© Frederik Buyckx

ZVIZDAL

Berlin/Het Zuidelijk Toneel

Chernobyl, April 26th 1986. Due to the failure of a nuclear test and the explosion of a reactor, the life of the people living in and around Pripyat took a drastic turn. The people of some 90 towns and villages in a radius of 30 km around the reactor were to be evacuated from their homes to never return again.

Pétro and Nadia, a couple born and raised in Zvizdal, refuse being evacuated. They prefer to stay put in their old village, in their own house. A ghost town. All acquaintances have left, their plundered houses bear witness of a former liveliness. Petrified places, overgrown by nature given free reign. Zvizdal shows us Pétro and Nadia, both way over 80, holding on indestructibly in the infected zone and a self-imposed solitude. Without running water, electricity, telephone or mail.

During five years BERLIN travelled to Chernobyl twice a year to spend some time with Pétro and Nadia, to interview them and to follow their life and choices.

How can one bear an isolation of years? How is the couple doing while aging? What if one of them dies? Will other residents follow them to their birthplace or will nature take over Zvizdal after years of free rein?

There are the superstitions, there is the vodka, the muttering, the cursing, the singing, the toothache, the infirmities of old age, the 20 kilometer walk to the store, the waiting for someone from the inhabited world. There is the very old horse and the emaciated cow.

A portrait of solitude, survival, poverty, hope and of love, between two elderly people over 80 years old with all around and in between them thecolourless, scentless but omnipresent radiation.

With Nadia & Pétro Opanassovitch Lubenoc
Concept Bart Baele, Yves Degryse, Cathy Blisson
Scenography Manu Siebens, Ina Peeters, BERLIN
Interviews Yves Degryse, Cathy Blisson
Camera & editing Bart Baele, Geert De Vleesschauwer
Sound recordings Toon Meuris, Bas de Caluwé, Manu Siebens, Karel Verstreken
Interpreter Olga Mitronina
Soundtrack | mixing Peter Van Laerhoven
Construction set Manu Siebens, Klaartje Vermeulen, Dirk Stevens, Kasper Siebens, Kopspel, Rex Tee [stagiair]
Mechanics Joris Festjens, Dirk Lauwers
Scale model Ina Peeters,
with the help of Puck Vonk, Rosa Fens en Thomas Dreezen
Graphics Jelle Verryckt
Website Stijn Bonjean
Communication/production Laura Fierens
Business management Kurt Lannoye
Administrative support Jane Seynaeve
Coproducers Het Zuidelijk Toneel [Tilburg, NL], PACT Zollverein [Essen, DE], Dublin Theatre Festival [IE], le CENTQUATRE [Paris, FR], Kunstenfestivaldesarts [Brussels, BE], Brighton Festival [UK], BIT Teatergarasjen-House on Fire [Bergen, NO], Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfut am Main [DE] , Theaterfestival Boulevard [Den Bosch, NL], Onassis Cultural Centre [Athens, GR]. BERLIN is associated artist to le CENTQUATRE [Paris, FR].
In collaboration with deSingel [Antwerp, BE]
With support of the Flemish Government
Thanks to Wim Bervoets, Brice Maire, Lux Lumen, Els De Bodt, Pascal Rueff, Morgan Touzé, Christophe Ruetsch, Isabelle Grynberg, Nadine Malfait, Natalie Schrauwen, Katleen Treier, Piet Menu, Anthe & Ama Oda Baele, Remi & Ilias Degryse