WCU's Dept. of Theatre & Dance Presents the U.S. Premiere of Me, War and Toy Grenade
WEST CHESTER, PA – West Chester University’s Department of Theatre & Dance presents the U.S. Premiere of Me, War and Toy Grenade from November 16 - 19, 2023. WCU Professor Leonard Kelly directs. Me, War and Toy Grenade runs Thursday - Saturday, November 16 – 18, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 19, at 2:00 p.m., in the J.P. Adler Studio Theatre, E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, 2 E. Rosedale Avenue, West Chester. General admission tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors with valid I.D. at www.wcupatix.com.
Me, War and Toy Grenade is about the first 80 days of the Russian aggression into Ukraine. Written by Ukrainian playwright Nina Zakhozhenko, the play is a series of vignettes from around Ukraine and examines the devastating effects war has had on the people of Ukraine. Student actors from West Chester University portray characters facing the choices to go or to stay, to fight or to hide, to save themselves or to help their neighbor.
Me, War and Toy Grenade is a collaboration within West Chester University’s College of Arts & Humanities. The play is paired with the art exhibit My Ukraine, on display through December 9 in the John H. Baker Gallery, E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, 2 E. Rosedale Avenue, West Chester.
Both the exhibit and the play are fundraisers for nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to providing aid to victims of the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian playwright Nina Zakhozhenko says, “I am very glad that my play will be performed at West Chester University and that the production will also benefit victims of the war. It is essential for us that this support does not fade because the war continues, and people die every day. Millions of Ukrainians remain inside the country, experiencing shelling, blackouts, and occupation (in some areas).”
She adds, “The play is fictional but inspired by real events that happened to my family and friends and news from the different cities of Ukraine. I started writing these stories for a Western audience because I wanted to share what is happening, how it feels from the inside, how we live, and the non-obvious conflicts and problems as a result of the war.”
Nina Zakhozhenko is a playwright, translator, and theater maker from Kyiv, currently living in Lviv. Zakhozhenko collaborated with the New Theater on Pechersk as a dramaturg and digital artist on performances Straight into the Heart, The World in a Nutshell, Walk Around Sofia Kyivska, dir. Dmytro Zakhozhenko, Kyiv. In 2021 she co-authored the theater project People's Commissariat by Theater Publicist, dir. Kostyantyn Vasjutkov, Kharkiv. As a playwright, she received the grand prix of the drama contest July's Honey for the play Alina's First Seven Works. She participated in drama festivals in Kyiv and Lviv from 2020-2022. Her short stories, which describe life in Ukraine in the first months of the war, were included in the collection Me, War and Plastic Grenade and were adapted into a play that premiered on October 20, 2022, at the Kyiv Theater. It has since appeared on several European and Ukrainian stages.
An interpreted performance of the play by the Deaf Hearing Communication Center will take place on Sunday, November 19 at 2 p.m.