Wschodni Express | Book Launch: Lena Kudaieva, Polina Pogonceva, Oskana Savchenko, ”Insekt”, transl. Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun

8.07 |10.00 -11.30 | Bałagan pub – patio, Grodzka 5a

translated from Ukrainian by Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun. Guests:  Lena Kudaieva, Polina Pogonceva, Oskana Savchenko, Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun, moderator: Paweł Passini | PL / UKR

„Insekt” is the result of collaboration between three cultural institutions: the Ukrainian Institute, Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, and Workshops of Culture in Lublin. The volume consists of three dramas selected in 2022 as part of the „transmission.UA: drama on the move” programme run by the Ukrainian Institute. The programme aims to promote contemporary Ukrainian drama in European countries. This bilingual publication, in Polish and Ukrainian, marks the beginning of drama publications within Wschodni Express, a series published by Workshops of Culture since 2024. Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute is a co-publisher of the collection.

Ukrainian literature, including drama, will never be the same as it used to be. The experience of a long-lasting war with its various phases has undoubtedly had a profound impact on Ukrainian writers. Playwrights have learned to recognise and neutralise human traumas, acquiring the rare ability to separate what truly matters from trivial and unreal topics. They have restored proper proportions to the matters at hand. Combined with significant universal themes, this will undoubtedly result in powerful dramatic literature.  Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun (translator)

Lena Kudaieva was born in 1977 in Donetsk. She lived quietly in independent Ukraine until war with Russia began in 2014. After moving a lot, she eventually settled in Kramatorsk and embarked on a new life.  In 2020, she received a master’s degree in psychology. In February 2021,  she attended an intensive documentary theatre course in February 2021 and wrote her first dramatic text 6,5, a production of which premiered  on September 4, 2021 at the Kulish Regional Academic Music and Drama Theatre in Kherson. She was selected for the DRAMLABNEO Week drama laboratory supported by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. Participation in the project resulted in her first creative dramatic text,  Diary of an Excellent Student, which was long listed at the 7th Drama.UA Play Contest in 2021. In October 2022, two of her plays (Insect and One Day) were shortlisted for the July Honey Festival of Contemporary Ukrainian Drama. In November 2022,  One Day and Bad Year were shortlisted at the 13th Contemporary Play Week drama competition.

Oksana Savchenko (b.1975 in Kyiv). She is a screenwriter, playwright, and journalist. As a screenwriter, she has worked with television channels TRK Ukraine, Inter, and with the FILM.UA media company. She participated at the Heidelberger Stückemarkt Theater Festival (2017) in Germany, the international Telpa Daugavpils festival in Latvia (2014), and the Contemporary Play Week in Kyiv. She has collaborated with Georg Genoux and Natalka Vorozhbyt’s Theater of Displaced People. In 2011,  she participated in the London Royal Court theatre program for Ukrainian playwrights.

Polina Pogonceva (b. 1986 in Zaporizhzhia )  is a Ukrainian playwright. She has lived in Kyiv, Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia. Her plays have been presented at Kyiv theaters, including  Roof and PostPlay, as well as in the New Drama Theatre in Zaporizhzhia. Her  plays are available online on a website for Ukrainian dramatists, UkrDramaHub. Her plays include: Someone’s Blood,  Don’t Be Crazy, which premiered at the Wild Theatre in January 2022, and Grandma and Grandpa Have Sex, which premiered at the Theatre of Playwrights in Kyiv in May 2022. Her play Save the Light premiered in July 2022 at Baron’s Court Theatre in the UK.