Lеna Kudaieva's "Insect" staged in Poland

22 February 2024

The play "Insect" by Ukrainian playwright Lеna Kudaieva was translated into Polish by Anna Kozhenyovska Bigun. This translation, along with the original, was published in the collection "Insect" in 2023, a collaborative effort between three cultural institutions: the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, the Ukrainian Institute, and the Cultural Workshop in Lublin. This publication features three plays selected in 2022 as part of the Ukrainian Institute's "transmission.UA: drama on the move" program aimed at promoting contemporary Ukrainian drama across Europe. Among the included texts are "Insect" by Lena Kudaieva, "Night Covers Morning" by Oksana Savchenko, and "Save the Light" by Polina Polozhentseva.

The performance of "Insect" directed by Jеrzy Lach, featuring Olha Trembach and Dasha Miller, premiered at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute on February 10, 2024. This rendition added depth to previous interpretations while maintaining a certain austere visual style. Both actresses, clad in black, merge on stage, creating a synthesis that blurs the lines between them.

Director Lach explains that both actresses auditioned for the roles, selecting Olha whose Polish is proficient. Dasha, still refining her language skills, was chosen for her singing ability, embodying a form of staging that resonates with the narrative's themes of trauma and acceptance across generations.

Kudaieva's play, born out of her own experiences and psychological insights, delves into themes of love, hate, resistance, forgiveness, fear, pain, loneliness, struggle, death, life, misunderstanding, patience, and empathy. It centers around a girl who dies repeatedly but somehow continues to live.

The production avoids literal visual representations, focusing instead on the characters' internal struggles and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. The narrative unfolds like pages from a diary, with emotional depth added through live singing and choreography.