As part of its ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, the Finborough Theatre has made all the tickets for the revival of Pussycat in Memory of Darkness, playing 28 March-22 April 2023, just £8 for everyone for every performance between 29 March to 9 April 2023.
The original production of Pussycat in Memory of Darkness at the Finborough Theatre in August 2022 received huge press acclaim, and was shortlisted as Best New Play 2023 at the OffWestEnd Awards. In December 2022, it became the first theatre performance in Ukraine by a foreign theatre since the Russian invasion. It has since been seen in the USA, with further dates in Germany planned for Spring 2023.
Through its #VoicesFromUkraine series, the Finborough Theatre stands in artistic solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We are committed to raising public awareness of the invasion for as long as the war continues.
PUSSYCAT IN MEMORY OF DARKNESS
by Neda Nezhdana. Translated by John Farndon
Directed by Polly Creed. Set and Costume Design by Ola Klos. Lighting by Jonathan Chan. Produced by Fay Franklyn.
Cast: Kristin Milward.
Presented by Katteklør Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.
The original production was supported by the Culture of Solidarity Fund initiated by the European Cultural Foundation.
“I want to report a robbery…I was robbed. What was stolen from me? Almost everything…Home, land, car, work, friends, city, faith in goodness…’”
Donbas, 2014. A nameless woman stands in the street. Wearing a pair of dark black sunglasses, she tries to sell a basket of kittens. She has lost everything else she holds dear: her home, her family, her hope.
Russia has taken over Crimea and stirred up ongoing violence in her beloved homeland of Donbas. Betrayed by her neighbour and brutalised by Russian-backed militia, her hope has waned for humanity. She can only now place her hope in finding a home for a basket of kittens, a home she cannot offer.
An urgent piece of new writing from Neda Nezhdana that starkly reveals the roots of Russia’s war on Ukraine through the eyes of one woman. Its original production at the Finborough Theatre in August 2022 as part of Two Ukrainian Plays received huge press acclaim. The play was nominated for both Best Lead Performance in A Play and Best New Play (one of three selected finalists) in the OffWestEnd Awards.
The Finborough Theatre was the first foreign theatre to perform in Ukraine since the Russian invasion in a unique collaboration between the Finborough Theatre and the Pro-English Theatre, Kyiv with performances at the the Pro-English Theatre and the National Les Kurbas Centre, in December 2022.
Playwright Neda Nezhdana is one of Ukraine’s leading dramatists, theatremakers, poets and translators, she is the author of more than two dozen original plays, including The Suicide of Loneliness and When the Rain Returns, plus eight adaptations and two collections of poetry. Born in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, she lives in Kyiv. She has led the department of dramatic projects in Les Kurbas National Centre for Theatre Arts for fifteen years, founded the Kyiv independent theatre MIST and is Chairman of the Confederation of Playwrights of Ukraine. Her plays such as Pussycat in Memory of Darkness, He Who Opens the Door, and Lost In the Fog have become potent symbols of Ukraine’s battle for independent existence. One of her most celebrated plays is the culture-defining semi documentary drama Maidan Inferno about the pivotal events of the Maidan of 2014. It has been performed in France as well as across Ukraine. Her work has been seen in most cities in Ukraine, and in Belarus, Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Estonia, South Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, France, Turkey, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Romania, Australia and Iraq. Her play [email protected] received its wartime premieres in Uzhhorod and Poltava in 2022, and is currently available to view for free on the Finborough Theatre’s YouTube channel. She has recently completed The Closed Sky, an epic drama based on four women’s true stories from the Russian attacks on Mariupol in spring 2022.
Translator John Farndon is a writer, poet, playwright and songwriter living in London, and a translator of literature from Eurasia, including many plays for the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings series. He has written over a thousand books on science, nature and other topics, translated into most languages, and include many international best-sellers. He has been shortlisted five times for the Young People’s Science Book Prize. His plays include Anya (Donmar Warehouse), High Risk Zone (Almeida Theatre), The Naked Guest (Pleasance Edinburgh), Lope de Vega’s verse play Dog in a Manger (Cockpit Theatre) and an adaptation of Mozart’s Il Seraglio (Plymouth Theatre Royal, Salisbury Playhouse and Riverside Studios, London). His translations of the poetry of Lidia Grigorieva were nominated for five major awards, including the Griffin. He was joint winner of the 2019 EBRD Literature Prize for translating the poetry in Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov’s The Devil’s Dance, and finalist for the 2020 US PEN Translation Award for his translation of Kazakh writer Rollan Seysenbaev’s The Dead Wander in the Desert. He has also translated the lyrics of Vladimir Vysotsky. A large bilingual collection of his own poetry is currently being published in Uzbek and English. He ran the Arc venue at the Edinburgh Fringe and also the Cauldron series of poetry and music events. He was a Royal Literary Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, and City and Guilds in London and was chairman of the Eurasian Creative Guild 2019-2021. He is also a judge for New Plays, Most Promising New Playwrights, Production and Performance Pieces for the OffWestEnd Theatre Awards. Recently, his translations of Ukrainian plays have been presented in readings all over the world, including world premieres of two of his translations Polina Pologonceva’s Save the Light and Andriy Bondarenko’s Fox Dark as Light Night opened recently at Barons Court Theatre in London, and Neda Nezhdana’s He Who Opens the Door will open at A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Òran Mór, Glasgow, in August.
Director Polly Creed is a theatre director, playwright, and filmmaker. She recently directed The Straw Chair at the Finborough Theatre. Polly is a founder of Power Play, a production company that tells women’s stories of injustice on stage and on screen. Power Play’s debut site-specific showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 won a Fringe First for Emma Dennis-Edwards’ play, Funeral Flowers. Polly’s directorial debut, Next Time received an ‘Outstanding Show’ accolade at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Polly is also writer of Humane, shortlisted for the Charlie Hartill Award and published by Aurora Metro Books. It has also been adapted into an audio drama. The play version will have a stage run at The Pleasance in November 2021. Her play, The Empty Chair, was shortlisted for a Sit Up Award and won Best New Writing at LSDF 2018. In 2016-2020, she ran a successful petition and media campaign, calling for Harvey Weinstein to be stripped of his honorary CBE.
Performed by Kristin Milward. Kristin’s previous productions at the Finborough Theatre include the OffWestEnd Award nominated A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynaecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, Love Child, I Wish To Die Singing, Natural Inclinations, The Early Hours of A Reviled Man, The Woman of Troy, Portraits and Child of the Forest.
Theatre includes The Massacre at Paris (Rose Playhouse), Huis Clos (King’s Head Theatre), The Illustrious Corpse (Soho Theatre), Woman of Troy (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Snow Palace (Tricycle Theatre), Wounds to the Face and Uncle Vanya (The Wrestling School), The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Latchmere Theatre), La Chunga (Old Red Lion Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangerous (Royal Shakespeare Company), BurleighGrimes (Bridewell Theatre), The Chance (Belfast Festival), The Merchant of Venice (Phoenix Theatre, Leicester), A View From a Bridge (Library Theatre, Manchester), When We Dead Awaken and Nijinsky (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Triumph of Death (Birmingham REP), Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet (Contact Theatre, Manchester), Devour the Snow (Bush Theatre) and Plunder (National Theatre).
Film includes Freestyle, A Little Chaos, Poppyland, City of the Dead and The Fool.
Television includes Arabs in London, NewTricks, To the Lighthouse and EastEnders.
#VoicesFromUkraine #Українськіголоси #Ukrayinsʹkiholosy
Live productions included Two Ukrainian Plays featuring Natal’ya Vorozhbit’s Take The Rubbish Out, Sasha in a double bill with Pussycat in Memory of Darkness, pairing Ukraine’s leading contemporary playwright together with a Ukrainian playwright making her UK debut, which played at the Finborough Theatre in August.
Online, the Finborough Theatre’s ongoing #VoicesFromUkraine series is streaming free-to-view releases of Current releases in the #VoicesFromUkraine series include Otvetka and He Who Opens The Door by Neda Nezhdana; The Peed-Upon Armored Personnel Carrierby Oksana Gritsenko; A Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War by Yelena Astasyeva; A (Ukrainian) Midsummer Night’s Dream, a version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy performed in Ukrainian; and Four Poems From Ukraine, a collaboration between the Finborough Theatre and the Pro-English Theatre of Ukraine, filmed in London and Ukraine, including performances by Toby Stephens and Linda Thorson; interviews with Ukrainian theatre practitioners, and more. All are now available on the Finborough Theatre YouTube channel, and available with subtitles on Scenesaver.
