Gifford Irvine, David E. Frank, Anthony M. Sannazzaro. Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein.

‘Ghost Land’ by Andriy Bondarenko @ City Garage

September 21, 2023

In a rapid-response portrayal of the experience of Russian overwrought into the Ukranian Nationhood, the disruption of perfectly innocent life is witnessed in a contemporary setting which reverberates with the tasteful judgment on the sincere reality of war bringing the soul of man below and not above the terrestrial plane of tooth and claw.


It is in this necessary invocation of brutality that the rational extension of the mind of man can put into physical nature through waging war which provides the necessary abhorrence that the truly significant power of theatrical art reveals in its guiding light.


It is here, in the wordless aim of art toward universal agreement, that Russian folk can understand, with pure-heartedness, the atrocity of physically overpowering the vulnerable. For what cause?


To claim the cause to be ugly is inexact. It is incomplete to the historical diorama put into motion by the Russian Federation. This is because of the complexity of a hungry nation with a scarred past which can stimulate appetites of young men with worldly temptations of robbery. Indeed, on a critical remark, it is disappointing we do not experience mutual tragedy with Russian soldiers being fatigued and exhausted – in a word, we have Russian humanity lost in the portrayal; there is a lack of humane concern for their own inner-life through the imperious assault. Nevertheless, it is in the baseness of the appearance of the madness in being driven into positions of free-will authority that the querulous juices intoxicate, imposing unfairness in an otherwise possible promotion of peace with Russia and the World.


Andy Kallok, Juliet Morrison, Léa De Carmo. Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein.



This is categorically demonstrated with the Russian soldiers and their blasé attitude toward idyllic Ukranian life – of those sustaining simple memories for generations, only to be ransacked as a demonstration of human humiliation. For what other life-force on Earth experiences the eternal memories of shame? What about being ashamed by a cruel cause outside of one’s own will power?


The source of injustice then, is not of this World, but out of the machinations of the scheming of men. Towards?


Angela Beyer, Gifford Irvine. Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein.



The absurd yet horrid examination of brute force possession of physical nature is ingloriously impressive with the torture chamber scene. Gifford Irvine portrays a well-balanced mania with his Gennadiy with a clinical poise in his private mentation on his form of pleasure. Angela Bayer, playing Iuliia, has a likewise resigned yet confident pose in accepting a twisted fate which is beyond her control. Such a bravery projects the necessary attitude of experiencing the bitemarks of a World of such ignorance in filling bellies it can capitulate such vain attempts at glory that we are left with the actuality of human brutality which knows of no just civil law; and in practice ridicules human rights. We must then ask ourselves: how to permanently void the desire to know the torturous “friendship sputnik” contraption?


It is becoming wise with one’s choices. One which chooses the Tree of Life; one of everlasting knowledge on strengthening bones and filling bellies, as opposed to deeds which negate the ability for a nation to support herself with agricultural capital financing. A nation which strengthens trust, not corrupts it.


The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies,
by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.[1]

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching chapter 3


No one likes a vulgar neighbor, especially one which can’t keep her hands to herself.


Speaking technically, the performance has a splendidly contemporary extension of the theatrical arts in its use of digital media, specifically with the motion of action projected onto the backdrop. This is a healthy testimony to the availability of compact story-telling of world-wide impactful narratives, in being able to minutely coordinate theatrical work with the inclusion of intimate portraitures, of the likes of the Doctor portrayed by Andy Kallok; though we may have been introduced with more forlorn dread, – possibly more haunting and traumatic? – formed by the inevitabilities of war with the staging of his leather-seated pseudo-tomb. There is especially the terrific extension of the law of the “tooth and fang” with the projection of the wolf imagery and the physical struggle for overcoming a physically hostile earthly power.


Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment’s safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril. There was imperative need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men. They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but the law of club and fang.[2]

Jack London, Call of the Wild, Chapter 2


May the power to change the physical world be controlled better, more future-perfect, peacefully, as humans continue to increase in their awareness of true happiness not needing weaponry.


Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man’s tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart.
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.[3]






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