This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



(photo by Mati Bardosh Gelman)

Counting Sheep re-creates the February 2014 Maidan revolution in Kiev with music and mayhem (photo by Mati Bardosh Gelman)

3LD Art and Technology Center
80 Greenwich St. at Rector St.
Through December 17, $20-$59.50

Theater doesn’t get much more immersive — or personally involving — than Mark and Marichka Marczyk’s Counting Sheep, a nonstop, exhilarating, highly emotional experience that puts you right in the middle of a re-creation of the stalwart Revolution of Dignity that took place in February 2014 in Kiev, as Ukrainians rose up against President Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt, Russia-friendly, anti-EU policies. The international Occupy movement meets Les Miz in the multimedia production, continuing at 3LD through December 17. Ingeniously conceived by the Marcyzks, who met during the protests and fell in love, the seventy-five-minute interactive show invites the audience to participate as much as they’d like, from dining at a long, communal table with various characters to carrying banners, throwing (foam) bricks, singing songs, dancing, and building a barricade. It’s virtually all in Ukrainian, except for occasional facts, figures, and slogans projected onto the walls in English, but that won’t prevent you from understanding what the common people and revolutionaries are singing and saying as they battle the special police force known as the Berkut. The dedicated cast, wearing sheep masks, consists primarily of Toronto’s Lemon Bucket Orkestra (which refers to itself as “a guerilla-punk-balkan-folk-brass band”), featuring violinist Mark Marczyk, trombonists Eli Camilo and Nathan Dell-Vandenberg, darbouka player Jaash Singh, trumpeter Michael Louis Johnson, guitarist Alex Nahirny, percussionist Oskar Lambarri, singer Tamar Ilana, dancer and percussionist Stephania Woloshyn, cellist Volodymyr Bedzvin, and Natalia Telentso and George Rush. (Music director Marichka Marczyk was only recently replaced in the cast because she is in her third trimester.) The revolutionaries are played by Joshua Hopkins, Taylor Kozak, Matt McGill, Adam Munoz, and Danielle Ruth, with Dima Nechepurenko as the roving cameraman, his live shots often projected onto the walls, along with archival footage and actual television reports.

(photo by Mati Bardosh Gelman)

Cocreator Mark Marczyk surveys the damage done in immersive multimedia production at 3LD (photo by Mati Bardosh Gelman)

Don’t worry if you didn’t spring for the extra thirty bucks to sit at the table and eat the opening meal; the menu, from Veselka, includes fried pierogi, borscht, kasha, mushroom stroganoff, cucumber salad, rye bread, sliced pickles, sour cream, applesauce, and fried onions, but some of it is served later for free as sustenance is needed to keep the struggle going. The actors will not force you to do anything you don’t want to, but the more you get involved, the more you will get out of this breathtaking, breathlessly paced show, which is directed by Kevin Newbury and the Marczyks, with the ever-frantic set design and costumes by Vita Tzykun, lighting by Eric Southern, movement by Chloe Treat, fight direction by Joseph Travers, and video design by Greg Emetaz, immersing the audience in the carefully controlled chaos. Photography is allowed, but don’t get too caught up in capturing things on film and instead go full throttle with your participation, constructing lasting memories in your head and heart. Billed as an “Immersive Guerrilla Folk Opera,” Counting Sheep might ostensibly be about the Maidan revolution, but it could really be about any of the recent events in which the people stood up to the government, usually paying a high price. By the end, you’ll be exhausted and uplifted and might even break into tears. Finally, there is no program to give further information about the cast, crew, and show; instead, you’re left to venture into the good night, processing your own private experience of this unique and powerful creation. (The Lemon Bucket Orkestra will be celebrating the end of the New York run of Counting Sheep with a concert at 3LD on December 16 at 11:00 pm; tickets are $20.)

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