CHILDREN OF ICE

  • Director

    Birutė MAR

  • Duration

    1 h 20 min (one act)

  • Stage

    Second Stage

  • Premiere date

    January 11, 2015

About

A play in one act based on memoirs of author’s parents, Lithuanian exiles in Siberia (1941-1956)

Birutė Mar: "In 1939 Germany took control of the Klaipeda region. In 1940 Soviet tanks entered the Lithuanian territory thus starting the Soviet occupation. On the infamous day of June 14th, 1941, around 17.000 Lithuanian residents have been deported, mostly educated people: teachers, white-collar workers and farmers. Slow death from starvation and cold was the destiny of most of the deported. My parents who were children at the time were also deported along with their families. Fate had it that they were brought up in a yurt on the cape of the Laptev Sea.

I had been conceiving this performance for a long time, slowly gathering information piece by piece about life in exile. My parents were raised on the “frozen land”, in Siberia, on the Laptev Sea shore. However, they never talked about their childhood because talking about it was a taboo and thus would have got us all in danger. Most probably they were protecting their children from their own experiences by keeping the memories buried deep within. Only after 1991, when first publications of exile memoirs came out did I find out about the life of my parents there. At that time a yurt was built in the Rumšiškės Open Air Museum of Lithuania symbolizing a “national” Lithuanian house in which thousands of Lithuanians lived in Siberia. And I witnessed with my own eyes what kind of house my parents were living in as children.

My parents and grandparents suffered pain which remained locked and untold. I started thinking about the performance as if it were a kind of consecration helping to live the pain hidden inside us and within the nation’s memory. This pain stirs up fear and horror as well as the eternal question: why? It evokes danger and fright: if tomorrow history repeats, will we be torn from our land, homes, history once again?

They say that once you tell your most compelling stories and thus experience them again, a relief comes. Fear and horror that had been locked deep down, start to fade away. If we decide to voice our fears on the stage, to raise the “sod” and speak about them to the new generation, we have to explain that our national genes contain unconscious fears and low self-esteem. We have to bear witness to the events that took place in the past and were impossible to experience for the young. We have to teach them a lesson in survival. I also want to live on stage the stories of my parents and in this way to know and understand them better, to sympathize and possibly free them from the burden. I dedicate this performance to my parents and all exiles who have innocently encountered the terrible fate.

*Authentic extracts from the poetry of the exiles, Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s book “Lithuanians at the Laptev Sea” and Eglė Gudonytė’s book “Generation from Siberia”, are used in the play.

** Photographs used in the performance are from the collections of the Lithuanian National Museum, KGB Museum, family archives. Illustrations used courtesy of artist Gintautas Martynaitis

***Choral songs performed by “Aidija” choir

 

 

Dates

  • December 08 (Sun), 19:00 Theatre „Meno fortas“

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Creators

  • Author, director and performer — Birutė MAR
  • Set designer — Kristina NORVILAITĖ
  • Costume designer — Indrė PAČĖSAITĖ
  • Composer — Antanas KUČINSKAS
  • Director assistant — Sigita MIKALAUSKAITĖ

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