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Voices From Chornobyl

this is for thousands of years

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Social Good

Our Fringe Correspondent Interview

Stacy Jones, Publicity Director for the Fringe,  and her Correspondents Team are accomplishing an amazing task: seeing lots of shows and filming short interviews with the creators directly afterwards. Our show is the second interview in this clip!

Sunday: Outreach at the Silver Lake Jubilee

We have some very exciting opportunities thanks to the tireless efforts of the Hollywood Fringe Festival staff.

The first awesome outreach event specific to Fringe is our appearance at The Silver Lake Jubilee on

Sunday, May 22nd

10:00-10:40 a.m.

Santa Monica Stage

$5 donation for entry

“We’re a fun, family, art, music, theatre, comedy, literature and earth-lovin’ festival.” Read their press release here.

What are we doing there?

In the spirit of our Fringe show, we are running

interactive theatre games

to investigate and explore our world.

Suitable & adjustable for all ages

Run by our special guest Rhianon Gutierrez!

Rhianon Gutierrez is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, activist, and public speaker. Rhianon earned her BFA in Film Production from Chapman University, where she made her acclaimed documentary, When I’m Not Alone. Her current film, TRANSIENTS, is a short drama explores art, disability rights, and the one-time connections that transform our lives. A tireless advocate for people with disabilities, Rhianon has been involved with media, outreach, advocacy, and/or grassroots organizing with various organizations that focus on people with disabilities and hearing loss.


Audience will choose from the following issues

& explore solutions:

poverty

education

health care

disability

deaf/hard of hearing issues

environmental issues

Then stay for Coeurage Theatre Company‘s new musical selection, Jon Armstrong performs magic & Cynthia Brinkman spills the beans about her first kiss – all sneak peeks of Hollywood Fringe Festival shows!

Full program 10-11a.m.

Food trucks, community vendors and music the rest of the day!

Quick Pics

A more extensive wrap-up of April to post soon, but here’s  just a taste of our varied Anniversary events:

Anniversary Art Reception at Kaldi
Catherine MacKinnon at our March 3rd Kickoff & Fundraiser
25th Anniversary Reading & Talkback in Atwater Village
Global Healing Benefit hosted by Santosha Space & Hypnotiq Solutions

UK Charity’s 25th Anniversary Presentation of VFC

We’ll post pictures from last night’s reading soon, but meanwhile here is the poignant information on Chernobyl Children’s Life Line presentation of our play Voices From Chornobyl as part of their 25th Anniversary Vigil. (from their Flickr Page):

photo

Voices From Chernobyl

April 26th 2011 will be the 25th Anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear reactor accident, at Chernobyl in northern Ukraine. The recent events in Japan have led to significant media attention on this anniversary and the work of UK charities such as Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL) who, since 1991, have been helping the 1000’s of children of Belarus and Ukraine who are living in contaminated regions of these countries, blighted by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl.

To commemorate the 25th Anniversary events are being planned in the UK and all over Europe. Through the recently formed European Chernobyl Network, CCLL came up with the idea of holding simultaneous candle light memorials at venues throughout Europe on the eve of the disaster i.e. Monday 25th April, as the disaster happened at 1.23am on the 26th April. For the Derbyshire Dales, we will be holding an outdoor memorial event at Stoney Wood, off Middleton Road, in Wirksworth beginning at 8pm.

The commemoration evening will include a performance of the play, “Voices from Chornobyl” based on an award winning book written by Svetlana Alexievich by the same title. Images from the disaster and the immediate aftermath will be projected onto a large scene behind the actors. The main event will be the creation of a candle memorial consisting of a large diameter international radiation symbol and also a “25” formed by 25 people holding candles. Everyone there will have the opportunity to place a candle in the commemorative radiation symbol which will be about 4metres in diameter.

It’s been an fascinating journey for me, signed up initially as an actor – and then having to step forward and make my directorial debut, tackling a very difficult and emotional piece. We had our final rehearsal at our rehearsal room last night – it will be a powerful performance.

If you are anywhere nearby – please come. If not – please look out for local events. 25 years on, it is still a major issue for the people of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

With thanks to Nicholas Lativy for the use of his shot of the CNPP – unfortunately the promotion budget didn’t stretch to a visit to Ukraine.

The Cast
The Cast:
From left to right:
Anna: a villager – played by Hilary Jones
Vasily: a physicist – played by Lee Stephens
Lyudmilla: a fireman’s wife – played by Krystina Johnson
Grigory: a liquidator – played by Gordon Conway
Katya: a daughter and mother – played by Bryony Pollock
Sergei: a camerman – played by Mark Sobey

Ambientaria Music Compilation for Chernobyl

I downloaded this album as soon as it was ready, and find it quite haunting. The artists all donated their time to raise money for Chernobyl Charity International, another charity helping the people of the region. Please help them, too!

For information on our last two events in LA, click here.

–CMJ, Playwright

Chernobyl Charity Project – Official Press Release

04/02/2011 by Ambientaria Records

For a few hours already, the Chernobyl Charity compilation is out.

It is available for download from CDBaby.com, and you can also reserve a copy of the double-CD album that shall be available in one or two weeks. Please click on this link for more info.

This project’s benefits shall be totally reversed to the NGO “Chernobyl Charity International”, in order to help the Children suffering from radioactivity-related diseases in the Belarus area. You may learn more about the whole venture on the Official project page.

If you are willing do something to help these Children, please click on the banner below :

Get your own copy of the Chernobyl Charity Compilation !

