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Diary of War: Mariupol

A documentary theatre piece based on diaries by people in Mariupol in February 2022

during the siege of the city in the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

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Daria Kolomiec, a Ukrainian DJ and app creator, personally experienced the first bombing of Kyiv and began recording voice notes that would become her “Diary of War” podcast, which documents the impact of war on Ukrainians in various parts of the country.

Virlana asked Daria if there were any diaries from Mariupol. There were four, all contemporaneous with the photographs in the exhibit. Virlana then translated two of the diaries into English, edited and interwove them. Yara Arts Group actors read them during the “Mariupol” exhibition.

Since, Virlana has translated all four diaries, including those by Yaroslav Semenenko, a member of the Ukrainian National Paralympic swim team, Yevhenia Ivanchenko, a captain in the Mariupol Police, Olena Nikulina, from an old Mariupol family, married to a soldier in the Azov Battalion, and Valeria Mykhailovska, who on February 24, 2022 was working in the Czeck Republic and decided to return to
Mariupol to rescue her mother. Virlana interwoven the diaries, adding several poems by Serhiy Zhadan.

Diary of War: Mariupol was read at La MaMa Umbria in early August. Now, Yara actors are working on the material and hope to have readings during the “Mariupol,” exhibitions at Princeton this fall.

Photos of first reading of Dairy of War: Mariupol at Howl Arts, November 2022. Photos by Pavlo Terekhov

In November 2022, Virlana Tkacz, the director of Yara Arts Group, organized “Mariupol,” an exhibition of photographs by Evgeniy Maloletka and Mstyslav Chernov, Ukrainian photographers who worked for AP and were the only journalists in Mariupol with international connections when Russia started its full-scale assault on the port city.

Evgeniy photos were on the front pages of newspapers throughout the world and documented Russia’s relentless attacks and Ukraine’s fierce resistance. The Mariupol AP team would go on to receive many awards, including the Knight International Journalism Award, World Press Photo of the Year and two Pulitzer Prizes.

Photos of Evgeniy Maloletka and Mariupol photo exhibit by Pavlo Terekhov

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