a Ukrainian actress tells the story, culture and freedom of her country

The war in Ukraine is one of the themes of readings, conferences, meetings or debates at the Festival d’Avignon. Two wonderful days right there Dear neighbors! From Sarajevo 1992 to Kyiv 2022 programmed on July 13 and 14 at the church in Célestins, as part of “in” thought workshops. Round tables are also made in the “off” village, a meeting place of professionals: Ukraine, what artistic word during the war? and The actor tried the warJuly 10 and 17.

On stage, six Ukrainian punk singers from the group Dakh Daugthers will perform in concert with Olivier Py, at the end of “in”, on July 26 at the Opéra Grand Avignon. And there is also an expression of Ukrainian culture “off”: a game held every Monday in The Condition of the Silks theater: Ukraine, my beloved.

Written a few days ago, in a hurry, from the start of the war last March, this show is autobiographical, with two actors on stage: a Ukrainian from kyiv, living in Lyon for seven years, and a Frenchman.

“A traditional lullaby sung by my great -grandfather when I was a child”: Irina Lytiak, playing herself in “Ukraine, my beloved”.

© Radio France
– Benoit Grossin

“My great -grandfather taught me to love Ukrainian culture”

Through her personal story, Irina Lytiak, in Ukraine, my belovedrecounts the history and culture of his country, with poems and songs including a lullaby: “A traditional Ukrainian lullaby that my great-grandfather sang to me when I was little. He taught me to love the Ukrainian language, to love the culture and to simply love. “

A few months ago Irina Lytiak still likes to direct for another show, the game Another man, to a Russian director, until they were deeply divided in the war. Right pro-Putin “really thought it was not a war, but a military operation and that the Ukrainians had been looking for him for eight years. The Ukrainians, he said, started the war. It is no longer possible to work together!“, He exclaimed.

The actress evokes this episode on stage: “I am Ukrainian and I am not against Russians, nor against Russian culture. My father lived in Moscow, with my paternal sister and my paternal brother. But I can’t be someone who thinks Ukraine will get what it deserves! And who further says that my girlfriend who is a mother of three children and that at this exact moment, with her three children, hid in the basement to avoid the bombs. .. Let’s write a new show!

Irina Lytiak and François Mayet recount the emergency birth of their show in the face of the pro-Putin position of their former director in Russia.
Irina Lytiak and François Mayet recount the emergency birth of their show in the face of the pro-Putin position of their former director in Russia.

© Radio France
– Benoit Grossin

I’m what a Frenchman thinks about Ukraine, I don’t know anything “

After the cancellation of performances already scheduled in Lyon at the game Another man and instead of organizing debates, so he started this new show invented in an emergency, in a few days, to respond to “a thousand and one questions from the Frenchwho sent him messages of support: Ukraine, my beloved where Irina Lytiak especially put herself in the shoes of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, who were considered the first Ukrainians. And he began a dialogue with his teammate, François Mayet:

Irina: “In 1557, we were on the island of Khortytsia, in Saporizka Sich“Francis:” Is Khortytsia Island in the Black Sea? “Irina:” No! It’s in the Dnipro! “Francis:” Ah, the river that flows through kyiv … okay “Irina:” And it was there that the free Cossack republic of Ukraine, Saporizka Sich, saw for the first time. Do you speak Ukrainian? “Francis:” We will say yes. Yes! “Irina:” Not there! Tack! “Francis:” Oh, is that any different? “Irina:” oo lahi ra “Francis:” Tack!

François Mayet, playing the role of the Frenchman who has everything to learn from Ukraine: “I’m what the French think of Ukraine, that is, I don’t know. I was naive and would ask. I have a priori, clichés about Ukraine. My character thinks that Russia and Ukraine are the same, that Ukrainian is a Russian dialect when in fact it is a different language. There are also many clichés in the history of Ukraine. On the show, we talked a lot. We immediately realized that it was a perpetual recurrence, that Russia was constantly attacking Ukraine to join this country and make it a province.




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In “Ukraine, my love”, Irina Lytiak tells the story of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, at the heart of Ukrainian national identity.

© Radio France
– Benoit Grossin

“This is my Ukraine, this is my family, this is me!”

It was with music and a siren song warning of the bombings that the tow began in public, on the streets of Avignon, with three Ukrainian refugees Irina Lytiak, welcomed as well as their family, to her home, in Lyon, since March. . Three friends, including Tania, on the violin: “Playing the violin for the Ukraine game, my love is a great joy and an inspiration to better thoughts and feelings. This is my Ukraine, this is my family, this is me!

And they continue in an a cappella Oï o louzi tchervona kalyna (Oh, the red viburnum berries of the prairie), a patriotic march written during the First World War, to honor and remember the skirmishers of Sitch. This popular song became the song of Ukrainian resistance to Russian occupation:

Oh, in the light of the carpenter, Oh, in the pasture the red viburnum bowed, Our house of Ukraine has been destroyed. For some reason, our glorious Ukraine is desperate. And I will give you the right hand, But we will take your red fruit, And to us, O Lord, be weary! And let’s celebrate our glorious Ukraine, hey, hey!

Smiling, another refugee friend of Irina Lytiak and like her actress, Xsenia, was happy to join the artistic participation in the tow for the show: “Singing today for me is a great opportunity to knock on the door in the hearts of the French. Because what is happening now in Ukraine, the war, is very difficult for us”.

In song and music, three Ukrainian refugee artists: Tania, Irina and Xsenia took part in the towing down the streets of Avignon.
In song and music, three Ukrainian refugee artists: Tania, Irina and Xsenia took part in the towing down the streets of Avignon.

© Radio France
– Benoit Grossin

“We’re just looking for our freedom”

In complete opposition to the patriotic song Oï o louzi tchervona kalynaa Russian propaganda video, an animated cartoon aimed at children, opens the show Ukraine, my beloved. After a heated argument at school between two children, a “violent” Ukrainian and a “peaceful” Russian, the voice-over concluded: “It’s almost the same story that happened between the two sister countries, Ukraine and Russia. A long friendship was destroyed by the history of the regions, Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukraine began to oppress the Russian population in these regions. So they want to separate and join Russia. But Ukraine does not agree. He began to fight in these two territories.

Irina Lytiak chose to show it to the public to put herself in the shoes of a Russian or Ukrainian: “For even when I watched the propaganda, in the tenth of a second, I believed it. And afterwards, I have to pull myself together and tell myself no, I can’t. This video claims that Ukraine first attacked the Russians and it mentions a conspiracy with the European Union. These are lies, of course. We’re just looking for our freedom. “

Irina Lytiak and François Mayet meet with festival-goers, before the performances of their show
Irina Lytiak and François Mayet meet with festival-goers, before the performances of their show “Ukraine, mon amour”.

© Radio France
– Benoit Grossin

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