In 1858 the Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, was set free after 10 years’ imprisonment. He met the great African American actor Ira Aldridge and drew his portrait. Yara Arts Group started working on Dark Night Bright Stars in the spring of 2014. The US Embassy brought the project to Odessa, Ukraine during Taras Shevchenko’s anniversary celebrations where it performed several days before the tragic fire in the city. The show also traveled to Lviv and Kiev, which were on high alert.
Dark Nights Bright Stars is performed in English
Yara Arts Group (Est. 1990) is a resident company at La MaMa , the acclaimed experimental theater in New York. We are a collective of artists of Asian, African, Latino, Eastern and Western European ancestry , who come together to create original work on Eastern themes. Our efforts are collaborative : we bring together fragments of plays .poems, songs, myths and historical sources to create original work that is reflective of culture we explore . Yara artists and our colleagues from abroad contribute stories from their diverse background: what follows is a layering of languages and music rhythms and textures that are unique an in origin but alike in their impact on the human soul. This is the foundation of our belief that theater can communicate with everyone in the world. We strive to create new theatrical pieces that are infused with traditional materials .We have created 32 theater pieces based on extensive research in Eastern Europe , Siberia and Asia . We have collaborated with internal artists (premiere actors , musicians , dancers and story tellers ) who don’t only have contributed their specific expertise but also have facilitated are understanding of the complexities of the local culture .Together we create theater pieces in Yara’s signature style of multilingual dialogue and songs supported by evocative visuals and documentation.
Find out more on their website: www.brama.com/yara
“‘Dark Night, Bright Stars’ is one of those pleasant surprises that comes around every now and again. It’s a play that actively distances itself from traditional forms of storytelling and instead communicates its messages through fragments of memories and poetry readings.”