Bad Roads

cast members
Spring, 2019
Written By: Natal'ya Vorozhbit
Directed By: Jody McAuliffe

For the spring mainstage production, Professor Jody McAuliffe directs Bad Roads, new documentary theater work from Ukranian playwright Natal’ya Vorozhbit.  For dates and ticket information, please go here.

What happens to people’s personal relationships—and, more specifically, their sexual lives—in a time of conflict?  Bad Roads, a heartbreaking, powerful and bitterly comic account of what it is to be a woman in wartime, premiered in 2017 at the Royal Court in London. Based on documentary stories about the war in Ukraine, the play explores the brutal effects of conflict on personal relationships: “sex under siege” (Sasha Dugdale, translator, in The Guardian). Fighting broke out in the Donbass region of Ukraine in 2014 and continues to this day.  To create her picture of this relentless turmoil, Vorozhbit has gathered stories from personal acquaintances, recorded testimony from protesters, and used accounts of actual kidnapping; she also mentored local teenagers in writing personal monologues that contributed to the voices in the script.

In Vorozhbit’s play, uniquely from a woman’s point of view, “teenagers sleep with the garrisoned soldiers because it makes their drab, war-torn lives more glamorous. A paramedic drives the body of her soldier-lover along wild, bad roads to his wife. The most harrowing of all is the portrayal of the relationship between a hostage-taker and his female victim, which moves unnervingly between sadism, abuse and something approaching human warmth.” Students in the production have worked closely with fight director Jeff Jones in order to safely approach the sometimes brutal material documenting the terrible reality of war.

The production features the following Duke undergraduates in the cast: Sophie Tan, Kaylin Woodward , Delaney Dryfoos, Valerie Muensterman, Sofiya Volobuyeva, Darya Andreichenko, Samantha Votzke, and Jinny Yoon.  In conjunction with the THEATRST 350 class taught by Professor McAuliffe, Theater Operations director Marcy Edenfield is teaching a technical production section for the students helping build the show and working as run crew.  Tech students enrolled are: Morgan Fears, Ashley Jeffers, Reilly Johnson, Theodota Kontopoulos, Micah Segal-Miller, Rebekah Wellons, and Mila de Souza.

photo by Les Todd, cast (L-R): Darya Andreichenko, Jinny Yoon, Samantha Votzke, Delaney Dryfoos, Valerie Muensterman, Sophie Tan, Kaylin Woodward

Quotes: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/nov/06/bad-roads-love-and-war-natalya-vorozhbit-royal-court-bad-roads

CONTENT WARNING: This play is intended for mature audiences.  It contains suggestive dialogue, coarse language, and sexual violence.  Please exercise self-care in choosing to engage with this material.

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