In the Garden of Z makes its world premiere at Portsmouth’s New Hampshire Theatre Project on Jan. 19. This powerful new drama is the story of one Russian girl’s reaction and response to the horrors of the War in Ukraine and how it motivates her to examine her family, her culture, history, war and the nature of propaganda- how it affects our lives and divides our communities.
The play is written by Russian-Latvian immigrant Jelizaveta Robinson and her husband, Sean, and is the product of almost two years of research.
Robinson went into a deep-dive of research into Russian state media and propaganda being used to gather support for the war. She began to learn the various propaganda tools and techniques that were used in Russia and, in the process, learned how these methods were being used in so many more places around the world, including right here at home. Her research led her down a path of education in Russian history she had never learned – about the Russian Revolution and about the culture that developed following the demise of the Soviet Union – an event that had impacted her own family and childhood, as well.
To help turn all of her research, information, stories, and thoughts into a fully-formed play, she enlisted the help of her husband, Sean, educating him in everything she had studied in the process.
As a final piece of their puzzle, the Robinsons were given permission by author-poet Polina Zherebtsova, survivor of the Chechnyan wars in the 90s, to use her famed diaries as inspiration for one of the characters in the show. The result was a new element that makes the show every bit the anti-war piece, as it is an anti-propaganda piece. The show is about the factors that led to the War in Ukraine, but it is also about war itself, about the mythologization of the past, about the dangers of misinformation, and about the painful experience of having family lost in lies and stuck in their ways. It is a thrilling and insightful look at some of the most important issues affecting our world today.
Running Jan. 19 to Feb. 4
One Thursday only, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nhtheatreproject.org.