwright, screenwriter, and culturologist. He has worked primarily as a journalist, in particular as a cultural observer. He was also a researcher at the Center for Urban History of Central and Eastern Europe (Lviv). He is currently the head of the literary and dramatic department (dramaturg) at the Lviv Puppet Theater. Plays by Bondarenko, such as Interview with a Friend (2019), and Asshole (2020) were produced in Ukraine, and have appeared in shortlists of such Ukrainian festivals as Contemporary Play Week, Drama.UA, and The Festival of Drama of Love and Beaver, where they were presented in the format of readings. His play Clout (2022) premiered at the Lviv Puppet Theater. Andrii is a co-founder of Kyiv’s Theatre of Playwrights.
Oksana Grytsenko is a Ukrainian playwright and screenwriter. She wrote her first play, Saniok, in 2019 following completion of courses in dramatic writing conducted by Maksym Kurochkin and Anastasiia Kosodii. This play was shortlisted at the Ukrainian Contemporary Play Week in 2019, and had a staged reading at Lesia Ukrainka Drama Theater in Lviv. Her second play, Don Juan from Zhashkiv, was shortlisted at Contemporary Play Week in 2020. Based on this play, Grytsenko created a screenplay for a feature film with the same name. The film was produced by Kristi Films and was funded by Ukraine’s State Film Agency. The release of the film was scheduled for December 2022. Grytsenko is a co-founder of Kyiv’s Theater of Playwrights. Before starting her artistic career, Grytsenko worked as a journalist for about 20 years, covering the Russian invasion of Georgia, Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s war against Ukraine. She has worked for Ukrainian and foreign publications, including the Kyiv Post, AFP, the Guardian, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Marie Claire, Ukraine Verstehen, Huck Magazine, Nikkei and the Wall Street Journal.
Tetiana Kytsenko is a playwright and screenwriter. She specializes in social and psychological drama. She has won numerous awards at Ukrainian Contemporary Play Week (Kyiv, 2011, 2012, 2013), the DramaUA festival (Lviv, 2012), and the Coronation of the Word competition (Kyiv, 2015). She has participated at the festival SPECIFIC (Brno, Czech Republic, 2014) and the Wilder Osten. Ereignis Ukraine project (Magdeburg, Germany, 2016). She was awarded the Grand Prix of the Free Theater competition (London-Minsk, 2016), and was curator of the following events: To Document!; Drama Of Freedom; and Insight Contemporary Drama (Kharkiv). She was author and curator of the socio-artistic Lifelong Importance project (2018-19). She is a member of the Board of the Theater Platform NGO (Kyiv), and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Union of Theater Actors.
Nina Zakhozhenko is a playwright and theater maker from Kyiv, currently living in Lviv. She studied literary and dramatic theory at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She has collaborated with a number of government and nongovernment theaters as a digital artist, cultural manager, translator and playwright. After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, she wrote a series of short dramas about the feeling of freedom and security during the war. Most of these texts were included in the play titled Me, War and the Toy Grenade. Her most recent premiere is I’m Okay, about the life of teenagers in a city under Russian occupation – on July 1, 2022 at the Kharkiv Puppet Theater.
Leah Loftin (Blacklist)
Jeff Calloway (Memphis, All the Way)
Will Carlyon (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
Amanda Bruton (Marvelous Miss Maisel)
Scott Barrow (33 Variations)
Elizabeth Stahlman (Slave Play)
Brooke Hardman Ditchfield