by Dr Grace Pundyk
Photography: Stuart Thorne

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by Dr Grace Pundyk

You’re given 30 minutes to pack, but you don’t know where you’re going. When those 30 minutes are up the boundaries of your life will have shifted. Irrevocably. Is a woman still herself when everything she knows is taken from her?

You are invited to bear witness, to embark on an impossible journey with an unknown destination.

STEPPE is an urgent exploration of survival and loss and the words we need to keep speaking when annihilation threatens.

Overnight, Kasia’s safe world has fallen apart. She is deemed an enemy of the people, separated from the ones she loves, deported from her country and sent to labour in the unremitting Siberian steppe. Between brutal working conditions, starvation and a cold beyond anything she’s ever known, Kasia clings to happiness via the memories of a life once lived and the hope that one day a letter from her husband might arrive. After all, she keeps writing to him so very often.

Steppe is a work of memory, rupture and exile. Sparked by four letters found upon Pundyk’s Polish father’s death, letters which had remained hidden until then, Steppe gives voice to those long silenced by the grander narrative of war and its persistent myths of heroes and battles: the women subjected to the destruction, dislocation, and violation heaped upon them.

This title appears in:

Rodney Seaborn Playwright's Award (2016 nominee)