Theater Therapy for Soldiers in Vinnytsia
In the Vinnytsia region, Ukrainian soldiers, who've come back from the war in the East, undergo "theater therapy"
Oleh Matvienko, who was in a forward position in the Donbas conflict, is, on this day an actor in an amateur theater.
He and his wife are performing the parts of Roman and Motrya in the tragicomedy “One Hundred Thousand” by Ivan Karpenko-Karyi at the Bar Amateur Theater.
“At first I came here by myself. Then I brought my husband here as well. He likes it. He does not mind coming here. Sometimes he even rushes ahead of me,” Anastasia Matvienko.
“At first I didn’t really want to come, but then I thought ‘Why not support her?’ So I went, and I’m glad I did,” Oleh Matvienko said.
They decided to participate in the experimental theater therapy together. The program was developed in the city of Bar. Psychological trauma received in battle is treated with art.
“We got the idea of socializing soldiers in our city theater and hold rehabilitation sessions there. And to fit them into the cultural life of the city,” said head of the project, Roman Hryhoriev.
A couple of months ago many of these amateur actors had no idea that they would be performing on stage. However, the director is certain that the soldiers have changed before her eyes. They even look different.
“My team already expects applause. They anticipate the reaction of the audience. Their eyes shine. Besides victory on a battlefield, they want a personal victory. To win over the audience. When you are understood, heard, and given flowers, and when you are thanked,” said Iryna Dedova, Director of the Bar amateur theater.
Psychologists say that public performances are a great form of psychological rehabilitation.
“There is some kind of discharge during a performance. We call it catharsis. Some feelings are buried deep inside people. They could not open up and here they experience some relief,” said crisis psychologist, Petro Vdovkin.
These performances help not only the amateur actors, but also the audience.
“It is very therapeutic not only for the performers but also for society. We see they are ordinary people, but with experience,” said Vdovkin.
Recently veterans returned from their first tour to a dozen cities, including Slovyansk, Severodonetsk, and Mariupol.
“What really stuck in my mind was the end of the play in every city, when the actors came out on the stage in the uniforms they wore on the front lines. The audience would reward them with a long standing ovation,” said Inna Tkachuk, assistant to rehabilitation project Director.
After a short break, the troupe will begin preparing for a performance on Ukrainian Armed Forces Day. Right now they are choosing a venue. Many cities are excited to see them.