Anka Herbut. LOKIS. Director - Lukasz Twarkowski Premiere

About

The creators of the performance drew inspiration from three main sources: 1) a fantasy novella “Lokis” by Prosper Mérimée; complex and controversial biographies of two artists 2) a visionary Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus, his controversial life story, wild character and relationship with photography; 3) Bertrand Cantat, the lead singer of the French rock group Noir Désir, as well as tragic events when he killed his beloved one, a famous French actress Marie Trintignant while on a short stay in Vilnius.

These three inspirational stories extend to three main aspects for this performance;

It is obvious why in the 19th century P. Mérimée chose a bear (lokys) as a symbol for his novella – it represents the fear of danger that is lying inside the beast and the forest, which represents wild and unpredictable, and uncontrollable nature. That’s what aroused fear to people at that time. Nowadays, however, with the fast development and progress of science and technology our fears has switched from the „bear“ (lokys) to neurobiology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence – these are new domains that make up the map of fears of a contemporary person; it’s different from what was in the past, and yet the element of unpredictability and uncontrollability remains. Or maybe we should not be afraid of it? The research of “fear” and “the uncontrollable” is one of the axis of the show.

There are a lot of myths and legends about V. Luckus’ last day of life – how in a burst of rage he killed his wife’s friend. After coming back to sanity and realising his actions, he instantly killed himself by jumping out of the window. The reason of his actions remains a mystery, as does the story that happened in a hotel Domino Plaza in Vilnius where Bertrand Cantat accidently killed Marie Trintignant. Similar “black holes” could be found in the novella “Lokis” when the main character Duke Šemeta experiences such deliriums and cannot control his behaviour. Exploration of these “black holes” where you cannot neither find out nor restore the truth is of great importance in the show. Understanding todays’ post-truth, fake news phenomena, mockumentary world – search and recreation of the truth or at least - its image, is the only way to explore it.   

This leads to the last main aspect of the performance – the recreation of an image. It is so unclear nowadays what is what – what is a truth and what is a lie. We see a lot of images, hear lot of “truths” and “facts” but you never know whether it’s fake or real. Is it the reality or just an image of it. It is the same as in photography – a picture is recreation, a duplicate of the real object: exposition, light, the point of view of the photographer – everything determines the way reality is represented in the image. Vitas Luckus’ original approach towards photography and its concept was chosen as a form of how the performance should be retransmitted. The performance, which lingers on the margin of theatre and cinema, explores truths, meanings and events through the image. Image is everything. Image is being reproduced so many times that it creates this fake-truth, which we begin to believe it.  But can it overcome the reality itself? 

Dates

  • May 08 (Wed), 18:30 Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

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Creators

  • Director — Łukasz TWARKOWSKI
  • Playwright — Anka HERBUT
  • Set designer — Fabien LÉDÉ
  • Costume designer — Dovilė GUDAČIAUSKAITĖ
  • Composer — Bogumił MISALA
  • Choreographer — Paweł SAKOWICZ
  • Video designer — Jakub LECH
  • Light designer — Eugenijus SABALIAUSKAS
  • Playwright's Assistant — Teklė KAVTARADZE

Cast

Reviews

How the form becomes content [extracts] // Andrius Jevsejevas, „IQ“, 2017-11-09

How the form becomes content [extracts]

Andrius Jevsejevas, „IQ“, 2017-11-09

The premiere of “Lokis” on the big stage of the Lithuanian National Drama Theater (LNDT) has once again convinced me that today, in terms of repertoire, the LNDT is undoubtedly the most progressive institution of stage arts in our country, and one of the most dynamic national theaters in Central Europe.

Having just watched “Lokis” put on stage by a large Polish, Lithuanian and French team of artists, writing this I feel safe that I am not going to make a fool of myself. <...> it brought, to my mind, at least three meaningful things to the closed, conservative reality of our theater.

