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the first human enters a primeval forest, and nature reacts

includes scenes from “Forest Song” by Lesia Ukrainka. translated by Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps, Native American, English & American poetry, plus traditional songs from Ukraine


directed by Virlana Tkacz

movement: Shigeko Sara Suga

costumes: Keiko Obremski

video editing & graphics: Waldemart Klyuzko

video & images: Evgeniy Maloletka & Jim Krantz

singer: Iryna Voloshyna, flute: Ihor Didenchuk

bandura: Julian Kytasty, tylynka: Ostap Kostyuk

translations: Virlana Tkacz, Wanda Phipps & Oksana Batiuk

literary manager: Oksana Lebedivna

casting & coordination: Martin Nikolov

design assistant: Darien Fiorino

sound: Marielle Iljazoski

stage manager: Juni Li


with Sanskar Agarwal, Andrew Colteaux, Darien Fiorino, Silvana Gonzalez, Akiko Hiroshima, Susan Hwang, Tatyana Kot, Martin Nikolov, Masha Pruss, Shigeko Sara Suga,  and Georgia Waehler

August 5, 6 & 7, 2021

La Plaza Cultural Garden 

674 East 9th St at Ave C

New York, NY 10003

program | photos 

Dedicated to Ellen Stewart, the mama of La MaMa and all Yara artists who worked on previous versions. In memory of Genji Ito.

Read fragment from our translation and about Lesia Ukrainka

inspired by Yara's zoom performance "Virtual Forest Song"

     In A Thousand Suns, a new live theatre show by Yara Arts Group, a human enters a primeval forest and nature reacts. Trees are the main characters in the show, which revels in the joy and fertility of spring all the while mourning the loss of generations of knowledge and growth in the fall. A Thousand Suns follows Yara’s style of presenting the story through a diverse cast and multicultural influences. The work, conceived by Virlana Tkacz, interweaves performances in English and Ukrainian, including fragments of a classical verse play by Lesia Ukrainka, with Native American, Canadian, and American poetry. The show will be performed at the La Plaza Cultural Community Garden at 674 E 9th St & Avenue C, New York, NY 10003 on Thursday- Saturday, August 5-7th at 7pm. The shows are free and open to the public.

      Yara Arts Group is a resident company at La MaMa Experimental Theatre. A workshop of the production was presented on zoom as Virtual Forest Song. Previously, Yara created theatre pieces based on Lesia Ukrainka’s play Forest Song include the bilingual Yara’s Forest Song created with the Kurbas Theatre in Lviv and at La MaMa in 1994. In 2013, Yara created the immersive Fire Water Night at La MaMa. This winter, Yara created virtual events about these shows, which can be seen on here

     La Plaza Cultural hosts events which highlight the diverse community of the East Village and allow for artists to express their heritage and belonging to the historic neighborhood, which Yara has been a part of for decades. The outdoor setting of A Thousand Suns will assure a COVID-safe environment and solidify the show’s message about human’s intrinsic connection to nature.

     A Thousand Suns is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Self Reliance (NY) Foundation and contributions from the friends of Yara Arts Group.

Yara’s Theatre Projects: Forest Song

Yara Arts Group from La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York present a series of virtual events on Lesia Ukrainka’s “Forest Song.” In 1993 Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps created an award-winning English translation of the Ukrainian verse play. Yara created several theatre pieces based on this drama. The first was a workshop at La MaMa in 1993. Then there was “Yara’s Forest Song,” a bilingual show at the Kurbas Theatre in Lviv and at La MaMa (1994.) The third was the immersive “Fire Water Night” in 2013.

Now, in June 2021 a preview of Yara's new version "Virtual Forest Song."

Virtual event, "Virtual Forest Song" (2021)             program | video - virtual event

Virtual event on Lesia Ukrainka & "Forest Song"      program | video - virtual event

Virtual event "Yara's Forest Song" Lviv/LaMaMa     program | video - virtual event

Virtual Event "Fire Water Night" (2013) La MaMa  program | video - virtual event

Virtual event on Yara's Three "Forest Songs" (in Ukrainian)     | video - virtual event

Yara's Forest Song workshop (1993) at La MaMa  program | photos

"Yara's Forest Song" (1994) Lviv                          program | photos

"Yara's Forest Song" (1994) LaMama                   program | photos & video

"Fire Water Night" (2013) at La MaMa                program | photos &  video

In February, 2021 Yara launched a new virtual series celebrating our work with Lesia Ukrainka's play "Forest Song" written in 1911. The first part, Yara’s Theatre Projects: “Forest Song,” included a short introduction to Lesia Ukrainka’s work. Then Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps talk about their translation, and discuss the show with designer Watoku Ueno and actress Shona Tucker, who took part in the first reading of the play. They were joined by Jude Domski and Kateryna Slipchenko, who served as literary managers in New York and Lviv, as well as Ukrainian translator Oksana Batiuk, who was at the first rehearsals in New York in 1993. Together, they discussed how Ukrainka’s text transformed into “Yara’s Forest Song.”

For the second part of Yara’s Theatre Projects: “Yara’s Forest Song” director Virlana Tkacz showed photographs and video from “Yara’s Forest Song” in Lviv and at La MaMa in New York in 1994. She talked to the actors from Yara and the Les Kurbas Theatre in Lviv who worked on the bilingual production.

Part three was about Yara’s immersive theatre piece “Fire Water Night” which performed at La MaMa in 2013 and used parts of “Forest Song” as text. Director Virlana Tkacz showed photographs and video clips and then talked to designers Waldemart Klyuzko and Zhenya Kopiov about how space was used in the production. Costume designer Keiko Obremski and choreographer Shigeko Suga talked about their work. Then they were joined by actors Jeremy Tardy, Jenny Leona, Marina Celander, Yarko Dobriansky, Akiko Hiroshima, Tamar Ilana, J. Moliere and Masha Pruss. 

In "Yara's Three Forest Songs" director Virlana Tkacz speaks in Ukrainian about these three productions, showing photographs and video clips from the shows.

“Yara’s Theatre Projects ” virtual events are all free and can be viewed at an time on They are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, Self-Reliance (NY) FCU and friends of Yara Arts Group.

Forest Song Projects
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