Urban Stories

This archive of interviews and conversations collected in the framework of various projects that have been implemented at the Center for Urban History from 2008 to today.

Selected Quotes

Christmas Caroling at KGB

"... There were about fifteen of us. We would gather and split roles… a pseudo-vertep or something. We had a bell, and it was clear that we were not just walking on the streets, we were caroling. (…) Once we had an incident though. People really liked it when we came to carol. It was forbidden at that time, you know, but we dared anyway. So people would treat us to some booze, so we were quite wasted by the morning. Once, being drunk, we stopped by KGB to carol. It happened just like that. We were passing by KGB, and I said, “Let’s carol for them.” So we stopped by, opened the door, entered, but we were kicked out by the guard ..."

Creative Youth Club

"... And then a Creative Youth Club appeared in Lviv. The story behind it was as follows. Les Taniuk came to stage "Thus Huska Died". In the end, he was banned from staging the play, but he set up this Creative Youth Club headed by Mykhaylo Kosiv. I was a member of the presidium, and our task was to organize some sort of cultural soirees. Well, the first one was dedicated to Lenin, of course, like a ‘steam locomotive’. The second one was a serious piece – a soiree in honor of Lesya Ukrainka. And that was when I met Bohdan Stupka. ..."

Performance “The Drayman and the King”

"... Someone said once that a theater manager is like a mom for actors, which is true indeed. You love them all like your own children... There were a great many performances in our theater, even though at certain points someone for some reason was not on good terms with someone else, but there’s one piece that will remain deeply etched in my memory until the end of my days – "The Drayman and the King". It was an amazing performance in terms of atmosphere... the atmosphere in the theater on that day was special. Something different was happening in the theater. When we had that performance on stage, people talked in a different manner, they look at each other differently. That performance had a uniting power. ..."

Psiacha Buda (Dog House) Café

"... “Psiacha Buda” was a coffee place on Kostomarova Street. Now it’s Rodynna Kovbaska (a meat shop), across from a waste paper collection point. It was a hall of about two meters… well, no, maybe four square meters. Auntie Sveta worked there (everyone called her auntie Sveta); she would make cezve coffee, and we would go out and hang around the place, you know. And we called it “Psiacha Buda” (Dog House). And we would always smoke and drink coffee there. We were still young and could drink as much coffee as we wanted. So we would hang out there and blabber… and then you sort of wanna leave, but another acquaintance joins and the chatting goes on ..."

Wagner’s Opera Staging

"... There were moments when one of such bold conductors would bring out of the woodwork something like Wagner’s "Tannhäuser", which was considered one of Hitler’s favorite operas and was staged in the Lviv Opera only under the Germans. It was not easy to do that in the Soviet times, but the staging itself was very interesting. I think it marked a milestone for the theater and for many soloists. ..."

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