Firstly, more than any other production in the repertoires of our theaters, “Lokis” has shown how powerful and dynamic post-dramatic expression can be when the written text is deemphasized, when it no longer is the primary (oftentimes the only) means of  developing a narrative, and becomes equivalent to other means of theatrical communication, another element of directorial and dramaturgical expression. Secondly, the level of purity and seamlessness of working with audiovisual material onstage reached by the authors and performers, in my opinion, is unprecedented in our theater.

Finally, to me “Lokis” felt like a gust of freshness and modernity, a feeling I did not have since “Roberto Zucco” by Oskaras Koršunovas premiered at the LNDT in 1998.

LOKIS // Andrew Haydon, postcardsgods.blogspot.lt, 2017-09-30

LOKIS

Andrew Haydon, postcardsgods.blogspot.lt, 2017-09-30
Polish director Łukasz Twarkowski’s production of Lokis – a Very Free adaptation of Prosper “Carmen” Mérimée’s horror story of the same name – is about the most impressive use of video that I’ve ever seen on stage. The whole thing lasts around three hours (plus interval) and for long stretches is almost hypnotic in the way it operates. The plot of the original is apparently some insane French confection (which *was* originally set in Lithuania; hence the interest, presumably) about a woman who is attacked by a bear, and nine months later gives birth to a son, who in turn goes on to kill his bride on their wedding day. Or something.

Twarkowski, and writer Anka Herbut, have taken this original story, added a much more recent (true?) story of a French film star who was also murdered her husband after she was filming in Vilnius, and turned the whole thing into a compelling, horrifying, hallucinogenic meditation on violence against women. There might even be a third murder. If I’m honest, details/clarity (at least when here coupled with surtitles) weren’t the piece’s strongest point. But in the same way as “please explain the plot of Inland Empire” isn’t really a thing, neither is it here. Instead of linear narrative clarity, we instead have this nightmarish journey into the heart of these murders, and into the minds of these men who murder women. Towards the end, there’s even this attempt to try to reconstruct the thoughts of a man about to murder his partner – an attempt deliberately doomed to failure. Of course. But the piece itself reflects on and revolves around this unknowability. [I should add/reassure that it absolutely doesn’t glorify violence against women, nor needlessly fetishise it for entertainment. (There is one shot of a woman – presumably dead – lying naked on a bed, which could have been lost, but maybe even this is a comment on that trope, rather than an example of it).]

What’s really compelling here, however, is the stagecraft. The thing opens (a bit like Dead Centre’s Lippy) with “the director,” and eventually his whole team, talking about their rationales for making the piece. While interesting in its own right, this also sets up the audience perfectly and effortlessly with a way to approach watching it. There then follows one of the best bits of lighting-design-as-performance that I’ve seen. Again, reminiscent of the David Lynch aesthetic, but at the same time completely theatrical. From this, the thing starts to move into a version of the Katie Mitchell camera show, as if reimagined by the Frank Castorf/Gob Squad camera show (as it were). I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it’s the best video work I’ve ever seen on stage. If anything, it’s more like Sebastian Schipper’s film Victoria than anything you’re used to seeing on stage: there’s both the fluidity and anarchy of Castorf but with the eye for a decent shot of Mitchell’s video collaborators, but without the static painterliness.

As it happens, a fascinating thing happened the night I saw Lokis: about twenty minutes from then end, the live-feed went completely dead. The entire rest of everything continued, and someone came out into the middle of the stage – as if totally intentional – and told a strange story/joke about a rabbit in a wood(?). Or something. Then the scene that had cut out started again. Given the rest of the show, it was genuinely impossible to say for sure whether it was a real mistake, a slightly odd dramaturgical decision, or actually great. I’d have been happy with any option as the “correct” explanation. 

Similarly, while it’s not a piece which really draws attention to its actors (the style and anti-narrative really militate against it), you do eventually notice just how great they are – just really subtle, understated, naturalistic-but-not kind of acting that communicates everything you need to know without somehow making communication the point. 

So, yes: while in places at time-of-watching it felt slightly “over-long,” on reflection, I don’t think I’ve have wanted them to cut anything to “streamline” it. I was never bored, and it was great just to be able to sit back and have the senses assaulted by this maelstrom of smoke and strobes and music and video, executed with rare panache, exploring something curdled at the heart of humanity. 

