Theater is slowly resurrected in the war-hit city of Kharkiv and a hotbed of artistic innovation before the invasion, with audiences eager for normality amid Russian attacks and while the “Nafta” company adapts to focus on the here and now to cope with uncertainty.
“A spectator told me after the show that it had reminded her of emotions and feelings that she had forgotten she was capable of experiencing,” one of the actors told EFE. Mykola Naboka. “This is why we do theater,” he added.
Like other residents, Naboka left Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion, when bombs destroyed thousands of residential buildings. After the Ukrainian army managed to push the invading forces eastwards more than a year ago, many returned and Naboka has now traveled to Kharkiv to take action.
However, hundreds of windows with broken glass in the same center remind us of the deadly threat that continues to hang over the city, located just 30 kilometers from Russia and where a missile killed two people last week.
“When we worked in safer Lviv, all our works talked about the war. Here, on the contrary, we try to distract the audience from it,” he explains. Artem Vusyk, author and director of the first premiere at the “Nafta” theater since the invasion began.