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Voices from Ukraine - Two Plays

Voices from Ukraine

Two Plays

By Neda Nezhdana & Natal'ya Vorozhbit
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781839041228, 80 pages, August 2022


Two powerful plays about the shattering impact of war, and the astonishing resilience of those living through it, written by two of Ukraine's leading playwrights.

'They've mobilised all the living now, the fifth call took the last of the living. But the war keeps on. So high command asked us.'

Sasha, a Colonel in the Ukrainian Army, has died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving his relatives Katia and Oksana to mourn for him. But a year later, as war intensifies, the army has resorted to recruiting the dead. Sasha is anxious to be resurrected so he can rejoin the fight, but can his family bear to lose him all over again? Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha by Natal'ya Vorozhbit blends reality and the supernatural in a startling exploration of the effects of war and conflict.

'I want to report a robbery... I was robbed. What was stolen from me? Almost everything... Home, land, car, work, friends, city, faith in goodness...'

Donbas, 2014. A nameless woman stands in the street, trying to sell a basket of kittens. She has lost everything else she holds dear. Her only remaining hope is to find a home for the kittens, since she cannot offer them one herself. Pussycat in Memory of Darkness by Neda Nezhdana is an unflinching examination of Russia's war on Ukraine through the brutalised eyes of one woman.

The two plays were translated by Sasha Dugdale and John Farndon, respectively, and performed in English at the Finborough Theatre, London, as part of their #VoicesFromUkraine season in 2022.



"Timely, enterprising, emotionally shattering, politically shaming."

- TheatreCat

"An extraordinary double bill of Ukrainian plays, which remind us of what is at stake in the conflict... Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha blends initially recognisable feelings of gut-wrenching grief, with the surreal sensation of what it must feel like to be at war. This is in part achieved through a beguiling magical-realist quality to Natal'ya Vorozhbit's writing. More than anything, though, this is a story of family and community, brought together by unbearable events... Pussycat in Memory of Darkness offers a potted recent history of Ukraine through the life of one nameless woman... extraordinary... a complex knot of emotion, moving from love and patriotism to pain and cynicism and, finally, overwhelmingly, to hate for her oppressors."

- The Stage

"A masterful framing of a nation's tragedy... Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha is almost unbearably emotive... Vorozhbit's mix of naturalism and the supernatural, comedy and tragedy, works well... Neda Nezhdana's Pussycat in Memory of Darkness is an hour-long howl against the betrayals of Ukraine by Russia and Nato... A double bill that, for those unable to see it, also makes a revealing and affecting read in the paperback play-text."

- Guardian