The Animal // Łukasz Drewniak, Teatralny.pl, 2017-10-02

The Animal

 

Łukasz Drewniak, Teatralny.pl, 2017-10-02

 

This is not about technique, miracles of set design or camera games – it is about a reality that teaches the actors to speak differently. Twarkowski, Herbut, Sakowicz, Misala and other members of the team showed the Lithuanians a fragment of the world of mediations, materialized visions and premonitions, voiced things that have not been voiced. In no part of the performance, at no moment can we feel the fear or doubt that something might go wrong or be misunderstood by the audience, or that the actors may fail to perform. We are the masters of the situation, everything will be accomplished, each scene will be coped with, filled with exclusive meanings.

Now I am in Vilnius, in a theater hall, watching an innovative play Vilnius has never seen before and the progressive Polish theater has not been able to produce for quite some time.

“Lokis” is an ambitious and awfully courageous performance. Original and ground-breaking. Mysterious and metaphysical.

Twarkowski's actors create ad-hoc roles, filming themselves from strange angles, tempting with intimacy, and shutting the doors at once. There will be no meanings, only intuitions. The rhythm. Harsh montage. Subconscious signals. We get to see only fragments of the performance that takes place on the stage, obstructed from our view by a container. We get angry because we feel that the truth is being deliberately concealed from us.

We are already waking up from this performance, from the trance, from the hypnotic hunger for the truth that doesn’t exist. The Lithuanians leave the auditorium overwhelmed by the magnitude of this performance, the hypocrisy of the puzzle every pixel of which has been programmed. After the theater there is no reality, there was only what we saw on the screen and behind it. Cantat did not kill Marie in Vilnius. There is no Vilnius. There is only Twarkowski. We are in his head.

A thick, unbearable play.

 

Vitaminas C, Anti-Lupa, The Wells Of (Post)truth and (Post)theater etc. [extracts] // Jūratė Visockaitė, „Literatūra ir menas“, 2017-09-22

Vitaminas C, Anti-Lupa, The Wells Of (Post)truth and (Post)theater etc. [extracts] 

 

Jūratė Visockaitė, „Literatūra ir menas“, 2017-09-22

The decibels of sound kill our hearing, and the bright screen suddenly flashing in the dark – our eyesight. But there was a warning on the theater door for those concerned about their health! There was also a deliberate grammatical mistake in the title. Theter can do anything!

The actors were fantastic. This time, I can justify manipulations with a portable camera when it’s held right in front of the actor’s face. Perhaps the reason for this is that the action on the stage is too abstract, impenetrable and chaotic, and close-ups make situations more concrete by allowing us to see the deformed, but eloquent, faces. In them – yes! – one really can read the main themes of this drama: love and death, beast versus man, a beauty  and a beast. The actors, especially the actresses Airida Gintautaite and Dovilė Šilkaitytė, look like silent film stars. (I love silent cinema, I can feel its imminent renaissance, so progressive theater directors, don’t miss your chance.)

The text? There are many textual streams all around. Here the voices play the function of “live music”. Songs by B. Cantat, after all, are played from a record, and so are the apocalyptic compositions of Bogumil Misala , and the actors’ voices create the effect of a live broadcast. Why not? If you need to, you can read P. Mérimée’s novella about pagan Samogitia, watch the intriguing documentary about V. Luckus’ life “Master and Tatyana”, listen the heart-breaking song “Les Écorchés” by Noir Désir, whose scenic image adds a poignant finishing touch to the production – another production our theater can be proud of.

