Monday, June 6, 2022

Jersey City Theater Center Honors Ukrainians with Premiere of VOICES International Theatre Festival


WHEN: June 15-24
JCTC Studios, 165 Newark Avenue, Jersey City (Enter at Barrow Street)
ADMISSIONA suggested donation of $20.00 will be used to support Ukrainian artists commissioned by the Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater, Kiev, Ukraine. BUY TICKETS HERE
The VOICES 2022 International Theatre Festival is brought to the community in partnership with Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival, Vaclav Havel Library Foundation, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, and ESSENCE Theatre-Studio.

Politically charged global perspectives take center stage with works from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Israel, Poland, USA, Hungary, and Slovakia

The Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) kicks off its summer season in June with its 2022 VOICES International Theatre Festival, which is dedicated to Ukrainians who are literally fighting for their lives and independence on a daily basis. Amid a current climate of global unrest, cultural discrimination, and societal despair, notable artists from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Israel, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the United States have assembled their work to build bridges among countries in honor of the embattled nation.

“We live during dark and tragic times of war,” stated Olga Levina, JCTC’s Executive Producer. “Although we achieved a lot in terms of technological progress as a society, we still haven’t learned how to live in unity with each other. As artists, we have the power to shape the cultural landscape of our modern world by exploring the human conditions and establishing a dialogue between people of all nationalities through the ancient art of storytelling. Through VOICES, we encourage a dialogue that forges a deep listening, cross cultural collaboration and appreciation of our differences, while cultivating new relationships through a creative display of diversity on stage. We’re doing a disservice to all humanity if we fail to acknowledge the beauty of our global cultural heritage and the power of a dialogue.”

Olga Gavrylyuk, Ukrainian director who will present ….And You Could Hear The Music As a Word… during VOICES, echoes Levina’s sentiments. "During these uncertain times of war in Ukraine, the theater did not stop producing, and we are all working. The war united us even more. Creativity became a manifestation of our resistance. It has strengthened our spirit and faith in victory,” she said. “People go to the theater to rest for a while from the horrors of war, air raids, and shell explosions! We make new performances with new inspiration, which is connected with the responsibility for our dignity, life, and national spirit! People and artists from different fields of culture also strive for unity, so theater actors and musicians have created this joint project. Great Ukrainian poetry is the most valuable heritage of our culture! During these tragic times, it inspires and leads us to awareness of the realities of life. In the combination of music and words, our soul strives to manifest the will to live! Therefore, we will freeze at this moment to become more spiritual and strong!"

A complete rundown of JCTC’s productions scheduled for the VOICES International Theatre Festival is listed below:

THEATRE (Russian / English Subtitles)

Worlds in Collision
by Iddo Netanyahu (Uzbekistan / Israel / USA)
Directed by Nabi Abdurakhmanov
Presented by ESSENCE Theatre-Studio

WHEN: Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 7:30 PM (EDT)
 JCTC Studios, 165 Newark Avenue, Jersey City (Enter at Barrow Street)

Originally produced in Russian with English subtitles, Worlds in Collision was first produced in 2015 in Tashkent, where it was directed by Nabi Abdurakhmanov and has been running there continuously since then. This production has been showcased amid critical acclaim both there and elsewhere, including at well-regarded international festivals, most recently at the JaffaFest International Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, and International Festival in Kishinev, Moldova.

The plot follows a major best-selling author who described cosmic events, which he claimed affected the history of mankind, but we meet him as a crushed and discredited researcher. Brilliant and innovative, Immanuel Velikovsky’s work was deemed “pseudoscience,” containing too much “imagination” and bordering on science fiction. No scientist, that is, except for the greatest one alive: Albert Einstein. The exchanges between the two men, and their ultimate quests – each trying to achieve what seemed impossible – make for a riveting human drama, based on true events.

“There are only two characters on stage,” says director Abdurakhmanov of the play, “but through their discussions and arguments, and through the workings of their inner minds and their personal revelations, the entire Universe comes into being.”

Tickets (Free with $20.00 Suggested Donation):

THEATRE / MUSIC (Ukrainian / English Subtitles)

And You Could Hear the Music As a Word…
Presented by National Academic Lesya Ukrainka Theater in Collaboration with Kyiv Municipal Academy of Music
Directed by Olga Gavrylyuk (Ukraine)

WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 2:00 PM (EDT)
 JCTC Online (Via Ukraine):

This acclaimed play is produced by the National Academic Theater of Lesya Ukrainka, the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Music named after R.M. Glier, and the International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of V. Horowitz. Directed by Olga Gavrylyuk, there will be a musical interlude from European composers and poetic reading of works by Ukrainian poets.

Artists include the following: Duo Sonoro: Andrii Pavlov (violin) and Valeriia Shulga (piano). Glib Ivanov (baritone). Hanna Hrynchak, Petro Sova, and Kateryna Shkola.

The National Academic Theater of Lesya Ukrainka was formed in 1926. It has always been well known because of its talented actors and directors. A large number of plays were produced and performed there, and toured around the world.

Tickets (Free):

THEATRE (English)

The Martyrdom of Peter Ohey
Featuring Matty Robinson, Venice Averyheart, and Dennis Bisto of the Trap Door Theatre (Poland / USA)

WHEN: Sunday, June 19, 2022, at 7:30 PM (EDT)
 JCTC Studios, 165 Newark Avenue, Jersey City (Enter at Barrow Street)

One of Poland’s most celebrated playwrights Slawomir Mrozek wrote this absurdist piece in 1959 as a subtle critique of the political system of the time. Even though Communism has fallen, The Martyrdom of Peter Ohey can still be perceived as commentary on excessive government interference in which a struggle arises between the individual and the presumed rights of society. The performance is followed by a talkback.

According to the plot, a family’s home life turns upside down when a tiger suddenly appears in their bathroom. As more and more absurd characters invade their home (i.e. a scientist, government official, circus manager, and others), the family must decide whether or not to give in and join the circus.

The Martyrdom of Peter Ohey (1959), Poland. Playwright: Slawomir Mrozek. Adapted and directed by: Nicole Wiesner. Associate direction, choreography: Miguel Long. Additional writing: Stanislaw Witkiewitcz, Matty Robinson. Performed by: Trap Door Theatre (Chicago). Cast: Venice Averyheart, Dennis Bisto, Tia Pinson, Matty Robinson, Keith Surney, Bob Wilson, Carl Wisneiwski.

Lighting design: Connor Sale. Set design/photographer: Michael Griggs. Sound design/composer: Danny Rockett. Makeup design: Zsofia Otvos. Costume design: Rachel Sypniewski. Graphic design: Michal Janicki. Videography: Dave Holcombe. Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic. Stage manager: Anna Klos. Production manager: David Lovejoy.

Tickets (Free with $20.00 Suggested Donation):

THEATRE / MULTIMEDIA (Hungarian / English Subtitles)

Hungarian Acacia
Presented by Kristof Kelemen and Bence Gyorgy Palinkas (Hungary)

WHEN: Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 7:30 PM (EDT)
JCTC Studios, 165 Newark Avenue, Jersey City (Enter at Barrow Street)

A re-enactment of societal activities in Hungary, with musical performances and recited political speeches that surround the absurd exploitation of the acacia, an indigenous American tree that became a national and political symbol in Hungary.

Creative team: Kristof Kelemen, Bence Gyorgy Palinkas. Cast: Angela Eke, Katalin Homonnai, Kristof Kelemen, Marton Kristof, Bence Gyorgy Palinkas.

The acacia, an indigenous American tree appropriated as a national symbol in Hungary, has become a subject of contemporary debates concerning politicians’ branding of the tree and distortion of environmental facts. The absurd exploitation of a plant for political means drove Kristof Kelemen and Bence Gyorgy Palinkas to launch a movement aimed at rebranding the acacia into a symbol of an inclusive society. Planting events took place at nationally significant locations in order to promote the liberal ideals of a community. Hungarian Acacia received the Critics Prize at the Theatre Festival Szeged, Hungary (2018).

Tickets (Free with $20.00 Suggested Donation):


Body as a Weapon
Presented by Sandra Kramerova (Slovakia)

WHEN: Friday, June 24, 2022, at 7:30 PM (EDT)
JCTC Studios, 165 Newark Avenue, Jersey City (Enter at Barrow Street)

A dance and multimedia solo performance that examines the cultural and historical context of Eastern European socialist propaganda through the use of the female body as a tool for political domination. Body as a Weapon is an intimate confession expressed through physical movement, text, and video. Body as a Weapon was listed among top 5 performances in 2020 by Het Parool. The performance is followed by a talkback.

Choreography and performance: Sandra Kramerova. Dramaturgy: Freek Duinhof. Music: Denisa Uherova. Video design, visuals: Alvaro Congosto. Lighting design, visual effects: Boaz van den Ban.

Tickets (Free with $20.00 Suggested Donation):

All productions associated with the VOICES International Theatre Festival are free and open to the public. However, online registration through Eventbrite is required at the designated link. To promote the health and safety of the audience, artists, and staff, the JCTC team requires all visitors to wear a face mask inside the establishment at all times. For more information about JCTC, its upcoming events, and charitable partnerships, please visit the following website:

About Jersey City Theater Center

Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about important issues of our times through the arts. Co-founded by Executive Producer Olga Levina, an immigrant from Belarus, Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) produces and presents universal yet locally relevant works, emphasizing social justice and human rights.

Since 2006, JCTC has provided a platform for all artistic voices to be heard. When we share stories through the arts, we spark meaningful dialogue that leads to our ability to build a greater understanding of each other, mutual respect, and better communities together.