KHARKIV CALLING (English version)

by Costa Compagnie

English / engl. + germ. + ukrain subtitles

What to do when your own country is under attack? Costa Compagnie interviewed four women in Eastern Ukraine who volunteered for armed combat in 2022. They include human rights lawyer Zhenya, who is now a drone pilot in a reconnaissance unit, and documentary film director Helena, who is now a medic in a combat unit. A cinematic essay brings the conversations with these women from the frontline onto the stage. Here they are placed alongside a young Ukrainian actress whose path led her in a different direction, into exile in Berlin. On this journey she is confronted with questions about her homeland, her family and her coming-out.

Exactly two years after the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, KHARKIV CALLING takes a look at the different lives of strong, emancipated women and their convictions against the Russian autocratic system that recently had the LGBTQIA+ movement categorized as extremist in December 2023. What values and systems are being defended in Ukraine beyond one's own life and country? Would you risk your life to fight for democracy and freedom? How does it feel to perform a theater monologue about these questions 2,000 km away in Berlin, while friends and colleagues at home are involved in acts of war?

In KHARKIV CALLING, the only 20-year-old actress Anna Mrachkovska confronts us and herself with these radical times we live in, with the German history in Ukraine and with questions about the future. The solo combines a gripping personal story, exclusive video footage and dance into a stage event that allows the dilemma and disaster of war to be experienced through real lives.

"They are empathetic, precise depictions of a life in an everyday state of emergency. (...) The women speak directly and at the same time the quiet films, which last several minutes, leave room for ambivalence."
Berliner Morgenpost, Tourette's and the daily routine of war at the Monologfestiva, Elena Philipp, 10.11.2023

"Costa Compagnie (...) interviewed (...) four Ukrainian women who went to the frontline in August 2022. (...) The young actress Anna Mrachkovska (...) talks about her remorse at having left the country (and) provides a very brittle, fragile and sometimes contradictory framing of the interviews. But it is precisely this fragility that is a strength. It creates closeness and opens up a view of the consequences of war beyond the headlines, grand narratives and shock-inducing images."
taz.die tageszeitung, Women at the Front (Tom Mustroph on "Kharkiv Calling") 13.11.2023

"this work also opens an idea of the different life decisions that can be made in war - and thus enables a further encounter with the "other". ...a weighty subject, ... and interesting video footage."
nachtkritik, Monologfestival

Audience discussion
following each performance

Trigger warning: Description of acts of war in images, text and sound