August Strindberg. THE GREAT HIGHWAY Premiere

  • Director

    Jonas VAITKUS

  • Duration

    3 h.

  • Stage

    Vilnius Film Cluster (Meistrų st. 12C, Vilnius)

  • Premiere date

    7 November, 2020

  • N-14

About

Translated from Swedish by Zita MAŽEIKAITĖ

The Great Highway (Stora landsvägen) is the last play by August Strindberg. The title of the play refers to Strindberg’s childhood street that led to a cemetery. It is no coincidence that his last drama is often seen as a testament or a theatrical self-portrait of the author. The play is like a journey down Strindberg’s memory lane, during which the protagonist meets his own character as well as other allegorical figures – among them the Traveler, the Child, the Tempter, and the Murderer. The Great Highway is an allegory, a summary of the playwright’s thoughts. Strindberg’s contemporaries criticized him for combining everyday and poetic language, for the lack of dramatism. The Great Highway stood out from the playwright’s work, but today many literary scholars see this play as a compelling way to convey the character’s fragile emotional and psychological state without overdramatizing it.

Director Jonas Vaitkus: “This last piece by the writer is a journey play with seven stations. It is a reflection of all his work – from concise prose to contrasting leaps towards symbolism and metaphors with gender opposition and sexual deviations. Arrhythmic poetry that talks about inner emotional states of a thinking person, without overdramatizing or overemphasizing the mortal destiny, without fear of being immersed in the stench of realism and naturalism, of adopting a satirically ironic view of the insoluble affairs of Heaven, Earth, and Man, of bravely acknowledging one’s own limitations. After all, you are doomed to die and therefore experience daily sorrow and suffering in the face of divine eternity. But you do not regard it as a punishment or a total evil against which you must rise or throw yourself into destructive atheistic or other extremes, even though there have been many who have killed themselves and killed millions. You simply accept it as a tragedy of something irreplaceable and inevitable, as a mandatory fee for the grace of existence, for the invaluable gift of eternity to be a conscious person in this tragedy that protects, heals, and purifies the soul.

I am not surprised that this play is unknown in Lithuania and has not been translated in Russia. It is very rarely staged even August Strindberg’s homeland.

The Great Highway exposes a human being as such, a human from any country, of any nationality, gender, color, and so on. A vulnerable human being in the face of eternity.

I think the time is right for August Strindberg to come to the troupe of the Lithuanian National Drama Theater and to the Lithuanian people, who are preparing to work on the creation of a welfare state.

Swedish writer and playwright August Strindberg (1849–1912) is one of the most important figures in theater, called the pioneer of modern theater. He is a playwright who has surpassed his time, whose work was an expression of all the literary schools and currents of his time. He is called a naturalist, a neo-romanticist, a pioneer of expressionism and surrealism in literature.

Strindberg not only wrote dramas, he also loved to experiment as a photographer and artist, his works are classified as abstract expressionism. Although Strindberg is well known far beyond Sweden, his work did not immediately receive attention, he was even ignored by Swedish society and accused of using sexual motifs to attract readers.

Dates

  • November 26 (Fri), 19:00 New Stage
  • November 27 (Sat), 19:00 New Stage
  • December 17 (Fri), 19:00 New Stage
  • December 18 (Sat), 19:00 New Stage

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Creators

  • Director — Jonas VAITKUS
  • Designer — Jonas ARČIKAUSKAS
  • Composer — Oleksandr ŠYMKO
  • Video Designer — Algimantas MIKUTĖNAS
  • Choreographers — Vesta GRABŠTAITĖ, Jonas VAITKUS
  • Light designer — Vilius VILUTIS
  • Director assistant — Regina GARUOLYTĖ
  • Composer's Assistant — Liudmyla ŠYMKO
  • Designer's Assistant — Dovilė GUDAČIAUSKAITĖ

Cast

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