 

We are not what we want to be [extracts] // Alma Braškytė, „7 meno dienos“, Nr. 30 (1224) 2017-09-22

We are not what we want to be [extracts]


Alma Braškytė, „7 meno dienos“, Nr. 30 (1224) 2017-09-22

The National Drama Theater opened the season with a performance that combines the main dimensions of the theater: reflection of the present (going deeper and wider than merely covering day-to-day events) and the creation of a theater language that is adequate to the present. The starting point were the novel “Lokis” by the French Romantic writer Prosper Mérimée (1869) and the life stories of the French singer Bertrand Cantat and the Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus (1943-1987). The international creative team – a Polish director and video artist Lukasz Twarkowski, a playwright from Poland Anka Herbut, a French set designer Fabien Lédé, a Polish composer Bogumił Misala, a Polish choreographer Paweł Sakowicz, a Polish video artist Jakub Lech, a Lithuanian lights designer Eugenijus Sabaliauskas and a selected group of Lithuanian actors – took on a difficult task of investigating the dark, irrational, destructive aspects of human nature, getting rid of even that formal support that the framework of a well-known literary narrative would guarantee. What’s left of the Mérimée novella “Lokis” (that’s the original name of the book, the play is also called “Lokis”), are only the characters, driven by the same motifs, yet very transformed and moved into present times, a few roughly outlined situations and a quote or two.

And that’s understandable. Taking on a romantic story about a count, a half-man, half-bear creature, who, in the heat of passion on his wedding night kills his bride by a bite to her throat and disappears in the forest, would be equal to inertia and trying to maintain an unnecessary tradition. However, ridiculing the problem of the black holes in the human psyche (I have to use the metaphor, because we do not really know enough about the human psyche to be able to feel safe), which steal our days or hours, and sometimes even take lives, would simply be naive. While this naive strategy – to mock obsolete problems and imagine that by doing so you have solved them – seems to be a tendency nowadays. The authors of the performance rise against such games of self-deception: not trusting the familiar forms – neither the literary nor the theatrical language – they set themselves the ambitious goal (in truth, the only one that’s worthy of effort) of getting to the essence (I don’t feel confident to use the word “truth”). The tragic lives of Cantat and Luckus confirm that this is a worthwhile and necessary task.

But most importantly, letting the actors exist on stage without playing, getting rid of fictional mise-en-scenes that are meant to help the actors to adapt and hide, gains special weight and value in the realm of the questions addressed by the performance. Next to the theme of the falsification of truth that public opinion makers engage in, there is the issue of the image as a means of manipulating reality (concerning posing as well as avoiding the truth and the unknown).

Marie, who plays the main character in an artistically dubious TV series, who is forced to obey her mother, the imperious film director Nadine Trintignant (the scene of shooting an episode for Colette wonderfully, with a note of comedy, played by Nelė Savičenko and the other two actors is a miracle of accuracy, sensitivity and sense of humor) who cast her own daughter and grandson as lovers in her film (again, the delicate and sensitive Arnas Danusas), is exhausted both physically and spiritually, perhaps, from the complicated love and family ties, and unable to continue to be the same woman for her lover, who followed her to the rooms of a hotel in a city far far away.

Meanwhile the further explanation of the inexplicable tragic ending is in the song “Les écorchés” by Bertrand Cantat’s band Noir Désir (the English translation of the lyrics can be found online) – about those who have no skin, who need a more painful dose of pain as a painkiller. No mystification, no justification for violence – the performance is certainly not some cheap advocacy for violence. But while in the first act the story is rendered in a more traditional way, the second act is composed of an array of images of dark and stuffy rooms roamed by the characters. Then the audience is immersed it in a disco beat that turns off thinking. What is the answer? You can only hope for one if you have never experienced the limits of emotional pain, if you have never stopped yourself at the temptation to cross the line, if you have never felt that the only thing that alleviates the pain is harder pain and then realized that the only thing that alleviates pain is tenderness. The performance’s investigation goes back to the beginning. In a corridor of their hotel Airida Gintautaitė-Marie and Darius Gumauskas-Bertrand are unable to find the key. And they just smile at each other.

Party in a Theater Chair [extracts] // Vaidas Jauniškis, „Verslo žinios“, 2017-09-22

Party in a Theater Chair [extracts]

 

Vaidas Jauniškis, „Verslo žinios“, 2017-09-22

The director and his excellent creative team set up an extremely high quality techno attack of sounds and images, offering the audience a rather lengthy party, yet watching it from a traditional theater chair eventually gets boring. It would make more sense to warn the audience beforehand that the performance lasts from 18.30 to 21.30 and the spectators are welcome to enter and leave the auditorium at any time. That would be totally in line with the genre. Yet now we can only passively follow the camera operators and argue with the director whether “Image is everything”, as it is repeatedly written on the screen.

