Joker Tsunami in Ukraine (in English)

What was happening in the country and in Kiev was some kind of a dead-end from which, as we started to learn later, when the project started, there were different ways out. Actually, I said: listen, it would be cool to invite here some international jokers. Because it’s always cool when there is a person from outside the situation. She sees it differently than you who are inside what is happening. Forum theatre really does rise important issues It would be stupid to just avoid those issues. It is the type of theatre that helps to ask questions and find answers. It broadens the borders, it shows how multifaceted the process of understanding each other is It teaches to share your position and to listen And not only to listen but to hear It would be very cool if this spread in Donetsk as much as possible. And as a result people would find more ways to see themselves from the other’s perspective And to talk, to work in different roles To feel oneself at the other’s place And this is very important Seven jokers, seven coaches of Theatre of the Oppressed In Chernihiv, in Chernivtsy, In Donetsk, in Kiev and in Lviv In the latter – yesterday, in the former cities – today these performances do happen. Participants created pieces based on their personal experience I want to highlight: I’m an ordinary participant. A week ago I didn’t know anything about this kind of theatre. But today I realize how important it is Each of you as well as us would have a chance to take part and to change the situation, to show your perspective or your solution. Or just to make a comment. I’d take an axe into my hands And I’d go to crash all the bastards, if I wouldn’t have a higher education and and wouldn’t have read the criminal codex. And carrying the shield and the button I’d become a personal Jesus. However, unfortunately, I hate quarrels even more, than the (Ukrainian traditional drink made of berries) My salary is not big but I love to teach children at the school! And also I’m very happy that my salary was topped with one extra dollar in the state budget. I was kind of forced to come here. I came and I will manage to build a better Ukraine. The better life today, not tomorrow! New elections! New elections! New elections! – Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to the heroes! I expected that there might be scandals there might be a conflict. But it so happened that people became interested The militant protesters that were having rest in the hall also got interested. They held hands They tried also to change the outcome of the problematic situations we proposed. And there were solutions proposed by the people who became spectators by accident, They turned to be in the theatre unintentionally. They didn’t expect it, didn’t plan to be there But they expressed their thoughts on what was going on. And I saw that they were lacking this opportunity to say something. Not only to do what some leaders proposed. I want to replace the teacher, because teacher teaches the young generation. “Better life” – you mean, this one bucks? Our future, that would come – this is what is going to bring the change. The people is with us! Ukraine, go ahead! Ukraine, go ahead! I want to fight! For the first time in my life, yes! I always thought that I’m alone and I won’t be able to change anything. But when I see I’m not alone I can act. He wants to have talks with his colleagues because the power should be together with them. Free Yulia! (Tymoshenko) In each piece there was a person that misused or manipulated situation. I think you revealed precisely the problem of Ukrainian society That there is no chance to agree, but there are cliches and stereotypes For me it was the experience of inclusion in the process. The kind of inclusion when one can reflect on what is going on right now. It was an attempt to understand different views. (singing the anthem) You will see three small pieces Leave me alone! You never understood me! Everything will be fine! – But please, I’m worried… I’m doing this for you! For you! Kiev is a capital of Ukraine. You can see a lot of architectural monuments. For how long could we stay here?! Where are you going? We have a peaceful protest! Peaceful it will be for two more years It’s peaceful prot… We should be strong and patient Enough patience. We suffered enough. Don’t do this. There will be blood. Don’t do this. You are traitors of the revolution. What do these people do here? It’s not time for prayer, but for action Blessed are the peacemakers for their is the kingdom of Heaven Father, let us go, we would save Ukraine Let’s atone for sins later Look how many we are My son, these are also humans as you are Pay attention how strong we are I don’t care about how strong you are! We can’t change the systemic element, like ‘Berkut’ (special forces) We can only replace those in whose role we could be in reality And we can’t change the system now Wait, brother! Leave me alone. – Wait! Leave me alone, you don’t understand me The prayer is stronger than stones. – Might be the time for prayers, but now is the time for action The prayer is stronger Stay here and pray if the prayer is stronger This piece is exactly the embodiment of those tensions and those unresolved issues that we