Kharkiv Exports Love and Feminism

Text: Veronika Sklyarova
Photo: Eugene Kurylko

Performance “Red” of the Kharkiv Beautiful Flowers non-governmental theater was shown during “Ukrainische Kulturtage” days in Nuremberg, Germany.
Kharkiv is a very rich place for different theater companies. But even among them, Beautiful Flowers theater is a bombshell. Actors work in very particular genre between pantomime, eccentric, modern ballet. Shows are mostly done without director and drama texts. 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 actors of puppet theater, so mime drama, masks and the very special body plastic are their strength, Igor is a child of classic drama theater but very skilled in modern dance.
“Red” was the first show with the new girl in company, Oxana Cherkashyna, and the first which was not a comedy. Oxana is a very compelling actress. Just before Beautiful Flowers, 60 percent of the main roles in Ukrainian National Drama Theater was 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 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 “Ukrainische kulturtage” days in Nuremberg. This time organizers ask Beautiful Flowers not only for performance but master classes either. Oxana makes a street training in the field of the art performance, Artem shows basics of object theater, Denys gives the rebirthing class to improve actors’ professional mental skills.
Theater helps to unite people, to share emotions. I believe that the world of modern theater is the world of open borders in all meanings of the word “borders.”