04 May
METRMAG Spotlight On: "The Gaaga" - by Sasha Denisova - Arlekin Players (Cambridge, MA.)

(Cover Photo: "THE GAAGA" by Arlekin Players to be performed in person at BEAT BREW HALL in Cambridge, MA. beginning June 2nd, 2023 and streaming June 8-18, 2023. Photo Credit Arlekin Players)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724   

METRMAG Spotlight On:  

Arlekin Players 

Presents a (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab’s 

Production of 


A Site Specific Phantasmagoria!

Written & Directed by Sasha Denisova 

Co-Directed by Igor Golyak 

Additional Creative & Production Team:

Translated by Polina Dubovikova & Theresa Lang; Produced by Sara Stackhouse; Environmental Design by Irina Kruzhilina; Lighting Design by Kevin Fulton;
Costume Design by David R. Gammons; Music Composed by Jacek Jędrasik & Shimon Zyms; Sound Design by Brendan Patrick Doyle; Streaming Video Design by Eric Dunlap;
Virtual Design & Technical Direction by Igor Golyak; Properties by Irina Vilenchik with Julia Shikh; Hair & Makeup by Anna Furman; Production Stage Manager - Kyra Bowie*; Assistant Stage Manager - Natasha Kushnarova; Production Manager - Sara Stackhouse; Technical Director - Justin Lahue; Scenic Associate - Thijs Beuming; Wardrobe Supervisor - Alla Trachtenberg; Wardrobe Assistant - Natasha Mitlina; Cameras Operator - Denis Denisov; Maestro Interactive Platform Design - ArtCat; A1/Mixer - TBA; Networking Support - Seth Graham; Production Assistant - Emma Resek; General Manager - Mark W. Soucy; House Manager - 
Marianna Golyak.

*Appearing through an Agreement between Arlekin Players Theatre and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. 


June 2, 2023 through June 18, 2023

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)  

"THE GAAGA" - in person at BEAT BREW HALL, 13 Brattle Street, Harvard Squar, Cambridge, MA. 02138

Streaming Worldwide JUNE 8-18 



Developed through first-person interviews with refugees and officials, and inspired by world events, "THE GAAGA" is a darkly funny, haunting and fantastical trip through the consequences of war. 

Set in a bomb shelter, a Ukrainian girl dreams Vladimir Putin and his cronies into a courtroom and tries them for crimes of war. 

The playwright and director, Sasha Denisova, a widely celebrated theater maker from Ukraine, fled Moscow in the first days of war and has been living as a refugee in Poland, where she interviewed refugees, officials and studies publicly available materials to create "THE GAAGA." 

She directed the world premiere in February, 2023 at Theatre Polski, the oldest theater in Poland

“In the first days of the war, I fled from Moscow, where the police came for me. Russia bombed Kyiv and my mother, Olga Denisova, who was born under the bombing of Kyiv on July 7, 1941. She refuses to leave and awaits victory in her home. During these months, I thought about what would give hope to me and those who fled the war. A trial of Putin and his government was the biggest expectation." 

A new “The Hague” – "THE GAAGA", says Denisova. In the months after the war broke out, Igor Golyak and Sara Stackhouse of Arlekin spoke with the displaced Denisova several times on Zoom while they were working on "The Orchard" in New York

Golyak, who was born in Kyiv, explains, “I have long been influenced by Sasha’s brilliant productions, her explosion of ideas, their scope and spectacle, and the way her plays turn tragedy into comedy, exposing our humanity. When we talked about her idea for "THE GAAGA," we immediately commissioned her to write it and invited her to come to Boston to create it with the Arlekin company.” 

Arlekin’s production marks the US premiere for "THE GAAGA" - and the team made the decision not to set it in a theater, but instead in a converted restaurant - Harvard Square’s Beat Brew Hall - which closed during the pandemic. 

Transforming the venue into a makeshift bomb shelter has been the work of environmental designer Irina Kruzhilina, collaborating closely with Denisova and an international design team that includes composers Jacek Jędrasik & Shimon Zyms (Poland), streaming video designer Eric Dunlap (Berlin), Boston-based lighting designer Kevin Fulton, costume designer David R. Gammons, sound designer Brendan Patrick Doyle, with Arlekin company members Irina Vilenchik designing props and Anna Furman overseeing hair and makeup. 

The project is co-directed by Igor Golyak who is designing and technically directing the virtual production. The producer is Sara Stackhouse

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information. 


"THE GAAGA" is experienced through the eyes of a Ukrainian teen who has lost her entire family in the war, situated in a bomb shelter. 

Taisiia Fedorenko is a 17 year old Ukrainian refugee who has been in the US, without her family, since the beginning of the war; she is playing the role of The Girl

She is joined by 17 other cast members, including Boston favorites Anne Gottlieb, Dev Luthra, Robert Pemberton and Robert Walsh, Arlekin company members Boris Berdnikov, Irina Bordian, Jenya Brodskaia, Darya Denisova, Polina Dubovikova, Julia Shikh, Misha Tyutyunik and Irina Vilenchik, Ukrainian actor Ilia Volok, with Jeremy Beazlie, Daniel Boudreau, Michael Lopez, and Garrett Sands

The project is part of Arlekin’s #Artists4Ukraine Initiative, which has included multimedia site-specific staged readings of "JUST TELL NO ONE," directed by Golyak, presented at Lincoln Center in March and hosted at Huntington Theatre Boston in April. 

Launched within days of the start of the war in Ukraine, #Artists4Ukraine has raised significant funds for Ukrainian humanitarian organizations and for the Center for International Theatre Development’s Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings project. 

In summer 2022, Igor Golyak traveled with actress Jessica Hecht, her Campfire Project, and IsraAID to lead artistic workshops with refugee women and children living in Moldova


ARLEKIN PLAYERS is a theater of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, committed to lifting up the talented playwrights and theater-makers of Ukraine and amplifying their voices during this time of war. 

Mailing Address: 


368 Hillside Avenue 

Needham, MA 02494

(617) 942-0022