accumulated during the time of the revolution. This is the way out – find the pain spots and show them to everybody – this is the way out, which the society today is looking for. I want to thank together with you our actors I think that everyone at that time was fighting with oneself. On the one hand you had humane feelings, god’s feelings about non-violence but on the other hand you realized that here you can only fight violence with violence. Complicated. Ambivalence arised. And it was difficult to make a decision. During Maidan people mainly gathered to do many cool things but nothing from the sphere of theatre nothing to have a chance to reflect what is happening and how to deal with that. Nothing to realize there are very different views not only what was told from the stage. First we had an idea to invite all the jokers to Kiev But then we decided: no we better make it more complicated for ourselves, it will be harder, but we bring them to different cities. Listen! Would you like to support me? What? – Let’s take part in Maidan, it’s very important It will change our life to the better. – Stop. Do you realise at least where is the truth in it and where is the false? And if you feel like there is a moment here where you would like to change something – then try to do it. One, two, three – stop! Let’s do it this way. I tell you concrete things And you answer me with concrete things too. Let’s try. “You are an idiot” doesn’t work, ok? What is this chaos? Where are you heading? Should I go somewhere? Fighting myself and going further! Larisa, my sister, hi! Hi. What are these papers? This is for Maidan. Would you like to be in the list? Do you at least get paid for this? No, of course! – Are you doing this for free? You are doing job for free, you don’t know for whom even Of course for free! But we don’t have money at home! Each of them realised what their position is Who they are who they are in relation to Ukraine, in relation to Maidan And this was already a conflict, already a clash, because the positions were different already. For us it was really a question if there will be the same group the next day and if we will be able to talk through the position of each one The forum-theatre which we did with them gave the actors and the spectators the chance to see the situation that was happening in Ukraine not only from different perspectives but at the level of different society layers. We had six small dialogues with different characters A dialogue of a journalist and an editor A dialogue of two women, one of the – the policeman and she is making a choice to be or not to be there A dialogue of businessman who keeps bribing with another one who went on Maidan because he believes that only new ideas and concepts could change this country Yes, earlier I had to do a lot physically, to fight. And now – money, money. Imagine: the more money I have the more money I have! All the time you change your role. You might be an aggressor and then – a victim. Later the roles are changed The tandem of aggressor and victim is about the dignity of a human. It’s about somebody who wants to possess not only her dignity but also somebody’s else. The one who doesn’t let the other to be the owner of her dignity, of herself. It gives you the opportunity to try yourself in different roles, to feel how the aggressor feels. Why she behaves this way? I climbed into the so to say anus of this world. And from there step by step I climbed. Feces fell on me. I climbed and now I feel that somebody is trying to climb through my anus and get to the top. This is why we make pressure. This is healthy competition. This is the law of evolution And due to the fact that you felt situation in different roles, actually, you start building your dignity. You start thinking: where is “me” here? What do I want from life? Yes or no? Yes He wanted to conduct his business honestly You survive because somebody dies. Mykola is in jail, Marina is in jail. It means that jail is the place for them! But these are our friends! What do you mean ‘friends’? We studied together! – Studied! What did you all do when I didn’t go to classes? What you said about me? “Hahaha, loser” – you said. You didn’t even help me with the homework. And I was a businessman even back then. I sold matches and lighters at the market. And you mocked on me. And now where you go? To the anus? Petro was also a businessman… What will happen to Maidan – you don’t know that yourself, right? Do you think this is what you decide? We are the players! We move these figures, and Maidan is one of them. The money direct everything. Money. And only the whales and the sharks swim there. Can I answer now finally? Oh, of course. You contradict yourself, both in your acting with me and with the previous actors. And you contradict the character himself. You say: “I like to take risks, I am so cool” But actually you are afraid of taking risks. You don’t show your “coolness” in a real way… You lie to yourself and to the others. What is risk from your point of view? This is the question I should ask you. The only thing I can add: tomorrow there will be another court hearing, where I am a subject. This is the fourth criminal case against the power. You see, I’m not afraid even in this situation. From the time