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The cities of Kaunas and Esch-Sur-Alzette united to celebrate culture. Light on an international exchange at the foundation of The European Capitals of Culture of 2022

Luxembourg and Lithuania, where the European Capital of Culture 2022 will take place, are true crossroads of cultures and creations. The action has brought together Europe’s citizens to implement strong cultural projects in a dynamic of openness and sharing since its creation in 1985. Together, these two capitals of European culture are developing programmes and schemes that aim to provide spectators with a rich experience of diversity and liveliness. 

It is a perfect opportunity for creators to share their work, values and history with various audiences. Therefore, the cities of Kaunas and Esch-Sur-Alzette will be the privileged places for this cultural synthesis in joint action. The collaboration is already ongoing action, and the result is the joint podcast. 

The podcast series by National Kaunas Drama Theatre will devote an episode to contemporary Europe’s cultural and theatrical identity. Kaunas and Esch-Sur-Alzette had merged forces to discuss what constitutes our Europanity through a joint project – ‘Visage’. 

This exchange will be available in the Teatras ONL1NE podcast on March 31 2021, on the Spotify platform. Please enjoy a conversation in English among artistic director of National Kaunas Drama Theatre Edgaras Klivis and dramaturg, artistic director of Esch- Sur-Alzette theatre Vincent Adelus. 

‘Visage’ features the philosopher Levin because who better to embody Europeanness than him? He lived in Lithuania and France, and his concepts such as ‘face’ or ‘caress’ echo the nowadays situation in the world. Vincent Adelus and Edgaras Klivis will discuss this character from two different approaches, at the junction of two languages. To embody Levinas’ concepts, the philosopher Viktoras Bachmetjevas in Kaunas will adopt so-called “traditional” procedures, with the staging of explanatory sequences. In Esch, Vincent Adelus favours an approach that isolates each of the concepts to make a synopsis of them. These two theatricalities will produce a text in sequence so that everyone can appreciate Levinas’ philosophy and consider it a tool for everyday life. 

But that is not all. This desire of the European capitals to work together is reflected in the Ben Aïm brothers’ creation, ‘Jests’. 

On the borderline between absurdity and the quest for meaning,

‘Jests’ the new creation of the Ben Aïm brothers

The body is an active interface between the ambient world and interiority. It is how the bodies are staged in the works of the Ben Aïm brothers. On April 2, 2021, the company will present their latest creation in co-production with the Escher Theatre ‘Jests’.

The stream of this performance realizes the wish of NKDT to present Esch as its partner and highlight the theatrical identity of Esch.

In an exploration of humanity, Christian and François Ben Aïm place the body in dreamlike, sometimes in ridiculous and absurd universes. Poetry and fraternity are the order of the day. We witness choreographies co-constructed and in co-existence, the alchemy between the bodies, a never-ending balance. In its staging, the body emphasizes otherness and texts and related creations, notably in ‘En Plein cœur’. 

With ‘Jests’, the Ben Aïm brothers question the status of these bodies. They evolve in a minimalist staging, dressed in elegant sounds. ‘Jests’ features bodies like rivers – overwhelmed by emotions and inner energy that escape control. The first performance will be streamed online on April 2, 2021, at 8 PM (Lithuanian time) on National Kaunas Drama Theatre’s Facebook page.  

Duration 1 hour. Choreographers: François and Christian Ben Aïm. Scenography: Camille Duchemin. Performers: Christian Ben Aim, Johan Bichot, Chiara Corbetta, Thibaut Eifferman, Marie Lévénez, Emilio Urbina.

“Jests”

National Kaunas Drama and  Esch- Sur Alzette  Theatre information  

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