On Saturday afternoon we were invited to join the children for the performance of Lisova Pisnya, translated from Ukrainian into English as The Song of the Forest. Local elementary and high school students starred in this performance at the Makeevka Theater.
As we gathered in front of the theater a lady emerged and was introduced to us. She began to talk exuberantly in Russian and was so delighted that we were there. One of the teen boys, almost 15 year old Sasha, has been hosted in America twice and knows quite alot of English. Our facilitator left on Friday for a few days at home so he was serving as our translator. He is a wonderful boy with such an humble spirit who tries so hard to translate well and she was talking so fast he was getting obviously overwhelmed trying to get a chance to translate for us. They ushered us in the front door and we were met by the 3 cast members above who immediately launched into a formal welcome, first in their native language and then immediately the boy in the center translated it into perfect English. Whew!! They were offering us a loaf of bread symbolic of friendship and wishes for good health.
We were totally unprepared for this spotlight!! We eyed each other quizzically, uncertain what we were to do. I quietly asked Sasha, “are they offering us the whole loaf or are we to break off a small piece?” His meek response was priceless. “i don’t know…” Bless his heart, as an orphan he had likely never been front and center of such a presentation before. We erred on the side of caution and broke off a small piece to taste and they instantly beamed and proclaimed, “Now we are friends!!” Yes, now we are friends!!! They were so kind and even sent cast members to sit with us to translate the entire play. So gracious.
The play was excellent. It was a love story complete with beautiful costumes, dancing and traditional Ukrainian songs.
The story features a mystical immortal creature from the forest, Mufka, who falls in love with a human man. His mother disapproved and he married the woman of his mother’s choosing. His mother was critical of her also and he realized his mistake and apologized to Mufka. We learned that love stories and critical mothers are universal!!
It was great fun to see the three rows of children in front of us come alive for this dance!!