84th Season of Strong Experiences


Don't go to the theater because you’ll get used to that. Don't go to the theater because it will hurt and ache. Don't go to the theater because you'll get infected. Don't go to the theater because it will remind you of what you don't want to look at, where you don't want to turn your mind, and what we all are used to turning away from. This period is a time of a new kind of sensitivity when everything is split into black and white in a second, when people can easily turn away from you, when you are prone to throw stones at others, and when an opinion is the greatest weapon. It is a time when we get offended by what we used to take for granted, and when we dare to stand up and speak out, but at the same time we are forced to remain silent because we are silenced. Don't go to the theater if you are afraid of misunderstanding someone and being misunderstood. Don't go to the theater if you don't want to see the pus of society oozing out of a wound, or hear the screams of the person standing in front of you. Don't go to the theater because you will have to think, fight, and react. Don't go to the theater because it's a place of a poignant encounter between privilege and poverty, between those in positions of power and those who have their place decided by someone else. Finally, don't go to the theater if you are afraid of death – the real death and the one that reminds you of mortality: the loss of the planet, the disconnection, the altered state of consciousness, the openness, the rebellion of bodies, the struggle for identity, the conflict of generations. Don’t go to the theater if you are afraid to live.

The 84th season of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre will be an intense experience, and we warn you that when you come to this season's premieres, the shock may be long-lasting. As we create, we are constantly asking ourselves: does theatre truly change us and our lives? Not the plays of the streets and the squares, not the performances in the stands and the meetings, but the fiction that actors make real. This season is an attempt to understand whether the art of theatre can become an event for us and leave a lasting mark on our consciousness.

The first premiere of the season is "Roulette" by the well-known Norwegian director and choreographer Jo Strømgren in the New Hall of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre (LNDT). Having already proved that reflection requires distance with his performance "The Door" five years ago, Jo Strømgren, who analyzed the traits and flaws of the Lithuanian national character there, this time explores what kind of dreams and desires are so trapped in our hearts that they can only be released by intoxicants. The scenes, which spin on the stage like a roulette, are presented by the director and the actors as a situational comedy, where each character tries to escape everyday life in hopes of experiencing at least a temporary feeling of happiness while intoxicated. We invite both young and old audiences to this premiere, knowing that routine and the desire to escape from it are relevant for all age groups. The premiere is on 6 September.

Yana Ross, returning to LNDT after a six-year hiatus, is preparing intensively for the premiere in the Small Hall. Her performance "Consider the Lobster" is one of the flagships of this season's concept – the creative team will explore our ability to understand the pain of the other. Can we identify with a live lobster being boiled? Can we compare the chefs cooking the lobster, who leave the kitchen so as not to see its suffering, to people who turn away from a suffering neighbor? What are the limits of empathy and what are the circumstances that define them? We will be looking for answers from 21 September.

This year the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre will open the doors of the Great Hall for a short time. The partially reconstructed hall will host the legendary LNDT productions "Lokis", "The Banishment", "Tartuffe", and "The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet". On 1 December, the most anticipated premiere of the season – a contemporary opera directed by LNDT artistic director Kamilė Gudmonaitė – will be presented there. In mid-February, the Great Hall will close again until the start of the new season (autumn 2024) to complete the reconstruction works.

The taxophone opera "Things I Didn't Dare to Say, and It's Too Late Now", directed by Kamilė Gudmonaitė, is a joint project of the LNDT, the public institution Operomanija and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The work is an excellent example of collaboration between two national cultural institutions and a public institution that has been actively changing the field of new opera.  In this contemporary opera, Kamilė Gudmonaitė will bring together live orchestral music, chorus and actors, and visual arts, so that we can experience saying goodbye to those who are no longer with us, or with whom we have had painfully terminated ties. It is an occasion for a collective cleansing, a ritual that unites all those who have loved and those who have lost someone. We invite you to the premiere in the Great Hall on 1 to 3 December.

We are delighted that the repertoire of the Small Hall will be supplemented by a new performance for a very demanding audience – children. Based on the book "Siberian Haiku" by Jurga Vilė, the survival guide for little ones is directed by Augustas Gornatkevičius, whose children's play "The Emil of Emils" was nominated for the Golden Stage Cross in 2021. The director is accompanied by Golden Stage Cross winner, screenwriter, director, and playwright Birutė Kapustinskaitė.

Laura Kutkaitė, who won the main prize in Dresden for her performance "Silence of the Sirens" in the "Fast Forward" competition for young theatre directors, returns to LNDT's Small Hall with her performance "The Breast of Tiresias" based on Guillaume Apollinaire's work. The director and her collaborators will turn the play, considered a manifesto of surrealism, into a choreographic dream about anger, tenderness, and the attempts of the different genders to communicate.

As we enter 2024, the Small Hall will also present a production by LNDT Artistic Director Antanas Obcarskas. "A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction" is part of the STAGES sustainable theatre project run by LNDT together with twelve of Europe's most renowned theatres. Antanas Obcarskas's play, which will be performed using electricity generated only by bicycles during the performance, will tell the story of the ever-deepening human footprint on the Earth, the consequences of which were unexpectedly felt this summer when Europe was devastated by the fires and storms caused by climate change.

The season will close with Lithuanian theatre master Gintaras Varnas preparing for the audience a biting satire entitled "Victor, or Power to the Children", based on a work by surrealist Roger Vitrac. It is a vigilant look at those of us who succumb to the desire to be ruled and give up our freedom to decide for an illusory moment of peace. The director returns to the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre after his 2016 play "The Myth of Oedipus" and continues his exploration of imagination that is inspired by social reality.

Come to a theatre that doesn't lie to you and doesn't beautify reality. Come to premieres that will give you new ideas. Come and see how new and old productions change and grow, how you change when you watch them. Discover what kind of theatre you love.


 LNDT Artistic Directors Kamilė Gudmonaitė, Antanas Obcarskas, and Eglė Švedkauskaitė