Young, eccentric Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich was just four years old when the Chernobyl disaster struck, but the event had a profound effect on him. In seeking to learn more about what happened at the nuclear plant, Fedor becomes fascinated with the Duga—a massive, Soviet-constructed radio antenna near the Chernobyl site that remains shrouded in mystery.
Fedor discovers the Duga was one of the USSR’s secret Cold War weapons built to penetrate Western communications systems and, possibly, minds. He arrives at a terrifying conclusion that not only explains the radio antenna’s role in the disaster but also lays bare the cruelty inflicted on Ukraine by its Russian neighbors. Fedor must decide if he will protect his family and himself, or tell the world what he believes. In the package of a paranoid thriller, The Russian Woodpecker takes us to the frontlines of the Revolution, and gives us the history and context for the war between Russia and the Ukraine, a battle that will have ramifications for the whole world. —S.S.
Chad Gracia has worked for 20 years in New York theatre as a producer, dramaturg, and playwright. He has produced nearly 20 award-winning plays in the United States and Europe. He co-wrote Gilgamesh with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, featured on PBS. He also worked as development director at the New Globe Theater, where he served on a board that included actors Al Pacino, Kevin Kline, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Mark Rylance.