Balaklava Blues, a music and multimedia experience exploring post-traumatic stress and attempts to move forward, is playing alongside its immersive predecessor Counting Sheep at this year’s VAULT Festival. Both shows created by Mark and Marichka Marczyk run at the Waterloo venue until 17 March 2019. Book your tickets for both now!
Five-star show Counting Sheep was created as a response to the Marczyk’s experiences of the 2014 Kiev Uprising. Described as a Guerilla Folk Opera, it places audiences at the heart of the 2014 protests, where they can sing, march, protest, dance, eat, help, recoil, fight, laugh and cry. Audiences can choose to be part of the protest – and take on everything that might entail – or observe the action from the gallery above.
During its run at the Edinburgh Festival, Counting Sheep was described by Ed Fest Magazine as, “A theatre adventure that really gets under your skin.” It has also been called “Everything theatre should be and more” by Broadway Baby.
Speaking about the production, Natalia Kaliada, Co-Artistic Director of the Belarus Free Theatre said:
“Given what is happening in the UK with Brexit, especially in these last few months, it is important to remind all of us that, in Ukraine, people were being jailed and killed for their dreams of being part of the European family, just as they did in Belarus, where we protested under European Union flags at great personal risk.
“Counting Sheep gives one-thousand-year-old songs a contemporary twist, intersperses them with incredible storytelling, and puts it all together in a theatrical framework that reminds us not to take our freedoms for granted. Counting Sheep is urgent, essential theatre.”
Balaklava Blues is more of a meditation on how the Marczyks coped with what the saw, experienced and endured during those uprisings. It blends live ethno-bass with documentary footage, Soviet cartoons and samples of the polyphonic blues of the Ukrainian plains. CBC Arts described the production as: “An earnest and engaging reflection on post-traumatic stress and the attempts we make to move forward.”
Both productions have been created by Mark and Marichka Marczyk who actually met and fell in love during the Revolution of Dignity. They travelled across the Ukraine, volunteering, performing and documenting their experiences. They also perform together in Lemon Bucket Orchestra, a balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super-band.
They were joined by Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, founders and Artistic Directors of Belarus Free Theatre to create this production of Counting Sheep. Belarus Free Theatre have their own experiences of uprising and persecution. The company was founded in Minsk in 2005 under Europe’s final surviving dictatorship. Their very existence is against the law in their home country, which only allows state-sanctioned theatre.
In addition to being immersed in Counting Sheep and letting the music and multimedia of Balaklava Blues envelop you, you can also take part in a fantastic post-show Q&A with creators Mark and Marichka Marczyk. The event, led by Terri Paddock, will take place after the 7pm performance on 6 February.
As part of the 2019 Vault Festival, Balaklava Blues and Counting Sheep run until 17 March at The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN. Performances of Balaklava Blues run on Fridays and Saturdays at 9.30pm. Performances of Counting Sheep run on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm, with Thursday performances at 6.30pm and 9.30pm and matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets for Balaklava Blues are priced £15, tickets for Counting Sheep are from £26.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!