EGLĖ THE QUEEN OF SERPENTS. Inspired by Elfriede's Jelinek play “Die Schutzbefohlenen” Premiere

  • Director

    Oskaras KORŠUNOVAS

  • Duration

    2 h

  • Premiere date

    29 September, 2016

  • Performance takes place in Red Cross hospital


Coproducer - OKT / Vilnius city theatre

In January 2013, 70 asylum seekers occupied a Viennese church to draw attention of the society and government to their plight. The protest was mostly against the inhuman conditions at the refugee camp in the vicinity of Vienna. Protesters demanded better interpreters, permits to work, possibility for their children to attend schools and more stability in the camp, where almost every day came with an announcement of new internal rules. Most of them were threatened with death if deported to their native lands. Many were then deported from Austria in the following summer. This event was the point for the writer Elfriede Jelinek to write the play “Die Schutzbefohlenen”. While staging the piece, Oskaras Koršunovas chooses to use additional texts in order to put the event in a wider perspective.

Director Oskaras Koršunovas: This theme has deeply disturbed me. I can remember the disaster after which the picture of a drowned boy was all over the press. At that time I was staging “Our Class” in Oslo. These events are always very near us. Even if they happened a long time ago, they can potentially repeat. I was mostly shocked by the contrast of reactions to this in Norway and Lithuania. When I stumbled upon comments on a news website here, I found no empathy for refugees. Most commentators said “It serves their right”, “These are cowards, not men, they did not save their families”. Some went further than that, saying things like “There will be enough space for all in Auschwitz”. I was really shaken.

In Lithuania, we have many inner fears that are pure fiction. But in fact we should fear nothing but ourselves. And we should fear ourselves because there is so much darkness and corruption around. We can’t point to external factors, we can’t demonize others, we can’t justify our inbility to do things by external threats.

I think this production is important and well-timed for Lithuania. It speaks about the people’s unwillingness to know. They are unwilling to understand that we share the world with others, perhaps with foreigners but the question is about how we find the ways to live together. And here we find ourselves on a perplexing psychological terrain, which can’t be justified by ignorance.


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