If a repertoire can be seen as the face of a theatre, then the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre does have its face. For the last several years we have worked hard to renew our repertoire, and today we can invite our audiences to see performances staged by best Lithuanian and foreign directors. We are glad to be able to present works of directors awarded with the prestigious Europe Prize New Theatre Realities: Oskaras Koršunovas, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Krystian Lupa, Árpád Schilling. Their newest performances do represent different trends of contemporary theatre. Furthermore, as culture practicioners, they express their civic views of the unsettling contemporary realities. The premonitions of these realities will be felt during the premieres of our 76th season.
Performance “Grand Evil” is the most intriguing event of the season. Hungarian director Árpád Schilling is one of the leaders of Europe’s new generation of theatre artists; he has been leading Krétakör theatre company, which has extensively toured and contributed into making the Hungarian theatre famous worldwide. Recently, Krétakör with its artistic projects and protests, has been in open opposition to the current Hungarian political government, and thus has lost state funding. As a result, Schilling now can be seen working in various European theatres more often than at home. A year ago, Árpád and I started discussing the possibility of him staging a performance in Lithuania. In the wake of the Ukrainian war and the threat it posed to the Baltic countries, we conceived an idea of a play, which would explore the way our foresights may change us as persons. What is our understanding of identity, position and choice? And how can we understand war without having experienced it? A colourful creative team of the performance is seeking answers to these questions. Schilling and playwright Marius Ivaškevičius provoke actors, who are made up of different personalities of the Lithuanian theatre, they invite actors to become co-authors and free-thinking citizens. First stages of this work look intriguing and possibly will lead to a unique result, which will be presented at the start of the season.
Recipient of the Nobel prize in literature, writer John Maxwell Coetzee claims that “contemporary state ideologically adapts morality, religion and law to its existence. Thus, in order to survive, it can trample morality, religion and law, or everything at once.” Coetzee provocatively asks: aren’t different political ideologies in the contemporary world getting too close, and state interests become more important than individual fates? A confrontation of a human and a state is a theme ancient Greeks used to discussed in the birthplace of democracy. An example of that is a mythological cycle of Thebes, the storylines of which had been used in dramas by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Playwright John von Düffel at Deutsches Theater Berlin decided to put the three authors work into one play, called “Oedipus City”. The play, which has been acclaimed in Germany, reveals how the interests of political rulers-fathers determine the dramatic fates of their children. In the second half of the season, the performance “Oedipus City” will be staged by director Gintaras Varnas.
We are also glad to offer LNDT stage to direction debuts by Kamilė Gudmonaitė and Povilas Makauskas, bachelor students at Lithuanian Music and Theatre academy.
Last year we presented their works “Yolo” and “Dreamspell”, and in the spring of 2016 we will give the stage to their graduation works. What happens to Prospero of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, when he breaks his magic wand? In other words, what happens to an artist who leaves art behind and remains on hiw own. This question will be explored by Gudmonaitė, who will merge Shakespeare’s and Beckett’s writing. Next year will be the year to remember the tragic events of Chernobyl catastrophe. The traumatic experiences of Chernobyl “liquidators” will be the pillars of Makauskas’s performance “BioRobot”. The director takes authentic documentary material and research data detailing the consequences of the catastrophe on people and nature, and thus creates a performance-research lab about a different war, the threats of which we have grown used to.
The face of a theatre is also in the faces of its actors. Today these faces come from different generations of the Lithuanian theatre. Together with them, we embark on artistic journeys, we risk and seek to create a living, diverse, exciting theatre. The roles actors play in LNDT performances, belong to different, not only Lithuanian, theatre schools, as well as artistic worlds, which are shaping the face of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre today. We invite audiences to discover it and get to know it.