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