Fiercely Tied to the Earth: Remembering Anna Sushko for Earth Day

I feel like I know Anna Sushko. In our play the young girl Katya, home after the evacuation, asks a passing soldier to:

Find Anna Sushko for us.

I will describe her to you and you find her.  She lived alone.  No one knows how old she is.  During the resettlement she was taken away in an ambulance in an unknown direction.  She never learned to read and write, so we have no letters from her.  The solitary and sick were placed in asylums.  Hidden away.  But no one knows the address.    She’s an innocent soul suffering in an alien world.

I always pictured this woman as Anna:

original painting by Tisha Terrasini, based on photography of Chornobyl

I think of Anna on Earth Day because she is fiercely tied to the earth. Especially as played by Enci, an actress of incredible depth, Anna is a combination of interviews given by various women, the re-settlers, who returned to Chornobyl after being evacuated because they simply cannot conceive of living anywhere else.

Enci in rehearsal: "Mother, we're leaving. I'm taking some of your earth to guide me back home."

(Clearly, Enci is much younger than the inspiration.) Anna’s connection to her home was one of the qualities that drew me to her as we adapted the play. In order to understand a different culture’s mindset, we had to see how closely their lives are bound to the earth, a bind that now will hurt them.

I always enter these anniversary readings with the question of why? If we know exactly why these stories need to be told then we know our purpose. Before current events brought the word “Chernobyl” into every day vocabulary again, our need to tell the stories stemmed from their connection to their land. It still does. The difference is that people like Anna feel a deep connection to their earth, yet didn’t fully comprehend the technology just a few miles away. They understood its importance to their region, but (most) did not understand potential consequences.

Very few people I know in the United States have that connection with the earth, nor do they have knowledge of the world around them. I am often one of those people, although I work on it all the time. So although the meaning behind our Anniversary Events is not as clear as pro or anti nuclear power, not as clear as the recently-viewed documentary “Bag It,” our hope is that all leave with the idea to learn more about the world around you and how we are all connected to it.

A Poem of Hope

As preparations for our first staged reading heat up, I am reminded to step back and remember why we are doing this in the first place.

A POEM OF HOPE

by Leanne T.

Riverside Primary School, UK

One laugh can start a minute.

One rose can dawn the hope.

One seed can set of nature.

One creature can spark spring.

One friend can make a difference.

One breath of fresh air will relieve our lungs.

One sunbeam will light our world.

One star guides millions of minds.

One laugh can change the gloom.

One word starts a life and it’s all up to you.

Leanne was one of the winners of a 2007 Writing Competition presented by a UK charity. Thank you, Leanne, for sharing your poem and reminding us of our mission.

Call for Art!

UPDATE: We are extending this through  Friday, March  25th. We have gotten fantastic submissions, but have a large space to fill. Details are below!

 

Are you an artist that has been inspired by Chernobyl? We are looking for artists of all types to help share their art and help spread awareness of the 25th anniversary of the disaster this April!

Any and all art will be considered for incorporation into our lobby designs, website, campaigns, etc. We are looking for photography, painting, music, dance, theater, anything that will help generate interest and awareness about Chernobyl.

Have a submission? Want for more information? Please email Rachel at rach.stoll@gmail.com!

UPDATE: Submissions Guidelines !

An Interview with Abraham Tetenbaum of Enrichment Works

As a follow-up to our announcement of Enrichment Works as our financial umbrella I spoke with Abraham Tetenbaum, the organizations founder, to get a little more information about what they do.

_________________________________________

Jane Whitty: For our readers who are not familiar with your organization can you tell us a little about what Enrichment Works does?

Abraham Tetenbaum: Enrichment Works marshals Broadway and Hollywood talent in the cause of improving education at schools, libraries, museums and hospitals.  We create and present plays and musicals in support of academic content standards: “theater to inspire learning.”  We also conduct workshops for students and educators in acting, filmmaking and circus arts.

JW: What prompted you to start this organization?

AT: My son started school in the LAUSD.  I thought it made sense to use theater to educate because actors make an emotional connection to their audience.  Once a child cares, the learning part comes naturally.  My son graduated from college last May so it must be true!

JW: What have you found most rewarding since stating Enrichment Works?

AT: The gratitude of teachers who marvel at the enthusiasm, the attentiveness and inquisitiveness of their students who attend our shows.  I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the field of improving nutrition and fighting childhood obesity.  We were the first theater company to get involved in that cause over 8 years ago, producing two original musicals.  It has also been enormously rewarding to partner with other nonprofits on special projects, most recently Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

JW: How did you get first hear about or become involved with Voices From Chornobyl?

AT: Cindy Jenkins, our former Arts Education Director, sent me the script.  I was glad to help in any way I could.

JW: Since such a big part of Voices From Chornobyl is about finding out what people know about the disaster can you tell us about your memories or knowledge of the events that took place?

AT: My wife and I were living in Hell’s Kitchen in New York in a fifth-story walk-up above a fruit and vegetable market.  I remember relating the disaster to the produce being sold below us, the horrible notion of consuming radioactive tomatoes or corn.  How would you know?

JW: How can those reading this post right now help Enrichment Works continue the great work they are doing?

AT: I’m so glad you asked!  They can tell every parent and teacher they know to visit www.enrichmentworks.org, where they can learn about our programs and make a tax-deductible gift to sponsor our performances.

_____________________________

 

Like what you heard about enrichment works? Visit their website to learn even more. They currently have Circus Arts Workshops available with Donna Wood-Babcock, a Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil alum!

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