I found the phrase, “I don’t know where I am going, but I like it,” repeated in the second act of the performance, much more interesting.

The experience of a different kind of being on stage here is definitely an advantage – for the actors rather than for the performance. Also, for the audience – to learn to see differently. What about the target audience? Open the doors and see who comes in.

The Dancing Bodies of Lokis [extracts] // Dovilė Statkevičienė, menufaktura.lt, 2017-09-17

The Dancing Bodies of Lokis [extracts] 

 

Dovilė Statkevičienė, menufaktura.lt, 2017-09-17

The first premiere of 2017 at the Lithuanian National Drama Theater’s Great Hall, “Lokis”, came out of the realm of the images of reality and entered the sphere of dreams in which the viewer was allowed to fall into fierce theatrical sleep with all its nightmares. Finally, we can talk about the theater not as a way of interpretive communication, hoping for understanding, but as an emotion-and-impulse-triggering machine. The audience is sucked into this machine not thanks to the actors, but thanks to the environment surrounding them, which has its own blood circulation: in other words, this is not about the beast itself or its manifestations in man, but about the beastliness that’s hanging in the air and the sense of boiling blood resulting from it. And while the audience is looking from where the blood flows and why it is boiling, the beast itself is calmly standing in a corner of the stage with a lifeless crumbling face, testifying to the sadness pouring through the eye pits. Why is the bear sad? Why does the bear attack? And who of us is the next bear?

The driving force of the performance is not its dramaturgy, but the musical and visual constructs that together make a perfectly complete acoustic / visual architecture (lights designer – Eugenijus Sabaliauskas, set designer – Fabien Lédé, composer – Bogumił Misala). The supports of the architectural plan – a moving white shining screen, the mobile room boxes and shelves with plants – create a stage monster, slowly moving its limbs and having many heads, zoomed in and out in real time by the cameras. All these heads do not seem to know where they are going to, but they still keep on going because I don’t know where I'm going, but I like it. The robot vacuum cleaners moving around the stage, each of them having a pot with lush green plants on it, are absolutely full-fledged objects that establish the post-dramatism of the action: instead of being accessories to the environment, these plants are actively living their own lives – during the intermission they even go out to “socialize” at the theater lobby. Finally, the object has been brought on stage not as a prop, but as a visual being: you can almost hear it hum the schematic song of the photosynthesis. Musical effects have a life of their own too: in the beginning presented as a joke and even tried out by the audience, they end up becoming the thickest bearskin, the fiercest force.

The feeling most clearly broadcast by the apparatus (this word really fits here) of the performance is the horror of unpredictability: not only do I not know where I am going, but I do not know who I am going to be the next moment, what my hands will do, where my eyes will look, what I shall bite, who I shall eat. In the novella count Szemiot says, “Have you ever found yourself at the top of the tower or on the edge of a precipice feeling an enormous wish to throw yourself down and, at the same time, being scared by the very thought of it?” The duality of emotions, laconically discussed by Vainius Sodeika and Darius Gumauskas at the end of the play, makes all these characters seem as indescribable, unfathomable beasts rather than people.

Nelė Savičenko is the most powerful beast-like person in the play. She stops the time of the performance in a good way. The most brilliant moment disappearing time: Nadine Trintignant’s waiting on the movie set of Collette. Her slow, pointless movements, her expressionless face, aimless walking and her blank stare create the feeling of the perfect pause. We are given only a few minutes to enjoy the sight of a face that says nothing and just is, but we would do it for half an hour if we could. Elžbieta Latėnaitė is engaged in a similar destruction of time: the way she lies down on the bed at the end, the way she bends her knees and puts her arms under her head erases the surrounding space and drowns everything in the sadness, or, perhaps, weakness of her actions. In general, time measurement is somewhat disturbed in the performance, which is why one feels like ascribing the characteristics of a dream to it: it begins anywhere, it stops anywhere, then it begins again and develops in abnormal, irrational trajectories.