The press on the Finborough Theatre production of Pussycat in Memory of Darkness
★★★★★ Five Stars, The Stage
★★★★★ Five Stars, theatreCat
★★★★★ Five Stars, London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian
★★★★ Four Stars, Ajhlovestheatre
★★★★ Four Stars, West End Evenings
★★★★ Four Stars, Jewish Renaissance
★★★★ Four Stars, Close-Up Culture
★★★★ Four Stars, The UpComing
OffWestEnd Award Nomination Best New Play – Pussycat in Memory of Darkness
OffWestEnd Award Nomination Lead Performance in a Play – Kristin Milward
“Honour to the Finborough…for crowning its season of readings with these two plays. Bigger theatres have done a lot less.” Libby Purves, theatreCat
“Huge kudos to the Finborough…for showcasing the very culture that Vladimir Putin wants to destroy.” Nick Curtis, Evening Standard
“Blisteringly truthful and deeply moving.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Unbearably emotive.” Mark Lawson, The Guardian
“Emotive and searing.” Mariam Mathew, London Pub Theatres
“Timely, enterprising, emotionally shattering, politically shaming.” Libby Purves, theatreCat
“Nothing but praise should be lavished on the Finborough Theatre … Yet again it leads where others follow and its choice of work is both bold and brave.” Close-Up Culture
“Confrontational, sometimes shocking and distressing, but completely compulsive.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Neda Nezhdana’s tremendous monologue.” John Cutler, The Reviews Hub
“Neda Nezhdana’s searing monologue.” Lucy Popescu, Camden New Journal
“Pussycat In Memory Of Darkness, translated with edgy flair by John Farndon, is utterly riveting.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Pussycat in Memory of Darkness delivers multiple emotional punches.” Zuzanna Chmielewska, West End Evenings
“A long monologue can be hard going. This was not: it is stunningly done.” Libby Purves, theatreCat
“In the capable hands of London writer and translator John Farndon it is an extraordinary cri de coeur.” Christopher Walker, London News Online
“Impressive writing and acting.” Gary Naylor, Broadway World
“This is an acting masterclass.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Pussycat is a marvellous vehicle for a versatile actress, and Kristin Milward is simply superb.” Christopher Walker, London News Online
“This virtuoso performance by Kristin Milward.” Neil Norman, Daily Mirror
“An extraordinary central performance.” Nick Ferris, The Stage
“Kristen Milward delivers this cri-de-coeur in a powerhouse performance.” Gary Naylor, Broadway World
“Milward is astonishing.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Milward brings an impressive amount of energy and emotional range.” Sophia Moss, The Upcoming
“Kristin Milward gives a dynamo of a performance.” John Cutler, The Reviews Hub
“Searingly delivered by Kristin Milward.” Mark Lawson, The Guardian
“Kristin Milward dominates the stage from the moment she steps on it.” Mariam Mathew, London Pub Theatres
“Milward layers her interpretation with a complex knot of emotion.” Nick Ferris, The Stage
“Kristin Milward delivers a bravura performance.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
“Performed with quietly hypnotic intensity by Kristin Milward.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance
“A monumental performance from Kristin Milward.” Close-Up Culture
“Milward’s wholly committed, riveting, and deeply affecting performance as the woman carries the monologue forward with an intensity that is palpable.” John Cutler, The Reviews Hub
“Forty-five minutes of inflamed, impassioned, articulate writing, delivered in a blistering performance by Kristin Milward.” Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide
“Polly Creed directs a quite extraordinary, constantly gripping, grim but sometimes blackly humorous performance by Kristin Milward.” Libby Purves, theatreCat
“Polly Creed’s direction is exquisite.” Alun Hood, ajhlovestheatre
COVID SAFEAs one of the most intimate theatre venues in London, we are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of performers, staff, and audience members during the current pandemic.
Audience members may be temperature-checked upon their arrival at the theatre, and masks are strongly recommended at all times, including during the performance.
In order to ensure that the Finborough Theatre is still accessible for those who are CEV (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) or those who would just prefer it, mask wearing is mandatory for all Sunday matinee performances.
We have reduced our audience capacity to 85% and adjusted our ticket prices to reflect this. We have been reviewing these protocols every month and will lift them as soon as it is safe to do so. For full information, please see our website.