Counting Sheep

Mark and Marichka Marczyk Toronto

January 31, 2019

Review: Counting Sheep at the Vaults

The words “immersive Ukrainian folk opera” don’t normally get my pulse racing, not even if they come with the words “award-winning” attached. In the case of this little beauty, the winner of a Fringe First when it appeared in Edinburgh in 2016, I’m thrilled to make a big exception. Especially since words such as “vivid”, “amusing”, “surprising” and “heartfelt” also spring to mind.

This is a show by the Canadian Mark Marczyk and his Ukrainian wife, Marichka, about how they met and fell in love on the barricades of Maidan Square in Kiev in 2014. “It’s going to be a riot,” we’re told at the start by Mark, a writer and musician, who went to the city to explore his Ukrainian heritage. He met Marichka, an ethnomusicologist and singer, as order descended into oppression and revolution.

It takes until the end of these 90 minutes for us to get a lucid political overview of what happened in Ukraine, projected on to the walls of the venue. That’s all part of the plan, though. Counting Sheep, in a new version directed and co-written by Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin of Belarus Free Theatre, takes seriously the “immersive” part of its brief. At the start we sit around a long table, sharing borscht, beguiled by singing and storytelling. You don’t have to participate — there is cheaper raked seating at each end of the room — but if you’re able-bodied, you should.

Read the full article: The Times of London

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