Our performance is about women and war. About defense mechanisms and responsibility.About our reaction to a war in Europe. About the rituals of wartime violence against women and civilians which are unchanging.”

The wartime rituals of violence against women are unchanging. War asks Europe the ultimate questions: about responsibility in the face of danger, and about our defense mechanisms. Out of the testimonies of mothers and children—Ukrainians, Belarusians and Poles: those who have fled war; those who have fled persecution; and, finally, those who have welcomed them in Polish homes—Marta Górnicka, director, initiator of the CHORUS OF WOMEN and the founder of the Political Voice Institute at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, creates a choral performance with her cast.

The cast comprises 21 Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian women aged 9 to 72, each with her unique political experience and a different life story; some are survivors from Mariupol, Kyiv, Irpin and Kharkiv. This CHORUS OF MOTHERS FOR WARTIME seeks a new post-operatic choral voice that draws from the female chori of the seventh century BC.

They mix Ukrainian nursery rhymes, traditional songs, incantations and political statements.

The performance For Wartime opens with a shchedrivka (Ukr. щедрівка) – a traditional Ukrainian song, a well-wish for happiness and rebirth. These date back to pre-Christian times and are likely thousands of years old. The ritual of singing a shchedrivka was performed by women only, or by women and children. It was always addressed to a particular person. People believed in the power of the song, trusting that its words and the well-wishes would surely come true. Today, these sung wishes are addressed to all people, for a new time; for their entire life.

“In the past, the CHORUS was supposed to sanctify the uniqueness of life and serve a rebirth, a recovery. It was the opposing force to ANNIHILATION. Our performance draws on that force.” Marta Górnicka

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