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Conversations During Air-Raid Sirens: A Documentary Symphonic

Conversations During Air-Raid Sirens will present the world premiere of a searing and genre-blurring dramatic work of poetry and journalism by the renowned Ukrainian-American poet Ilya Kaminsky as a catalyst for a guided audience discussion about the war in Ukraine and the experience of modern urban warfare throughout the world. Kaminsky describes his new piece as a “documentary symphonic” aimed at giving audiences a “direct experience” of the “chaos/anarchy of the war,” told from the civilian perspective through lyric and testimony. The premiere of Conversations During Air Raid Sirens will take place for an in-person audience at The Greene Space and a global audience on Zoom, and will be followed by immediate responses from a panel of community members whose lives have been impacted by war—in New York City, Ukraine, and other parts of the world—culminating in facilitated dialogue aimed at generating compassion, understanding, and positive action.

Featuring performances by Anthony Edwards (E.R., Top Gun), Mare Winningham (Dopesick, St. Elmo’s Fire), Ato Blankson-Wood (BlacKkKlansman, When They See Us), and John Turturro (The Batman, The Big Lebowski).

Written by Ilya Kaminsky
Directed and facilitated by Bryan Doerries

Co-presented by Theater of War Productions and The Greene Space.

Supported by the Authors Guild Foundation’s fund commissioning new dramatic works from contemporary poets.

This event will be Captioned in English on Zoom with audio interpretation in Ukrainian and English on Zoom.

This free, public, live hybrid event will take place on Zoom Webinar, broadcast from The Greene Space in NYC. If you choose to join us online, this event can be accessed on personal devices. The event Zoom link will be distributed via email and available to registered attendees starting two days prior to the event.

All of Theater of War Productions' events follow the same format:

  • The performers will read the text.
  • Community panelists will kick off the discussion with their gut responses to what resonated with them across time.
  • We will open the discussion to the audience, facilitated by Bryan Doerries. To participate in the discussion online, please raise your hand using the button at the bottom center of the screen. If called upon, please accept the invitation to be promoted to speak and you will be visible and heard by the entire audience for the duration of your comments. If you would prefer not to be seen, please disable your video.

Ukrainian poets and authors referenced in this piece include:

Anastasia Afanasieva is a poet and literary translator from Kharkiv. After full scale invasion she escaped the city with her family and is currently a war refugee in England. Her writing has appeared in many journals, including Modern Poetry in Translation (UK) and several anthologies, including Words For War (Academic Studies Press).

Olena Andreychykova is a novelist and essayist from Odesa. She divides her time between Europe where her young child lives and Odesa where her mother and husband continue to live. Her work has appeared in The World Literature Today and The Orion among other journals.

Dmitry Blizniuk is a poet from Kharkiv, where he continues to live. His writing has appeared in many journals in USA, including The Nation.

Vitya Brevis is a writer from Odesa. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review.

Daryna Gladun is a poet from Bucha. After the full scale invasion, she escaped the city under bombardment and currently lives in Massachussetts where she received a masters degree from Darmouth college. She is a recipient of various honors, including a fellowship from the President of Ukraine.

Lesyk Panasiuk is a poet from Bucha, Ukraine, who currently lives as an internally displaced person in Khmelnitsky, Ukraine. His writing has appeared in several literary journals in USA, including The Atlantic.

Vladyslava Ilinska is an author who lives in Odesa, Ukraine. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review.

Kateryna Kalytko is a Ukrainian poet, literary translator, and writer who was born in Vinnytsia. She is a member of PEN Ukraine. Her work has appeared in several anthologies in the West, including Words for War (Academic Studies Press).

Marianna Kiyanovska is a Ukrainian poet and translator who was born in Zhovkva. She is the recipient of the Shevchenko National Prize and Zbegniew Herbert International Literary award.

Lydmyla Khersonska is a poet from Odesa Ukraine who is currently a war refugee in Italy. Her writings had appeared in various USA publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Victorya Koritnyanska is an writer, essayist and artist who lives in Odesa, Ukraine. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review.

Victor Korobko is a poet and prose writer from Odesa, Ukraine where he’d run a successful business before the war began. His writing has appeared in World Literature Today.

Vadym Linda is a writer from Odesa, Ukraine. In USA, His writing his appeared in The Paris Review.

After Anna Loboda’s house was bombed, she has moved to Odesa, Ukraine where she lives in a refugee center sponsored by local nuns.

Nail Muratov is a writer who lives in Odesa, Ukraine. In USA his writing has appeared in The Paris Review.

Al Panteliat has escaped Kharkiv under bombardment. He is a prolific translator and poet. His work appears in several journals in the West, including Modern Poetry in Translation (UK) and World Literature Today (USA)

Ihor Pavliuk was born in Rozhysce Raion, and is the writer and translator of many books. He was named People’s Poet of Ukraine in 2020 and is the winner of 2013 English PEN Award.

Ostap Slyvinsky lives in Lviv, Ukraine. He is the poet, essayist and translator who has received several distinctions including the Antonych Literary Prize in Ukraine and Burda Prize in Germany.

Ana Streminska is a poet and senior member of staff at Odesa Literary Museum. She has authored several collections and organized numerous art exhibitions. She lives in Odesa.

Zarina Zabritsky is a war journalist who has lived in Odesa, Kherson and several other cities of war-time Ukraine, In USA, her publications had appeared in journals such as Paris Review, LA Review of Books, The Orion, and others.

Cast Members

  • John Turturro Headshot

    John Turturro

  • Ato Blankson Wood Headshot

    Ato Blankson Wood

  • Mare Winningham Headshot

    Mare Winningham

  • Anthony Edwards Headshot

    Anthony Edwards

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