On April 14th, 2023, the much-anticipated premiere of Natalka Vorozhbyt’s latest play "Green Corridors" (translated into German by Lydia Nagel) took place at the Münchner Kammerspiele in Munich, Germany. Directed by Jan-Christoph Gockel, the play featured an exceptional cast of German and Ukrainian actresses who performed in both German and Ukrainian languages.
Written in the aftermath of February 24, 2022, the play offers a poignant portrayal of Ukrainian temporarily displaced persons. The narrative follows the stories of four women who have fled from different parts of Ukraine, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Bucha, and Kyiv. The women face numerous challenges, including long waits at borders and further delays in Europe. Vorozhbyt deftly weaves the lives of her protagonists, with each woman grappling with their own personal tragedy: one is forced to leave behind her beloved cats, another has lost her husband to war, and the third was a victim of rape during the occupation of Bucha. Only the refugee from Kyiv appears to have escaped the horrors of conflict, but even she faces her own unique struggles.
The play also features film scenes in which the actresses embody famous personalities from Ukrainian history, including poetess Olena Teliha and composer Mykola Leontovych. Their lives and struggles reflect the present-day dilemmas of the actresses themselves, who feel torn between representing European values and reconciling with their sense of identity and belonging.
A notable aspect of the play is the inclusion of a film about Bandera, shot in Munich shortly before his assassination by a KGB agent in October 1959. Gockel and his team incorporate the footage directly into the performance, adding another layer of complexity to an already multifaceted production.
The production is further enhanced by the inclusion of live drawings by Ukrainian illustrator and animation artist, Sofiia Melnyk. Her illustrations are projected onto a huge wall, creating an immersive experience for the audience. Whether it is designing a room in a refugee shelter or capturing the emotions of the characters, Melnyk's drawings add depth and nuance to the performance.
Overall, "Green Corridors" is a moving and thought-provoking play that tackles relevant issues with sensitivity and nuance. The excellent direction, cast, and production design all contribute to making it an outstanding theatrical experience.