WE: media theater, UKRAINE, SLOVAKIA
Maria Yasinska, Sashko Brama, Liuda Batalova
The Chronicles of War, Hatred and Love
directed by: Sashko Brama, Maria Yasinska
What is the role of an artist in time of war? What are his or her options for interaction and response to this situation?
Right after the outbreak of the war, the WE: media theater collective began documenting war events and collecting witness testimonies. The Association Divadelná Nitra was at the onset of the project, when it invited the director Sashko Brama to the Festival. This is how the Chronicles of War, Hatred and Love project was born, an artistic record of the drama in Ukraine today. Reports from different cities and towns are based on the need for artists not to be passive and to respond to the war. At Divadelná Nitra, the project will be shown as a performative presentation that combines and confronts two levels of the documentary: the reality of war as a question and the documentary filmmakers’ inner response. Film footage of the war, its consequences and interviews with eyewitnesses will be combined on stage with the testimonies by the documentary filmmakers and. What is the role of an artist in time of war? What are his or her options for interaction and response to this situation? How much time and space should there be between research and the final work of art? Is it possible to distance myself from the horrors of war by placing the camera between myself and the suffering I witness?
After the launch of russia’s war against Ukraine, the group WE: media theatre – Sashko Brama, Maria Yasinska and Liuda Batalova, which until then focused on contemporary theatre practices on a documentary basis, plunged into documenting the war and collecting testimonies. Thus, the Chronicles of War, Hatred and Love project emerged to record the history of the drama in Ukraine through the testimonies of different people. 
In the first months of the escalation of the conflict, our group felt the inexorable need to quickly capture and respond to the war in Ukraine. Artistic reports from different towns and villages set the form. Thus began the journey through Ukraine from the Polish border with miles-long crowds of Ukrainian refugees to the grey zones in the east, with daily armed conflicts. The reports were disseminated on the WE: media theatre channel on YouTube, as well as through Ukrainian and international partner media (State Citizen Television in Ukraine, Polish media OKO.Press and Taiwanese television mNews).
Yet, a lot of stories, images, thoughts and personal experiences of the documentary artists themselves were left somewhere behind the reports. There was either no time to elaborate some matters, or the media had to be silent about some issues. The next step for artists was therefore to understand how the war affected them personally. Chronicle of War, Hatred and Love is a performative presentation of the project that simultaneously combines and contrasts two levels of documents: the external reality of war and the internal response of the documentary artists to the war. Audio-visual documentary footage of the war and its consequences in Ukraine, interviews with its witnesses will be combined with the testimonies and notes of the group of creative artists.
The performative presentation The Chronicles of War, Hatred and Love explores the question of the role of theatre artists in times of war, and the prospect of their cooperation in the current situation. How big must be the distance in time and space (even if there is no space for distance now) between research and stage work? The project reflects the traumatic effect of artistic research on a situation that directly concerns us. Is it possible to fully distance ourselves from the horrors of war by placing the camera between us and the suffering we witness? At certain points, some members of the team went abroad, while others did not want to or could not travel. They travelled to different corners of Ukraine and tried to capture the stories. They distanced themselves because of the war through the subject they themselves work with. How can they now talk about these different experiences and perspectives on war?
Sashko Brama, Maria Yasinska, Liuda Batalova, authors of the project The Chronicles of War, Hatred and Love
 The authors deliberately write the name of the country with a small initial letter.
 The Association Divadelná Nitra stood at the birth of this project when it approached Sashko Brama for cooperation. The Ukrainian independent theatre activist, stage director, screenwriter and playwright already featured in the main programme at Divadelná Nitra in 2015 with R+J, a socio-politically appealing production.
concept: Max Schumacher, Sashko Brama
dramaturgy and text: Maria Yasinska, Sashko Brama, Liuda Batalova
produced by: Maria Yasinska, Sashko Brama
directed by: Sashko Brama, Maria Yasinska
shot and edited by: Sashko Brama
correspondents: Maria Yasinska, Sashko Brama, Liuda Batalova, Maria Shevchenko
researcher and director´s assistant: Liuda Batalova
editor: Maria Yasinska
project manager: Liuda Batalova
consultant, theatre analytic: Max Schumacher
translation: Irina Stepanyak
subtitles: Volodymyr Palianychka, Liuda Batalova
transport: Max Kilimnyk
main support: Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The performance was created within the European project Be SpectACTive!
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by the Slovak Arts Council, the Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors’ society
WE: media theatre (МИ: медіа театр) is an independent theatre group founded in 2021 by Sashko Brama, Maria Yasinska and Liuda Batalova. The group engages in pressing social themes and issues concerning Ukrainian society. The group aims to document historical processes through personal stories of contemporaries and their artistic grasp at the border of post-documentary theatre, video storytelling and visual disciplines.
Sashko Brama (1988) comes from northern Ukraine. He is an independent theatre-maker, playwright and director, co-founder of the theatre WE: media theatre that makes experimental theatre on a documentary basis. In recent years, Mr Brama has also been working on a documentary film, reporting on the social effects of the pandemic and currently on the consequences of the war in Ukraine. He presented his theatre projects at a number of international festivals, such as the 2019 Theatertreffen in Berlin.
Maria Yasinska (1981) is an essayist, documentary maker, producer and manager of cultural projects. She is also translator from Polish. Ms Yasinska completed her studies in theatre theory and criticism at The Ivan Karpenko-Karé Kyiv National University of Theatre, Film and Television. She collaborated with distinguished Ukrainian and Polish theatres and festivals (e.g. Dach Contemporary Art Centre, Majsterňa Pisni Creative Research Centre, Konfrontacje Teatralne festival). She published in periodicals, such as Prosceanium or Notatnik Teatralny.
Liuda Batalova (1999) comes from western Ukraine and graduated from the Ukrainian Catholic University in cultural studies. She is a cultural and theatre manager, researcher, dramaturge, stage director. She is also the editor of specialist articles on culture, theatre, architecture and sculpture. Ms Batalova collaborated on projects and with institutions such as Media Archive Centre of Urban History, Tustan festival, Fall on Pluto 2.0, PinselAr.