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The Multitalented Liudmyla Tymoshenko

by John Freedman


 

Liudmyla Tymoshenko is one of the key figures among the 20 founding members of Kyiv's Theater of Playwrights. Her short dramatic work “My Tara,” included in the “Dictionary of Emotions” collection, has been performed as part of the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings some 45 times in a dozen countries. Her children's play, “Refugee Cats,” co-written with Maryna Smilianets, has been performed seven times. In all, she has written approximately 15 plays. Other of her works that the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings make available to the world are the shorts “Hocus Pocus,” “The Oak that Holds up the Sky,” and “Signs II,” as well as the full-length plays “Five Songs of Polissia,” and “The Story of a Pharmacist.” She graduated in 2000 from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv with a candidate's degree in Philosophy, and a doctorate in Political Science.

In addition to her writing and project-making, Tymoshenko has emerged as an accomplished graphic artist and painter. She made the whimsical drawings of the 20 founding members of the Theater of Playwrights that is that venue's official image. She has provided striking drawings for posters, promotional materials, post cards and books in several countries.

 

In May 2022, the Schloss Solitude Academy (Stuttgart) hosted her "Anxiety" exhibition, consisting of 12 works drawn with felt markers. All the works were devoted to the war. One of  her earliest exhibits was at the Red Square Art Gallery in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2016. Comprised of landscapes and still lifes in watercolor, it was called "On the Wings of a Butterfly."

Speaking to a correspondent for Theater, Dance and Circus in Finland, Tymshenko told the harrowing story of her escape from Ukraine.

“We were in Kyiv when the war started. My son's vacation from school had just started, and he was in Lutsk. Constant air raids began in Kyiv. We had to pick up our son in Lutsk and head to safety.

 

We drove towards Lutsk, but were turned back when we were bombed on the road. People were being shot in their cars. We were lucky, however. The next day we set off again via backroads. The journey took thirty hours. We got to Lviv and thought we were safe, but the same day the bombing started. My dad called from Ovruts and I heard explosions over the phone. Father was calm, although there were bullets flying around.

My husband took me, our son and our cat to the Polish border. We made our way to Krakow, then Berlin and Stuttgart.”

An online gallery of Liudmyla Tymoshenko's works – most colored by the war, but not always – can be viewed at:

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