Culture Opinion, 24/07/2017

Kharkiv Exports Love and Feminism


Performance “Red” by Kharkiv’s theater Beautiful Flowers was shown during Ukrainian culture days in Nuremberg, Germany.

Kharkiv is packed full of different theater companies. But even among them, Beautiful Flowers theater is unprecedented. Actors star in a very particular genre somewhere between eccentric pantomime and modern ballet. Shows are mostly done without a director and drama texts. The theatre was founded by three graduates of the Kharkiv University of Arts: Artem Vusyk, Igor Klyuchnyk and Denys Chmelyov. All of them bring something unique: Artem and Denis are puppeteers, so mime, masks and performance art are their strong points, Igor is a child of classical drama theater and very skilled in modern dance.

“Red” was the first show with the new girl in company, Oxana Cherkashyna, and also the first which was not a comedy. Oxana is a very compelling actress. Just before Beautiful Flowers, she carried 60 percent of the main roles in Ukrainian National Drama Theater on her tiny shoulders. She opened the doors of woman-men conflict, with all shadows of love stories and ancient archetypical tragedies. As Oxana mentioned: “German spectators read the very interesting feminist narrative in ‘Red.'”  Ukrainians, however, are more sentimental and see the show mostly in the context of a love triangle.

Theater travels a lot; it is their third time in Ukrainian culture days in Nuremberg. This time organizers are asking Beautiful Flowers not only for a performance but master classes as well. Oxana trains the art performance on the street, while Artem showsthe  basics of object theater, Denys gives a class to improve actors’ mental skills.

Theater unites people, helps them to share emotions. I believe that the world of modern theater is the world of open borders in all meanings of the word “borders.”

Photo: Eugene Kurylko