Nine Ukrainian children have made their way to Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, to perform the play ‘Mom on Skype’ to raise money for the Ukrainian military as they continue defending their country in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion. According to the Brooklyn Paper, the children are part of a theater group that was performing in a bomb shelter in Lviv just two months into the war. The director of the play, Oleg Oneshcak, explained that upon the offer to perform in Brooklyn, he seized the opportunity to tell the story of Ukrainian orphans to people around the world, ensuring that the heartbreaking situation in Ukraine is not forgotten.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, the play was developed before the war and “tells the true stories of Ukrainian ‘social orphans,’ left without parents not by death, but by other forces.” The stories of ‘Mom on Skype’ are true as they are based on those from the children themselves, including some about mothers who had to leave their children for work. Although most of the stories do not have happy endings, the last story in the play features a mother returning to her child.
In order to bring the production to Brooklyn, Oneshcak had to raise money and get through the obstacles traveling in wartime to make it there. The theater troupe eventually made their way first to Connecticut where they enjoyed music and made new friends at a sleepaway camp. The experience was refreshing for the children who had just faced the trauma of war and displacement as they spent time with American children teaching them songs and phrases in Ukraine.
Oneshcak shared that while the army is fighting for their country and for lives in Ukraine, it is important that there are also people who will go abroad to tell everyone what is happening. Raising awareness of the dire circumstances in Ukraine is an essential part of garnering financial support that will help the soldiers in their battles. As time goes on, it is important to remember that the needs of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military have not ceased, and these young performers are doing their part to raise money for their country and for their heroes. ‘Mom on Skype’ will be performed at The Space at Irondale on August 13 and 14.