Inspired by personal accounts from war-torn Ukraine in 1944 and true stories from the country’s current conflict.
After generations of conflict, a new crisis opens old wounds.
[Barvinok] packs a punch. – Amy Strizic, My Entertainment World
Hania’s Baba has a secret. A secret she’s bringing with her to her grave.
Since moving into the Long-Term Care Centre, Hania’s grandmother has been restless. Agitated. Something from her past is haunting her. Desperately, she urges Hania to return to their Ukrainian homeland to seek out a missing piece of their family history.
Hania’s search for answers brings her to the edge of the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. Through internet-enabled networks, Hania is connected to Pavlo and Misha, two late-20s war veterans, who agree to help her navigate the wartorn countryside. It is when Hania finally finds long lost family that she must confront the truth about Baba’s dark past, and repair the wounds with her only remaining family on the other side of the world.
Barvinok tells a personal story of war and and intergenerational trauma. It offers a rare window into the human stories behind the unimaginable experience of war, both past and present.
Makuch, Lundeen and MacKenzie have done a remarkable job of creating a theatrical experience that ties together a heritage journey with thoughtful commentary on a place tragically caught up in cycles of oppression and violence. – Karen Fricker, Toronto Star
The play is inspired by the experiences of the playwright’s grandparents who fled Ukraine during WWII, and the true accounts of people interviewed in conflict zones in Eastern Ukraine. In October 2017, Pyretic Productions travelled to Ukraine and ventured within just 5km of the frontline where they interviewed dozens of people affected by the ongoing war.
Barvinok depicts the struggles of the Ukrainian people against the atrocities of Stalin to the horrors of Hitler, while drawing disturbing parallels to the current Putin regime. It gives voice to the people whose lives have been affected by Russian aggression, which prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, had killed more than 10,000 people, and displaced millions. Now, the unprovoked and unjustified attack has seen even greater devastation throughout Ukraine.
Barvinok is currently being adapted into a feature length screenplay with the generous support of the REACH Award from the Shevchenko Foundation.
Tightly written, beautifully designed, skillfully performed. It’s well worth your time to pick up the pieces.
– Ilana Lucas, Mooney on Theatre.
Stay tuned for more information on our Canadian National tour.
March 7 – 16, 2019
Tarragon Theatre’s Extraspace
In March 2019, Barvinok, formerly titled Blood of Our Soil, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre, receiving high acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The majority of performances sold out days in advance, and we received standing ovations and emotional responses from our audiences.
The Toronto premiere was generously supported by:
Canada Council for the Arts, Shevchenko Foundation of Canada War Veterans Fund, Temerty Foundation, BCU Foundation, Huculak Foundation, SUS Foundation, Ukrainian Credit Union, Franko Family Foundation, Prometheus Stefan Onyszczuk and Stefania Szwed Foundation, Olzhych Foundation, Ukrainian Pioneers Association of Alberta, Alberta Ukrainian Commemorative Society, and St. Vladimir’s Institute.
Written by Lianna Makuch || Direction by Patrick Lundeen || Dramaturgy by Matthew MacKenzie || Stage Management by Lore Green || Production Design by Stephanie Bahniuk || Sound & Projection Design by Nicholas Mayne || Music Direction by Larissa Pohoreski || Production Management by Trent Crosby || Featuring Oscar Derkx, Mawell Lebeuf, Lisa Norton, Lianna Makuch, Tanya Pacholok, Larissa Pohoreski
March 1 – 10, 2018
Westbury Theatre at the Fringe Theatre Adventures
In March 2018, Pyretic Productions and St. John’s institute presented the first iteration of Barvinok in Edmonton. The performance was received with high acclaim from Edmonton’s Ukrainian community, arts community, and media. The production sold out and garnered four Sterling nominations including best new play and independent production.
Written by Lianna Makuch || Direction by Patrick Lundeen || Dramaturgy by Matthew MacKenzie || Stage Management by Lore Green || Production Design by Stephanie Bahniuk || Sound & Projection Design by Nicholas Mayne || Music Direction by Larissa Pohoreski || Production Management by Trent Crosby || Featuring Oscar Derkx, Mawell Lebeuf, Julia Guy, Lianna Makuch, Tanya Pacholok, Larissa Pohoreski
The Edmonton premiere was generously supported by:
Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Community Initiatives Program, The Edmonton Community Foundation, The Shevchenko Foundation, Ukrainian Pioneers Association of Alberta, Alberta Ukrainian Commemorative Society.
Accolades for Barvinok
ACUA-URDC Award 2018 (Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts – Ukrainian Research and Development Centre)
Rena Hanchuk & Yaroslav Kitynskyy Artist Award 2018
Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards: Nominated in four categories
• Outstanding Independent Production
• Outstanding New Play
• Outstanding Multi-Media Design
• Outstanding Score of a Play or Musical
“[Barvinok] is the most powerful presentation that I have seen of the long history of travesties that the people of Ukraine have suffered from the time of Stalin through Hitler and now under Putin.”
– Linda Duncan, MP Edmonton-Strathcona, House of Commons March 20,2017
Development In Ukraine
Pyretic Productions first travelled to Ukraine on a self-funded, 3-week research trip in October 2017. Here we interviewed over 40 individuals impacted by Ukraine’s ongoing war. We travelled all over the country, including areas in Eastern Ukraine impacted by the ongoing war and within 5km of the front line. We interviewed over 40 individuals impacted by Ukraine’s ongoing conflict. Many people thanked us for “not forgetting them” and for sharing their experiences with Canadians. The people we met and the interviews we recorded, inspired content and characters for the play.
This trip is documented on an online blog here: https://bloodofoursoil.wordpress.com/
Pyretic Productions then travelled to back to Kyiv in October 2018 on an exciting creative cultural exchange with the Ukrainian theatre company, Wild Theatre. Here, we continued the development of our new script, Barvinok by Lianna Makuch, and presented a staged reading to a sold out audience of Ukrainian artists, veterans, social activists, and the general public.