On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had a little oopsie.
Four hundred times the radioactivity that was dropped on Hiroshima exploded less than 2 miles south of Pripyat, a city of 50,000 people. So, imagine Biloxi, Mississippi. Or Ames, Iowa. Or Sheboygan, Wisconsin*. 36 hours later, the city was evacuated. So was Chernobyl, located 9 miles south. So was every village and town within a 19-mile radius.
Ten years following the disaster, author Svetlana Aleksievich conducted a series of interviews with survivors and published it as Voices From Chernobyl.
Nearly ten years after that, director Cindy Marie Jenkins began adapting the book for the stage. Last year, I served as associate producer for a demo of her adaptation Voices From Chornobyl, which has been used to promote a series of anniversary readings this month to commemorate the anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.
Earlier this year, Cindy and several of her amazing actors (Aaron Lyons, Enci, Kappa Victoria Wood, and Shawn MacAulay) were interviewed to explain “Why Chornobyl”. I had nothing to do with this project (although I suppose I was at an early meeting where we discussed having something like this made, so sure, I’ll take credit for it, thanks!), but I think it’s a great companion to what I worked on and is an excellent reminder of why something that happened over 20 years ago is still worthy of our attention. Lysandra Petersson created the following:
During the month of April, the rights to perform the play Voices From Chornobyl are free to anyone who donates at least 75% of their proceeds to a Chornobyl Charity. See the VFC site for more details.
* Yes, I snuck in Sheboygan, one of my favorite goofy words, into something that’s supposed to be serious. I am a disrespectful and heartless punk.