Instaliation, 2020

Six productions of Hamlet have been significant on the Lithuanian professional theatre stage. The first Hamlet was created between the wars, in 1932 at the State Theatre in Kaunas, and directed by the world-class actor and director Mikhail Chekhov. During the Soviet period, Shakespeare’s tragedy was staged by Juozas Rudzinskas (the first Soviet-era Hamlet at the Lithuanian State Academic Drama Theatre, 1959) and Irena Bučienė (at the same theatre, 1987). During the period of independence, Hamlet was interpreted in different ways by directors Eimuntas Nekrošius, Oskaras Koršunovas and Vidas Bareikis (on the stage of the National Kaunas Drama Theatre).

The latter productions are distinguished by their contemporary relevance – existential questions of being are complemented by reflections on the complicated parent-child relationship, the daily wearing of masks and the sense of loss of self. Finally, “To be or not to be?” is replaced by the quest “How to be?”.

The artist Miglė Zdanavičiūtė, together with the artists Paulis Dragūnas, Ieva Stašelyte, Karolina Keršyte and Aiste Skaisgiryte, tells the story of Hamlet by referring to the primordial elements: water (ice), air, fire. The use of video shots and organic sound changes creates a cyclical quality, simulating Hamlet’s endless dilemma, his inner struggle, his overwhelming revenge and the necessity to renounce love.

Miglė Zdanavičiūtė’s Hamlet creates a network of associations between contemporary Lithuanian productions of Hamlet: the ice is associated with the plays of Eimuntas Nekrošius and Vidas Bareikis, the mirrors with Oskaras Koršunovas’ production. The work allows us to see the interconnections between these performances – it is like the performances of students and teachers, the relationship between parents and children in the theatrical world.

Miglė Zdanavičiūtė (b. 1996) is a young generation artist, graduated in New Media Art from Vytautas Magnus University, working mainly in video and graphic media. The artist is particularly close to cinematographic expression, which she developed during her studies in film production at Suffolk University in England in 2018.

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