82 SEASON

The Theatre Is Coming Home

The 82nd Season of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre

 

Jonas Mekas (1922–2019), one of the most famous Lithuanian artists of the twentieth century, wrote in his diary: ‘Today they ask me, “All is good?” I say, “What is the good that you want?” “Oh, you know what we all want: home.”’ The Lithuanian National Drama Theatre begins its 82nd season by gradually returning home to its renewed spaces. Oskaras Koršunovas, the artistic director of the LNDT, is convinced: ‘Theatre must be creative, diverse and high-quality. I am responsible for that quality and I know what responsibility means: it means doing everything I can to make sure that the productions of directors in our theatre are their best productions.’

It is symbolic that the new season of the LNDT will begin in the New Hall, which will complement the theatre’s previous performance spaces. On 9 September, the premiere of Solaris 4 will take place in this 350-seat auditorium. Based on the novel by Stanisław Lem (1921–2006), the world-renowned science fiction writer, the play is directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, a Polish director, who is famous across Europe. The director thus describes the main themes of the play: ‘How can we communicate with other civilizations if we cannot get through to one another? We cannot understand even ourselves, our own consciousness, the mysteries that lie in ourselves and not in the cosmos. It is this impenetrability that interests me the most; it is the ocean that hides the baggage of our past, our experiences, our traumas, our dreams, as well as the experience of our ancestors that is inscribed in the cells of our body’.

One of the goals of Oskaras Koršunovas, the artistic director of the LNDT, is to make sure that good productions are staged and that no dead productions are left in the repertoire. ‘Lithuania has an outstanding young generation of directors. This season, the theatre will help them to realise their ideas. This ‘Y’ generation has arrived with its own worldview and its own conception of theatre. And, of course, we have to think about even younger artists, those who making their debut’, says Oskaras Koršunovas. ‘My main task as an artistic director is to creatively activate the theatre company. The important goal is to create a theatre which would be the desired destination of the best Lithuanian and foreign directors. Our ambition is to make this theatre visible in Europe. Located in a very interesting geopolitical position, between East and West, we will take this into account and cooperate with our neighbours’.

Thus the bill of the new season of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre will include the names of both experienced and debuting directors. In October, the New Hall will host the premiere of The Writer of the Night by the world-renowned Belgian artist, playwright, director, choreographer, and designer Jan Fabre. It is a solo show starring Martynas Nedzinskas.

Presenting the main themes of this season, the artistic director Oskaras Koršunovas highlighted the futuristic line:

‘More than ever, now we are concerned about the future. We are concerned about the future not only because of Covid-19, but also because of the fundamental changes that have taken place in society and the world. We understand this. Like in the time of Anton Chekhov, tectonic fractures are developing, modernity clashes with tradition. In his works, Chekhov always talked about what would happen in a hundred years, what would happen in a few hundred years, whether the future needs us, and what our future is. What awaits our children and grandchildren? Therefore our season is inevitably futuristic’, says the artistic director.

In November, the premiere of Marius Ivaškevičius’s drama The Sleepers will be shown in the New Hall. ‘The audience is in for a surprise that is no lesser than Expulsion. In a way, The Sleepers is an even more intriguing performance. Written in 2016, this work has turned into a prophecy. As in his other plays – and in this one in particular – Marius Ivaškevičius succeeded in being highly original. On the one hand, he draws on good trends in playwriting, and on the other, his plays become a springboard for the playwright to speak about very serious themes. The play became relevant in the context of the pandemic, but this is a temporary thing. The central theme, the underlying problem is the new world that we are going to encounter, which is impenetrable to us, and which will make us very different people. In The Sleepers, this problem persists and that is the most interesting thing’, the director shares his thoughts as the company is approaching the end of rehearsals.

The 2022 marathon of premieres at the LNDT will begin in January. Eglė Švedkauskaitė, a director who is increasingly visible in the context of Lithuanian contemporary theatre, decided to stage the play Sulfur Magnolias by the contemporary Estonian playwright Martin Algus. In 2020, the reading of this play attracted the attention of theatre professionals at the Versmė festival of contemporary dramaturgy.

Reconstruction of the Small Hall is currently in full swing. It will seat around a hundred spectators and is scheduled to open in spring 2022. Laura Kutkaitė, a graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and Oskaras Koršunovas’s student, will open this hall that is primarily intended for young directors. She is directing a play based on the drama Krum by the Israeli director, writer, poet, and playwright Hanoch Levin (1943–1999), which has been staged in numerous theatres around the world.

The New Hall will also host the premiere by the tandem of a nominee and a recipient of the Golden Stage Cross, Antanas Obcarskas and Laurynas Adomaitis. They are working on the play Boxing, a sporting-mystical travel drama about two generations of boxers (co-production with the Utopia Theatre).

The opening of the 82nd season, the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre is accompanied by the first issue of the magazine Teatro Mūzos (The Theatre Muses, compiled by Daiva Šabasevičienė and Aušra Pociūtė, design by Lina Bastienė). It offers the theatre lovers a lot of intriguing material about the reconstruction of the theatre, its activities during the lockdown, about the sculptural group The Feast of the Muses by the sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma, which has become a symbol of the LNDT and the unveiling of which marked the theatre’s homecoming after three years of reconstruction. The magazine features interviews with the archaeologist Olegs Fediajevs, the heritage conservation expert Vitas Karčiauskas, the architect Gustė Kančaitė, restorers Janina Lukšėnienė, Rimvydas Derkintis, Vidmantas Valungevičius, and Arvydas Paulionis, the construction project manager Konstantinas Stechas, the former long-time theatre manager Pranas Treinys, also with Martynas Budraitis, director general of the LNDT, his deputies Aušra Pliaugiene and Ieva Skardžinskaite, and the technical manager Gediminas Ušackas. The artistic director Oskaras Koršunovas and playwright Marius Ivaškevičius share their thoughts on the creative plans of the theatre, while directors Grzegorz Jarzyna (Solaris 4) and Oskaras Koršunovas (The Sleepers) introduce the productions that open the new season.

 

Daiva Šabaevičienė

Theatre critic at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre