The Theatre’s 100th season topic: Theatre – a space for truth or lies?
The oldest professional Lithuanian theatre, Kaunas National Drama Theatre, begins it’s 100th season and offers to celebrate it by reflecting on the nature, history, and presence of the theatre. Director Gintaras Varnas will invite the audience behind the scenes of this theatrical self-examination for the play Sombras.
Sombras (en. Rain Shadows) is a surreal collage that combines the unfinished plays and poetry of the 20th-century modernists Federico García Lorca, Luigi Pirandello’s play Six Characters in Search for an Author, Antonin Artaud’s and Salvador Dali’s texts.
Playwright and poet Federico García Lorca once stated that a true theatre is a circus where the wind, the moon, and the beings enter and leave without finding a place to rest. With this vision of Lorca’s theatre, Varnas brings back to the stage his own quotes from theatrical creation. The director invites the audience to remember and revisit today’s theatre by asking if it is a space for truth or lies. The performance was born out of my rather gloomy thoughts about the future of the theatre when you no longer believe, no longer go to the performances and stop feeling the magic of the theatre. I don’t know if the play proves that the theatre is the place, to tell the truth. It will only become clear during premiere days, says director and playwright G. Varnas.
The performance is co-produced with the Utopia Theatre. Set designer is Julia Skuratova. Sombras revives her puppets from Claudio Monteverdi’s Madrigal Opera (director Gintaras Varnas). Costumes for the performance are designed by artist Juozas Valenta. The musical design of the performance is constructed from the music of previous performances by Varnas and is mainly based on works of Onutė Narbutaitė, Vidmantas Bartulis, Giedrius Puskunigis, Claudio Monteverdi, as well as Sephardic (Jews who lived in Spain before the 15th century).
A large group of theatre actors are performing in the performance: Dainius Svobonas, Vytautas Anužis, Jovita Jankelaitytė, Vilija Grigaitytė, Gytis Laskovas, Vaidas Maršalka, Saulius Čiučelis, Jūratė Onaitytė, Matas Sigliukas, Sigitas Šidlauskas, Liubomiras Laucevičius, Albinas Budnikas, Ričardas Vitkaitis, Audronė Paškonytė, Dovydas Pabarčius, Pijus Narijauskas, Daiva Rudokaitė, Andrius Alešiūnas, Gintautas Bejeris, Inga Mikutavičiūtė, Martyna Gedvilaitė, Aistė Zabotkaitė, Milė Šablauskaitė, Eglė Grigaliūnaitė, Liucija Rukšnaitytė, Robertas Petraitis and Mantas Pauliukonis. The premiere is scheduled for the Big Stage on September 6th, 7th, and 8th.
Young directors take the floor
Two more premieres, set by the directors of the younger generation, are scheduled before the New Year. The first is Povilas Makauskas’ visual performance for children and young people My Fairy Herbarium, based on the book of the same title by French authors Sébastien Perez and Benjamin Lacombe. It tells the story of a botanist’s search for the immortality elixir, revealing the fantastic world of plants and their fairies. Povilas Makauskas looks for additional meanings as well: The relationship between the younger generation and nature and its ecological awareness is a very relevant topic today. Therefore, I want to ask if the theatre is really only a place for human drama? The creative camp with a temporary nature lab will be located on the Big Stage and will launch on December 6th, 7th, and 8th.
The play Panic, directed by Kamilė Gudmonaitė based on the play of Finnish playwright Mika Myllyah, is expected in December as well. It is an intellectual and fierce comedy about three friends trying to “get their lives together”. Through eastern practices and psychotherapy, they embark on an absurd, comical and serious journey of self-knowledge that reveals the problem of masculinity as a social stamp. What are the challenges men face today? What do society and family expect of them? What requirements does this era raise for them? Director Kamilė Gudmonaitė, who in her works breaks the stereotypes of “normality” imposed by society, not only promises a light absurd comedy but also draws attention to the actual tensions of social life. The premiere is scheduled for December 18th, 19th, and 20th. Ruta’s Hall.
At the beginning of 2020, renowned young generation director Jaša Koceli of Slovenian theatre will be visiting Kaunas with a play Electra: The Wait staged according to ancient drama. The premiere is scheduled for the end of March. This time, the young artist mastering the genres of drama and opera takes on a new professional challenge – to draw attention to complex archetypal antique texts by analyzing the theme of waiting.
In April, the final work of the competition IDea, which took place in June, is expected to be staged by Uršulė Bartoševičiūtė, who is successfully showing her directing style.
Foreign troupes and more educational programs
In October, guests from Kutaisi (Sakartvelo) Lado Meskhishvili State Drama Theatre will be presenting two performances – Duplet based on the works of V. Havel and H. Pinter and F. Zeller’s comedy True. At the end of October, the Theatre will join the KEKS 2022 Story Festival, inviting for a dramatic lunch in the form of an excursion, as well as to a late-night theatre excursion. More information about these events will be provided in the information channels of Kaunas National Drama Theatre.
In early November, spectators will be delighted by the Royal Russian Ballet and the legendary Swan Lake. Their show will be performed on the Big Stage.
The tenth international educational festival Dive into the Theatre will take place in March. This year’s vision will not be limited to an abundance of educational activities that introduce the performing arts professions and activities, but will also invite for a discussion on ecology and consumerism. The festival will feature innovative performances by European creators.
The troupe has been supplemented with 13 members
Another extraordinary news of this season is related to the new faces of actors. In the last days of August, 13 new actors, graduates of Algirdas Latėnas’ and Vidas Bareikis’ group, joined the theatre! The names of Aistė Zabotkaitė, Andrius Alešiūnas, Ieva Stašelytė, Kamilė Lebedytė, Marius Karolis Gotbergas, Saulė Sakalauskaitė, Jurgita Maskoliūnaitė, Mantas Bendžius, Roberta Sirgedaitė, Deividas Breivė, Greta Šepliakovaitė, Motiejus Ivanauskas, and Povilas Jatkevičius will be on the posters of premieres.
Young actors have always felt a special connection with Kaunas National Drama Theatre. Together with the course leader Vidas Bareikis, they participated in the Dive into the Theatre workshop, watched performances and got acquainted with the Big Stage during the Golden Stage Crosses event. Aistė Zabotkaitė and Andrius Alešiūnas will soon be appearing in director Gintaras Varnas’ premiere Sombras. It is planned to include the final students’ works into the theatre repertoire in the nearest future and stage them in different cities of Lithuania. The mood is good and fun. Like many of my friends, I am delighted to have such a background for creation and the perspectives. Our course was collected for the theatre, the Vilnius Youth Theatre, but due to some unexpected circumstances, things have changed. Kaunas Theatre has given us such a gift. Thus, the mission of the course has been kept to the end, says actor Deividas Breivė.
Our theatre is getting younger and younger. I believe that enrolling the entire course will help these young artists to retain their creative edge and fill their page in a long and respectable history of the theatre. At different stages of history – interwar, silent resistance of the Soviet-era and restored independence – this theatre has shaped and fostered values and conveyed ideas that were beyond the era. It obliges us, the artists of this day, to rethink our role in time. I wish that the audience of the theatre also find moments of profound experience in the 100th season, says Egidijus Stancikas, the director-general of the Theatre.
Information provided by Kaunas National Drama Theatre