#43 S:PAM Lecture | Roza Sarkisian & Sofie de Smet - The Hamlet Syndrome: To be or not to be in Ukraine
In this S:PAM Lecture (special edition) in collaboration with the HRRM-Network, the award-winning documentary “The Hamlet Syndrome” will be screened in the presence of the Ukrainian theatre director Roza Sarkisian. THE HAMLET SYNDROME is a powerful portrait of a vibrant young Ukrainian generation, the first one born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, shaped by the Maidan Revolution of 2013, empowered by political change, and scarred by war. A few months prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, five young women and men participated in a unique theatre production directed by the Ukrainian theatre director Roza Sarkisian that attempts to relate their war experiences to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For each of them, the stage is a platform to express their grief and loss through the famous question, “to be or not to be,” a dilemma that applies to their own lives. The rehearsals for the play are combined with an intense glimpse into the characters’ lives: a powerful portrait of a generation coping with the trauma of war which now, after Russia invades Ukraine, is their present and future alike.
Interdisciplinary postdoctoral researcher in the field of Theatre Studies (S:PAM, Ghent University) and Psychology (KU Leuven) Sofie de Smet will introduce this documentary including an exploration of the value of participatory theatre as a community-based practice in dealing with histories of collective violence and forced displacement. This introduction will focus on the growing interest in the relevance of participatory theatre for refugees as an innovative approach that understands how voicing narratives of life histories within a broader social sphere may support personal and socio-political transformation. This investigation will explore how theatre participants may express experiences of trauma and displacement in dialogue with each other, their diasporic and home communities, and their host society, and consider how these processes relate to the construction and meaning and coping with trauma and loss.
The screening of the documentary is followed by a debate in the presence of theatre director Roza Sarkisian, a member of the Human Rights Research Network Ghent University and others (to be announced) moderated by Sofie de Smet.
Language: English and Ukrainian with simultaneous translation
Biography Roza Sarkisian:
Roza Sarkisian is a Theatre director and Curator. She graduated from the Theatre Directing Department at the I. P. Kotlyarevski National University of Arts in Kharkiv (2012) and from the Political Sociology Department at the V. N. Karazin National University in Kharkiv (2009). In the years of 2017 -2019 Roza worked as the Head Theatre Director of the First Ukrainian Academic Theatre for Children and Youth in Lviv. In the years of 2017 -2019 she worked as the Theatre Director on the House in
Ivano-Frankivsk National Academic Drama and Music Theatre. Her productions, dealing with the topics of collective memory, national identity, political manipulation, non-normativity and social oppression have won several awards and invitations to many festivals. She has been an initiator, curator and director of numerous art and education projects for teenagers, such as festivals “Drama Teen Lab” and “Young Directors for Children”, realized at the First Theatre in Lviv, or "Voices of Neighborhood". She also has led numerous workshops for teenagers and created performances with young non-professional actors and people with a disability.
Biography Sofie de Smet:
Dr. Sofie Denise de Smet is an FWO-postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the research group S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts & Media, Ghent University) and the Parenting and Special Education Research Unit (KU Leuven). Her current interdisciplinary postdoctoral research focuses on the development of transcultural trauma care and community-based psychosocial interventions for immigrant and refugee communities in the field of transcultural psychology and participatory theatre in western host societies. In close dialogue with her scholarly work, Sofie works as a clinical child psychologist and family therapist at the Transcultural Trauma Care team for refugee rehabilitation at the Faculty Clinical Center PraxisP (KU Leuven).