Hitting Bedrock OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Volodymyr Klyuzko
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    February 27, 2015
    Closing:
    March 8, 2015

    Theater: La MaMa E.T.C. / 74A East Fourth Street, New York, NY, 10003

    Synopsis: 

    Yara Arts Group, which typically builds its theater productions on first-hand research and workshops in Ukraine, has chosen to replace its upcoming production of "Dark Night Bright Stars," a play based on the friendship of a Ukrainian painter with an African-American actor in 1858, with Hitting Bedrock, a new work based on first-person testimonials of refugees from Donetsk and people stranded there. The company has conducted interviews over the past two years with young adults in Donetsk, who initially told of their dreams for a new life, but now describe either the rigors of refugee life in communities they have fled to or the hardships of life in the city if they have remained. The playscript combines these interviews with poetry and monologues by Serhiy Zhadan, the most popular writer of the post-independence generation in Ukraine.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hitting Bedrock

    Hitting Bedrock’ at La MaMa Taps Into War’s Confusion

    Ken Jaworowski

    March 1, 2015: When I was first told to leave the theater during the beginning of Hitting Bedrock, I grinned, thinking I’d misheard. A repeated request, however, was hard and clear enough to let me know that this was no joke. That demand was soon made of everyone in the audience, and within a few minutes we were shepherded out of our seats and downstairs into a basement passageway, then relocated to another shadowy space, all while carrying our belongings in bags. This experimental docuplay at La MaMa, which relates stories of Ukrainian war refugees, loses power the longer it goes on. Yet those early moments effectively mimic the confusion felt by people caught in war’s upheaval. Hitting Bedrock, conceived and directed by Virlana Tkacz, started out as a relatively benign project. In 2013, the Yara Arts Group traveled to Donetsk, Ukraine, for a theater program that asked residents to describe their dreams for the future. It seemed an interesting question to pose to those who live in an unassuming town known primarily for mining (hence the play’s title), and many were eager to participate.

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