Although the first act seems to contain everything the performance is about, the second being a much weaker echo of the first one, the remarkably drawn out party in the second act (a parallel with the wedding party in the novella by Mérimée), sticks to our memory as a poster. When this celebration seems to never end, it doesn’t, we get bored and tired of it, then again it seems to never end, and it doesn’t, but for some reason the endless proliferation of images keeps us continuously enthralled. The cameras take the viewers into the height, width, length, and depth of the stage, like into the boundless beastliness of the human being. Finally you lose track of who, where, and how manipulates the volumes of the stage’s architecture, let yourself be overflowed and then you actually start dreaming, and lose control of the dream – or maybe yourself – whether you like it or not.

Interview

Interview with Łukasz Twarkowski // Daiva Šabasevičienė, 15min.lt, 2017-09-13

 

Interview with Łukasz Twarkowski

Daiva Šabasevičienė, 15min.lt, 2017-09-13

 

Director Łukasz Twarkowski. Photo by Roland Okon. 

You began with Prosper Mérimée, but decided to include another two complicated stories in the performance. Why?

Prosper Mérimée and “Lokis” are only one of the components of the play with many unknown variables. When Martynas Budraitis and I first talked about “Lokis” as the starting material for the work at the Lithuanian National Drama Theater, I was mostly interested in the artistic quality of the story and a possibility of creating a psychological thriller in a theater. However, after reading the text several times I realized it was not enough. All of a sudden I came up with so many questions and topics. The relationship with the author became stronger, and the map of his text opened previously unknown spaces to us. It is an attempt to go on a journey with the writer’s thoughts instead of clinging to his story. Therefore, the name of our performance is not the Lithuanian word LOKYS, but the title of the original French book – LOKIS. This at first sight insignificant mistake or ambiguity was felt from the very beginning of the work.

When I read the short story by Mérimée, I immediately remembered the tragic story of Bertrand Cantat and Marie Trintignant, which for many Europeans is one of the first associations when hearing the name of Vilnius. Cantat admitted in one of his interviews that the most terrible thing that had happened to him was that he became a symbol of violence against women. Of course, we are not talking about an assessment of his guilt – rather, about the image created by the media: the image of a monster.

Vitas Luckus naturally became the third drama figure. In his case, we are more interested in what he could have said as a photographer, which is why his notes on the image were the most important source of inspiration for us.

Not only did you work on the performance, you also became investigators. What were the most important discoveries you made in “Lokis”? What is the importance of the mockumentary made of three different stories to the modern world?

With regard to “Lokis”, it is a fundamental question, and the term ‘mockumentary’ is another important element in the equation. In recent years, we have been seeing a breakthrough of mockumentary films, and international festivals even form separate sections for such films, although this type of film appeared a long time ago. For some reason, recently there has been a significant interest in this type of art. I see a certain crack in the wall between documentary and feature film, which for a very long time was deemed impenetrable, as a very symptomatic sign of the present world. I don’t know why this is happening, but I am constantly experiencing an increasing sense of unreality. It resembles the Baudrillard’s simulacra and simulation theory and Disneyland, which had to emerge in the United States, in order to make this completely unrealistic life a reality. Therefore Mérimée's “Lokis” can be regarded as a kind of protomocumentary.

Another key word is POSTTRUTH, which in 2016 was recognized as the word of the year by the Oxford dictionaries. It is mostly related to politics, but it is becoming more and more important to other areas of our medialized life.

When does man become a beast and vice versa?

In the case of “Lokis” we should probably rephrase the question, especially if we look at the novella from the position of the anthropocentric era. Of course, Mérimée uses the image of a beast in a specific context. He develops his drama according to the culture-nature line, adhering to the principles of romanticism. I do not know if such a division is still relevant in the modern world. In a beast, the 19th century man saw his numerous fears: the fear of the unknown, the fear of things that are beyond his control, things that do not succumb to his analysis based on common sense.

