Moira Begale as Anna, Katherine Bourne as Nadya

Brittany Ellis as Yasia

Christine Vrem-Ydstie as Iryna

Catherine Dvorak as Halka; Brittany Ellis as Yasia

Moira Begale as Anna

Photos by Matthew Freer


…Anna, played with steely determination and compassion by Moira Begale…Christine Vrem-Ydstie captures both the ferocity and the vulnerability of her character in equally frightening measure…Dvorak lends a clear-eyed hardness to Halka…Katherine Bourne captures the idealism of her character when she enters—one genuinely believes she believes she is there to help…the story [Fenbert] tells is powerful and important, and its impact is well-realized under Elizabeth Lovelady’s unsparing direction.
— Chicago Stage Standard
In depicting four starving but strong-willed female villagers and the young Russian commissar ostensibly sent to aid them, director Elizabeth Lovelady and her talented cast succeed beautifully at evoking mood and atmosphere.
— New City Stage
Wonderful acting, most notably by Christine Vrem-Ydstie who plays General Iryna, and Katherine Bourne Taylor who plays Nadya, and witty dialogue make the play very enjoyable, despite its grim subject matter. The tiny space that is Strawdog theater seems like the perfect venue, giving the story the layer of intimacy for all five [well developed] characters to relate to each other.
— Buzz News

Director’s Note

Painting by Scenic Designer Jessie Howe

I hate to admit that I’d never heard of the Holodomor before I read Abbey Fenbert’s play. My initial reaction after reading it was, “Seriously? This happened? How did I not know about this?”

Millions of people died, and I didn’t have the foggiest idea. I was shocked, and kind of ashamed. As I began talking about the play with friends and potential collaborators, I realized I wasn’t alone. In all of those early conversations, maybe three out of 100 people had ever heard of this genocide perpetrated against the people of Ukraine. Perhaps it’s no surprise, as news of the famine was actively denied and suppressed until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

So what do you do with a story that has, by and large, gone untold? You tell it.

In writing this play, Abbey has taken a story which primarily exists as lists of horrific facts and given it life. While imagined, these characters' inherent nuance, contradictions, and unpredictability give us a dynamic perspective on history.

This is not a play about women who are dying.

This is a play about women who are living, against all odds.


Anna: Moira Begale
Iryna: Christine Vrem-Ydstie
Halka: Catherine Dvorak
Nadya: Katherine Bourne
Yasia: Brittany Ellis
Halka/Yasia/Anna U/S: Cristiana Park Barbatelli
Iryna/Nadya U/S: Maddie Todd

Production Team

Director: Elizabeth Lovelady
Assistant Director: Taylor Pasche
Technical Director: Becca Venable
Stage Manager: Becky Warner
Production Manager: Jamie Crothers
Ukrainian Language and History Consultant: Ali Kinsella
Violence/Intimacy Designer: Rachel Flesher
Assistant Violence/Intimacy Designer: Veronica Oczowinski
Assistant Violence/Intimacy Designer: Tristan Hall
Set/Props Designer: Jessie Howe
Lighting Designer: Jason Lynch
Sound Designer: Sarah D. Espinoza
Costume Designer: Hailey Rakowiecki

Rehearsal Photos