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  Sickle at Strawdog Theatre


Strawdog Theatre
1802 W. Berenice Chicago

Five Ukrainian village women fight against the Soviets during the Holodomor - "death by hunger" - the name given to a famine engineered by Stalin's government in the early 1930s.

Presented by Red Theater Chicago

Thru - Jul 28, 2018

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-528-9696

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  Sickle Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Abbey Fenbert's new play, Sickle, attempts to engage the Holodomor at an intimate level by focusing on a single Ukrainian farming village. The crisis is upon us from the start. The men have been deported as class traitors for resisting collectivization; the women maintain discipline as best they can, guarding the land, foraging for food, rationing scraps while attempting not to die or go mad. Into their midst comes Nadya, a fresh-faced member of the Young Communist League, tasked with seeing to it that the party line is toed even if it kills every last villager."
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Tony Adlet

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...By focusing on a small community of survivors and the sacrifices they must make, Abbey Fenbert’s Sickle brings to life the victims of the Holodomor, one of the first genocides that resulted from disastrous 20th Century Communist policies of collectivization, less than a decade after Stalin came to power. It highlights the hubris of the state that continued to hail a “high standard of living” and “great strides toward a wonderful life” while millions starved as a direct result of foolhardy agrarian policies and power-hungry politics."

Kerstein Broockmann

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...What "Sickle" captures with a fierce and unrelenting power is the subjective experience of famine. We see how, for the hunger-tormented, despairing peasants, time becomes dreamlike and circular, with every dawn marking a "Groundhog Day"-like repetition of yesterday's suffering. In such a climate of extremity, story and character-the building blocks of drama-break down, the way bodies do."
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Hugh Iglarsh - Recommended

"...The play is a brave undertaking, considering the authentically Ukrainian terminology used that’s unfamiliar to most American theater-goers. But it is a poignant story that needs to be told. There was a terrible time in the history of Ukraine when, by some accounts, nearly 12 million people were exterminated, yet very few people know about that."
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Vika Lvova

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Red Theater is staging Abbey Fenbert’s Sickle, written in 2015, in a world premiere production at Strawdog Theatre. The 100-minute play tells the story of four women in a Ukrainian village, where the OGPU (later known as the KGB) has captured all the men and sent them to Siberia. The women are left to run the collective farm; complying with the government’s demand for grain leaves them in a state of starvation as well as fear of attack."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Somewhat Recommended

"...Difficult though it is to imagine what these horrors felt like on the ground, that is exactly what playwright Abbey Fenbert sets out to do in her script Sickle. The five actresses in this cast give it their all. We are left with a somewhat sick feeling in our stomach, having sat with the subject matter for more than 90 minutes. For this writer though, the attempts by this script to give an unthinkable an everyday reality some how didn't add up, and at many points bogged us down in backstories without seeming purpose. That said it's good to know though, that there are layers in the Russia vs. Ukraine stories of today that we hadn't imagined. Knowing yet another chapter in humanity's cruelty may help sober us to anticipate a greater range of human possibilities."
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Amy Munice

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