these events started in November, there were already two attacks made on me by the officials of the law enforcement. They beat me but I said: you will not frighten me. That’s why I say that your behavior contradicts your image of the strong and risky man. You are actually afraid of taking risks. You are afraid of changing your mentality. For different people: for the poor, for the misers different fates were being sold. What kind of fate do you propose? All the fates here are the best. And mine is the beautiful life. What is ‘beautiful life’? Imagine. You would forget how it is to take the cheapest train from Ivano-Frankivsk to Kiev. Cool! I have the safe fate. I propose immigration. To Europe, to US, to Australia. Just make your choice. Does it mean I can not bring with me my mother, my father, the dog, granny, grandpa, grand-grandpa, another grandma, the third grandma, the fourth… Well, how to say… You will visit them once per year. Please raise your hand if you really saw some chance for changes. You would really like… Stop! You want to replace her? The economy is very cool. All Ukrainians speak half-напів English-Ukrainian UkrEnglish. It’s a very cool language. Chorniy? – Dark. Chorniy khlib? – Dark bread, yes. Em.. Dark bread. Please, translate to me, I don’t speak the language. Excuse me? Go, find it and pay for it at the cashier. Oh, thank you! You are also a Ukrainian in Canada? – Yes! Cool, I love you! We are many and we won’t be defeated Hello! Do you sell the fates? I do, please buy, my dear. Stop. But mom! Shut up I told you! But mom! – Shh! Mom, it’s my life. – Silence! I am already 16 years old! Of course you will live very well and far from your mom. And what is the price? Well, the price is, as you understand, is clear. You will stay in Ukraine, and your daughter will go. Great, I want that. Let’s go! When somebody decide on behalf of one all the time, her wills… Somebody wants her to be like that. And she will keep doing like somebody. And she will not want to come back to where she grew up. Not a single fate fits me. And I decided that I will create my own fate. I will build it by my own hands. And it will be my fate in my country. On the 19th of January the Maidan got new format. I realised that there is no place for me in this type of the protest. I wanted to find a way to talk about what was happening in a more peaceful way – through art. I am from Donetsk region myself. I grew up in Konstantinovka. That is why it was especially important for me to spend four days in Donetsk itself with the group working on forum theatre. Oh, why so early you leave your homeplace. Even the snows haven’t melt yet. …and your grades are bad. And you don’t have any experience. You don’t fit for this post at all. But here is the paper from Nikolai Petrovich. Oh, Nikolai Petrovich?! Pass it to the driver, please. Ideas! Ideas! Ideas! What could I tell you? haven’t got a job again. Each one should bring money to this family. If you only want money from me… No, not only, but this is a law. – Then I leave! Go! And learn to live by yourself. And learn to be responsible for your life. We don’t have money. How would we rent? Where would we find money for that? We could live at your grandma’s. At my grandma’s?! – Yes I could help her with cooking. We would live with this beautiful insane old lady?! Love Ukraine like sun like wind and grasses and waters. They are always so happy to see your. Seems like they feel when you will come. I also love them so much. The only happy thing in my life. Sorry but there was another girl before her who is perfectly qualified. Sasha, baby, please! Do you need your job? Sasha, baby. If you don’t need this job then the girl that is perfectly qualified would get your position. And you will look for a new one. But how? How could you fire me without any reason? Because I’m your employer. But tell me how will you fire me all of a sudden? Very easily. Do you want to try? Ok, great, enough. Stop! Wait! Nikolai Petrovich, according to the law we would have to go to the court. Ok, baby Sasha, you are free. The girl that is qualified… So I apply through the court and you would have to clean your image for very long. I am afraid that you would have troubles for very long, not me. Good bye. Let’s see. Bye. I’m sorry we can’t employ you as long as I’m here. We watched the video from Donetsk. And we observed that there at the workshop people didn’t even talk that the authorities are guilty in those social problems which they encountered. In the discrimination at the process of job search. In the fact that they don’t get what they deserve. In other social problems. In Kiev the participants said the ones who are guilty for these problems are those in power and corruption and so on. They talked about human rights violation. And in Donetsk they didn’t even mention these terms. The groups existed in different realms. On one hand I can’t get the job because I don’t have connections. On the other hand this is not related to the corruption. When we left the flat where Hector lived in the morning in a couple of meters from the entrance we always saw a man in dark clothes. There was a couple of them. We started to distinguish them soon. They escorted us to public transport. They followed us. When we took