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Work by a Ukrainian playwright will be read in DeKalb

Screenshot of YouTube video from a previous reading.
Screenshot of YouTube video from a previous reading.

The Northern Illinois University School of Theater and Dance is once again bringing Ukraine’s literature to DeKalb.

The Ukrainian Play Reading Project began after the onset of the Russia invasion in Ukraine. Gibson Cima is an assistant professor of theater history at NIU. He said when the invasion happened, he wanted to help.

“One of our professors here is Russian by birth," he said. "And I reached out to him and asked him if he knew anyone in Ukraine who might be, might have access to some scripts — if we could read some Ukrainian plays. And he connected me to John Freedman.”

Cima said Freedman was the English language critic in Russia at one time.

“And so, he was connected to the Playwrights’ Theatre of Ukraine, which was due to open the day of the invasion,” Cima said. “And, and so, they had a number of plays that they wanted to get in front of the audiences. And they were willing to let us read those plays, as long as we solicited donations.”

Cima said in the past, they would read shorter plays but this year they will do one long piece. He said these types of readings will continue until the war ends.

"Bad Roads" by Natal’ya Vorozhbit will be performed from noon Theatre to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, at O’Connell Theater in NIU’s Stevens Building, 200 University Circle. The viewing is free, but donations are accepted and will be put in theUkraine Crisis Relief Fund.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.