Ukranian playwright Olexiy Kolomiets

One of the most popular features in the program of the Zankovetska Theatre and other companies are Olexiy Kolomiets’s paired plays Blue Deer and Kravtsov, which won the playwright a Taras Shevchenko State Prize of the UkrSSR for Art in 1977.

Blue Deer is devoted to the poetic love of a village girl Olenka who met a brave soldier, Kravtsov, during the war. Throughout these years when she was a sniper, and later as a college student she always thought of her one and only true love, dreaming of being reunited with him and writing him countless letters which she did not know where to send, because she had lost all trace of her Kravtsov in the brutal maelstrom of war. The wonderful character of this Soviet girl has attracted many producers by its amplitude of moods and winning candidness. Blue Deer was an instant success when staged at the Juliusz Stowacki Theatre in Cracow.

At the Ivan Franko Theatre the play (director Volodimir Lizohub) has been staged about two hundred times. Thousands of theatre-goers have watched with undisguised excitement and sympathy as the girl tirelessly inquires about her true love Kravtsov. Larissa Khorolets’s presentation of the role in Blue Deer and Kravtsov won her Ukraine’s Young Communist League Nikolai Ostrovsky Prize for Art.

Kolomiets’s plays appeal to many directors and actors, because they are infused with poetry and the beauty of sincere human emotions, while their unusual forms of treating topical issues, events and characters provide broad opportunities for stage projection. The playwright maintains a longstanding creative friendship with the producer Volodimir Opanasenko who always succeeds in finding a convincing interpretation for his plays.

Opanasenko staged Blue Deer and Kravtsov at the Zankovetska Theatre in Lvov in a remarkably warm-hearted and restrainedly passionate style, featuring Taissia Litvinenko and Bogdan Kozak in the principal roles. Opanasenko also conveyed the exciting poetry and philosophical depth of the author's message in The Planet of Expectations and Thank You, My Love, and found the right lyrical and comic key in staging his Silver Web (subtitled by the playwright as a “parable of cunning and love”) at the Olga Kobilyanska Ukrainian Theatre of Music and Drama in Chernovtsy.

Koiomiets gained national prominence some two decades ago when he wrote his witty comedy Pharaohs. Ever since he has been concerned with moral problems, the ideas fathers and sons share, the grandeur of Soviet man’s accomplishments, and loyalty in love and service to one’s country. His heroic and romantic Turtle Dove and psychological Odyssey in Seven Days are also among his widely acclaimed plays.

Yuri Stanishevsky


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