I feel that along with the development of science, our fears have moved to other areas as well.

The rapid development of neurobiology and nanotechnology, the growing understanding of how our brain functions, and the inevitable creation of artificial intelligence, are factors redrawing the map of our fears in the contemporary consciousness.  

The performance was created by a large group of Polish artists. All actors are Lithuanian. How did you develop this team? What was important to you in the selection process?

Most of the members of the team from Poland are interdisciplinary artists from the “Identity Problem Group”, which we set up six years ago. We create joint theater productions, multimedia installations, short films and forms of marginal art. Long-term collaborative work gives us the opportunity to continue the search both in the formal field and in the development of various idioms that are especially important in our work. This is our second project with the French set designer Fabien Lédé, and our first cooperation with the famous young Polish choreographer Paweł Sakowicz.

Selecting the actors was the hardest. We agreed that we would organize an open audition and the actors’ interest in it exceeded our wildest expectations. The theater received more than a hundred applications. During auditions, the most important thing for me was meeting the artists rather than looking at the range of their abilities as actors. We would talk for a long time, and then the actors would be left alone in front of the movie camera – without any task or role. We had not set any time period that each participant had to spend in the audition room. Anka Herbut and I left Vilnius really impressed by the multitude of great artists we had had the opportunity of meeting, carrying hours of film footage. Using these meetings as a basis, we tried to create an artistic situation that would allow us to reveal the topics we were focusing on.

Dovilė, Algis and Teklė – respectively responsible for the costumes, lights and assisting the playwright – joined the creative team from the Lithuanian side.

Your process of working with the actors was a very long and interesting one. What can you say about them? How different are Lithuanian actors from Polish actors, if at all?

In every project, one of the most important things to me is having a very long rehearsal period. I have to create a common micro-world, set common goals together with the creative team and the actors, create an environment and a language that would help us move in that environment easily. I never come to the first rehearsal with a pre-written script in my hands – all the elements of the performance are developed in the rehearsal process, with the participation of the whole group. Therefore, the beginning can often be the hardest, requiring trust from both sides, openness to the unknown and things that can emerge during improvisations. Speaking of “Lokis”, we could feel the actors’ extraordinary commitment to the project all the time: from the hours-long conversations, motion exercises and improvisations to the first rehearsals with a movie camera. We were partners having a common creative adventure, eager to express our thoughts and determined to share responsibility for the outcome.

You are a polyphonic director: you create video projections for Krystian Lupa’s productions (in Lithuania you were awarded with the Golden Cross of the Stage scene for video projections for the Heroes’ Square) as well as your own plays. How do you combine or, to be more precise, separate all these activities?

At first, there were interdisciplinary projects where I was responsible for directing, the script, lights, translation, and sometimes I would be the producer. In several productions, I was a coauthor of the set design and lighting. Together with the IP Group, we have created many projects that were presented at film festivals and contemporary art exhibitions. I don’t want to close myself in the theater, and interdisciplinary projects seem far more interesting to me than theatrical performances. For several years now, I have been making video projections for Krystian Lupa’s productions. In general, I feel the most comfortable in the video environment and cannot imagine our performances without this tool. I express my thoughts with the help of the camera – it plays a different, special role in each project. Of course, the term “video” hides a whole set of imaging techniques or devices, based on which we try to create our own narrative; I mean Kinect, VR equipment, various ways to transmit and recreate the video signal in current time. Working in different areas and in different contexts really allows you to keep the freshness of your perspective and protects you from getting stuck in a rut.

What does Krystian Lupa mean to you? Why do you want to work with him? Is it a school of life?

I began as Krystian Lupa’s assistant and translator more than ten years ago. Without a doubt, this creative meeting was of utmost importance to me and had an incredible impact on my life. Krystian Lupa is an artist who does not accept compromises. His commitment to his theater may even seem scary to a young artist. But he seems to draw from an endless source: in every project with a maniacal scrupulousness he creates his infinite imagery world anew. He is often called the youngest theater director in Poland. Everyone wants to know his secret. 

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