taxi from one part of the city to the other part, we were always followed by a car, usually the same one. The car followed us constantly even to the most remote districts of the city. We could trace it easily. We didn’t know who are these people and why they follow us. But you could imagine that it does create tense atmosphere. We shared our observations with the group. We told we are followed. Because only us, the organisers, could notice that. We shared the idea that provocations during the performance are probable. We proposed to discuss collectively if we should and if we are ready to do the show. Do we feel safe? We discussed and the group made a collective decision that as what we do is important to us and as we believe we don’t do anything provocative or harmful or bad or explosive for the situation we are ready to keep walking our way. Tell what is the aim of you coming here today? We don’t really understand what is happening here. But we received information that some Hector… I’m afraid to misspell the name… Aristasabal? I guess this is it. He does political productions. As far as we know our ‘colleagues’ from opposition are rehearsing some improvised theatre production in Donetsk city. We would like to know the goals of this show. But the organisers don’t come out to meet us. What is this show? – We don’t know. But we know what kind of shows Hector usually does. Who is he, this Hector? He is a Columbian. He even spent some time in prison, as far as we know. And he does political theatre. And what’s next? Are you gonna wait till they go out? We would like to see Hector and to pass him this letter which we signed. It’s very simple, nothing special here. We all signed it. And they say: if the workshop is open, we also can come, right? This we could discuss. For us ourselves it sounded a bit controversially. If we came to conduct dialogue and we call ourselves theatre for dialogue, and then we refuse the chance to build the dialogue when we are proposed to do so. Hector in this case said: you know, you can only have the dialogue with those people who are ready for this. There are always two sides in the dialogue. In the moments when one of the sides obviously provokes the other one or manipulates the attempts to have dialogue but actually doesn’t do anything so that the dialogue could really happen, – at least to come in time to create the space – in these cases you should be wise and understand where is the dialogue and where is manipulation. We still ask ourselves if it happened the other way would it change what is happening in Donetsk now a year after that. We don’t know. Feels like she started to stand up recovered a bit from what happened. Courage. Power. Aggression. Ready to fight. What did you discover during the Tsunami of Jokers? I discovered how the art can make people active as citizens For me it was also some kind of personal therapy. Because during these events everyone, I guess, well, me for sure needed to feel that she is a part of what was happening. Joker Tsunami became this kind of initiative for me. I guess it’s the first time in my life that I got interested in theatre. I tried some things. In the final show I only had the role of a chair. But during the workshop I could try many interesting things. For me it was very important and interesting that this theatre is aimed for an ordinary man. Ordinary people become actors. There is no snobish theatrical attitude here. Doesn’t matter if you are an actor or no. It was a golden experience for me. First – as the theatre work. Second – as a way to express problem which one can’t solve by herself. If found a new type of activism for myself. The type I haven’t seen before. I realised that I can do things that fit me. I can do that with other people – and this is activism. Activism doesn’t necessarily mean what I imagined it meant: people with banners at the street. Which I didn’t understand. I’m thinking of the future now. About what we will have in 15-20 years. And I don’t expect that the changes would be rapid. If we start doing something now – we would see the result much later. So I wish that theatre of the oppressed develops and more people take part in this and have this experience I started to use this method in social sphere, it does work. I will move further in this direction. In political aspect I want so much to use it. I have many friends at the East of Ukraine. I’m thinking on how to do it now at those territories that are under the control of Ukraine. When the shellings would be over – and I hope it will happen soon – we will have no other way except of talking to each other, being with each other. I don’t know the other way to show my gratitude except of through the song. Oh, crane! Oh, crane, crane, why do you scream every morning? Oh how could I not scream? How could I not scream? How could I not scream and not fly high? I have my mom somewhere. Somewhere I have my mom. And she remembers me. I’ve detached from my origin like a stone that fell into the water. Like the stone, that fell into the water. The stone fell and it lies. The stone fell and it lies at one place. It’s hard to live in foreign land. Oh, crane, crane. Oh, crane, crane. Why do you scream every morning?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *