The Clear Blue Skies: Diaries from Ukraine
May 3, 2023
Actors Mike Magliocca, Kyle Cameron, Raquel Chavez, Alexandra Templer Waldon, Masha Makutonina, and Jennifer Mogbock performed the new theater project The Clear Blue Skies: Diaries from Ukraine, created by Scott Illingworth and Oleksandra Oliinyk.
Within days of the start of the war in 2022, a group of Ukrainian children and teenagers began recording interviews and audio diaries in English to share their stories with the world. They have become a remarkable chronicle of young people plunged into war and crisis—from becoming refugees across Europe to living under Russian occupation and recording from behind enemy lines.
The Clear Blue Skies uses excerpts from these gripping recordings, listened to live by actors on stage and performed using a real-time in-ear verbatim technique. The result is an urgent and intimate transmission about the trauma of war and the resilience and humor of young people in the digital age facing an unknown future for their country.
The evening included a performance followed by a discussion with policy experts about the current war in Ukraine.
Content Warning: Tonight's performance contained descriptions of and references to violence, war crimes, and sexual assault.
The Honorable David Bonior, Professor, Wayne State University (Introduction)
A former leader for the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Bonior was elected to Congress in 1976 after spending four years in the House of the Michigan Legislature. As the Democratic Whip, eleven years, he was a leading voice for progressive values. He spent 26 years in the U.S. House representing a district just north of Detroit which included Macomb and St. Clair counties.
Mr. Bonior is of Ukrainian and Polish ancestry. His academic degrees at the University of Iowa and Chapman University centered on politics and history, specifically, around Ukraine, Poland, and Russia.
Congressman Bonior is the author of six books including a recent novel entitled When Mercy Seasons Justice: Pope Francis and a Story of Migration (2021)
David and Judy Bonior have been married for 32 years and have a combined family of three children and eight grandchildren. They reside in Washington, DC and Port Republic, Maryland.
He has recently returned from a two week tour through Poland and Ukraine bearing witness to the stories of Ukrainian refugees and their caregivers.
Gillian Huebner, Executive Director, Collaborative on Global Children's Issues, Georgetown University
Huebner's work has focused on supporting the development, strengthening, and coordination of programs and systems to enhance community-based and nationally-owned approaches to building young people’s resilience and supporting children at risk. She has done this work at home and abroad with the UN, the U.S. government, private foundations, multiple non-governmental organizations, and as an independent consultant. Huebner convened the Innovating Protection for Children on the Move Across the Americas forum, which was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, Institute for the Study of International Migration, and Georgetown Americas Institute, in coordination with strategic partners. Huebner is a member of the Collaborative Design Team for Faith and the Family, a forum convened by Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues and Catholic Relief Services.
Ambassador William B. Taylor, Vice President, Europe and Russia, U.S. Institute of Peace
Ambassador William B. Taylor is vice president, Europe and Russia at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In 2019, he served as chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv and as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. During the Arab Spring, he oversaw U.S. assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. He served in Jerusalem as the U.S. government's representative to the Mideast Quartet. He served in Kabul in 2002 and in Baghdad in 2004.
In the 1990s, Ambassador Taylor coordinated U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.
Ambassador Taylor is a graduate of West Point and Harvard’s Kennedy School and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.
Katya Pavlevych, "Where Are Our People?" Razom for Ukraine
Where Are Our People?, Razom for Ukraine
Katya Pavlevych is a US-based advocate of the return of deported Ukrainians. After the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Katya joined the Ukrainian PR Army as a volunteer. Since October 2022 she joined an initiative by PR Army — Where Are Our People? dedicated to exposing the deportation of Ukrainians to Russia. She is also a policy advisor on child deportation issues at Razom for Ukraine. She holds a master’s degree from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Institute of international Relations. With six years in PR, she previously provided comms services to tech-related clients focussed on Ukraine and the US market.
Michael Feldman, Founder, Theater and Policy Salon (Moderator)
As the Theater and Policy Salon’s founder and a consultant in cultural diplomacy, Michael serves as a dramaturg and advisor for scripts and theater projects dealing with policy, cross-cultural, and global issues. Michael also serves as a judge for the Helen Hayes theater awards for the Washington region.
Awarded three D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowships and funded as a HumanitiesDC curator and project director, Michael works with Washington, DC area theaters and arts institutions, communities, and Embassies to organize theater and arts events that inspire action on local and global real world issues. The Theater and Policy Salon has partnered on Salons with NYU DC in collaboration with Mosaic, Shakespeare Theater Companies (STC) as well as Ford’s Theatre. Prior to the Salon’s 2018 launch, Michael conceived and curated the Talk Tank series for Forum Theater's 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons. Michael served as an Editorial Team Member at Createquity - a virtual arts policy think tank and online publication - through its sunset in 2017.
Earlier in his career, Michael served as a director at PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He served as professional staff on the Budget Committee of the U.S. Senate as part of a fellowship with the American Political Science Association. As a U.S. diplomat and cultural attaché, Michael served in Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and the DRC as well as working on Central Africa, Brazil, Balkans, and European Union issues at the U.S. Department of State. Michael graduated from Wesleyan University and speaks German, Czech, French and Italian.
Scott Illingworth (Co-Creator)
SCOTT ILLINGWORTH (Co-Creator) Directing credits include off-Broadway, regional, and international work including new play collaborations with Lucas Hnath, Mona Mansour, Christina Anderson, Keith Reddin, and Bill Bowers. His work has been seen across the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. Scott is the co-founder of SOCIETY Theatre Collective, the author of Exercises for Embodied Actors: Tools for Physical Actioning, and a Fulbright grant recipient. He is an Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Acting Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Kyle Cameron (Actor)
KYLE CAMERON (Actor) NYC: By the Water (MTC), Chains (Mint Theater), Pushkin (american vicarious). Proud member of the 52nd Street Project. Regional: SF Playhouse (Significant Other, Theatre Bay Area & SF Critics Circle Award Nominee; Trouble Cometh, world premiere), Denver Center (Anna Karenina, Henry Award Nominee), Studio Theatre, DC (The Hard Problem), City Theatre, Pittsburgh (The White Chip). International: three tours with Green Thumb Theatre (CRANKED, Dora Mavor Moore Award, world premiere), Arts Club (Vancouver), The Belfry (Victoria). Film: Vampire (Sundance). TV: “Law & Order: SVU”, “The Blacklist”, “Orange is the New Black”, “The Lottery”, “Murdoch Mysteries”. Training: NYU Grad Acting.
Mikel Magliocca (Actor)
MIKE MAGLIOCCA (Actor) is an actor, fight director, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. Acting credits include Shakespeare Theatre NJ, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Pittsburgh Public Theatre. MFA: Brooklyn College. Thanks and love to Scott, the whole team, Amaia, and Roxie. mikemagliocca.com
Jennifer Mogbock (Actor)
JENNIFER MOGBOCK (Actor) is a proud immigrant born in Nigeria and raised in Argentina, Texas and Canada. She is a Bilingual (English and Spanish) actor, collaborator, writer, and theatre educator currently based in New York City. Jennifer is a recent graduate of the NYU Graduate Acting program, Class of 2021. Recent credits include: The Good Fight (Paramount +), Merry Wives (Public Theatre), Golden City (Marvel/ Disney +), Lady In The Lake starring Natalie Portman (Apple TV). Jennifer’s ambition is to perform and create stories about differences: to explore race, culture, and the complexities of how we self identify. But most importantly, her biggest dream is to provide genuine representation for little brown skin girls. When Jennifer isn’t working, she spends her free time baking, FaceTiming her family, and traveling the world.
Oleksandra Oliinyk (Co-Creator)
OLEKSANDRA [Alex] OLIINYK (Co-Creator) is the founder, director, and teacher at Actors Lab Ukraine. She teaches acting and movement to both children and adults. Her special interest is working and creating with teenagers. Oleksandra was previously a professor at Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Karyi Theatre, Cinema and Television University and did research as a Fulbright grant recipient at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. As an actress she has worked in theatres throughout Ukraine and performed in international projects at LaMama, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego.
Raquel Chavez (Actor)
RAQUEL CHAVEZ (Actor) [she/they] is an actor & director based in Brooklyn via the Bay Area. Recent credits include Epiphany at Lincoln Center, and reupholstering & directing Measure for Measure for Smith Street Stage this past fall. TV: “The Good Fight”, “Law & Order: SVU”. BA Columbia University in Race & Ethnicity Studies, MFA NYU Grad Acting. Aspiring accordionist, please advise. Vaya con Todd.
Masha Makutonina (Actor)
MASHA MAKUTONINA (Actor) is a Ukrainian film and theatre director, producer, and editor living in New York by way of Wales, Paris and Vermont. Currently Masha is an assistant producer on the hit-podcast Masters of Scale and in the thick of directing a play for a Global Forms Theatre Festival with Rattlestick.
Alexandra Templer (Actor)
ALEXANDRA TEMPLER (Actor) is an actress known for When They See Us (Netflix), Evil (Paramount+), We Crashed (Apple TV+), and What Doesn't Float. Alexandra is a founding member of Society Theater Company in New York and has worked regionally and off broadway since graduating from NYU Grad Acting in 2018.
This program is supported by a grant from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. This performance was also made possible with support from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Dean Allyson Green, the Tisch Initiative for Creative Research, and support extended by the Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost.