Ronald Duncan. ABELARD AND HELOISE Premiere

  • Director

    Rokas RAMANAUSKAS

  • Duration

    1 h 30 min (one act)

  • Stage

    Arts Printing House, Vilnius

  • Premiere date

    6 February, 2020

  • N-14

About

Translator from English - Rita Kosmauskienė

The love story of Heloise and Abelard is among the most famous ones, mentioned alongside Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Orpheus and Eurydice. Director Rokas Ramanauskas offers a different approach to the medieval drama – the story of Heloise, turned into a nun against her wishes in the 12th century and Abelard, who was severely punished for his love, is set in our times. Dressed in jeans, Heloise confesses her love for Abelard over the phone and Abelard uses a video camera instead of paper. Another unexpected directorial solution is to make the actors Elžbieta Latėnaitė and Povilas Budrys discuss the story during the performance. Together being part of the tragic love story of Heloise and Abelard, they talk about modern relationships between men and women, demonstrating everyday life that could never be seen from the love letters.

 “I find that love story hypertrophied. There is a lot of sophistication and cheesiness in it. The actors and I discussed what the love story was really like, what lies beneath the letters. When you try to depict this, you run into everyday situations that emerged during rehearsals. The actors “jump” into modern vernacular, talk about how they understand or justify the material, based on their own experiences and memories. And just like Heloise and Abelard, Povilas and Elžbieta have fairly different life experiences and value priorities. To me, this is the most interesting. So there will be biographical things in the performance – I am not interested in working only with the literary text. We look at the differences when the actors perform the text of the play and when they express their own thoughts, as well as at the differences between communication through love letters and in daily life,” says Rokas Ramanauskas.

Abelard and Heloise lived in the twelfth century. In the 1100s, Pierre Abelard went to Paris to study at the cathedral school of Notre-Dame. He gained a reputation as a famous philosopher and theologian, so Fulbert, a canon at Notre Dame, hired him to educate his niece, Heloise. Abelard and Heloise fell in love, secretly married, and had a child. Upon discovering this, Heloise’s uncle was furious, so in order to protect his beloved, Abelard sent her to a convent. Fulbert interpreted this as Abelard’s attempt to get rid of Heloise and told his servants to castrate Abelard. The humiliated Abelard became a monk and devoted his life to science. The heartbroken Heloise became a nun. Despite their separation, they remained in love and expressed their love in letters.

Their letters were translated in the twentieth century by a British writer Ronald Duncan, on whose work the play directed by Rokas Ramanauskas is based. According to the director, several different periods intersect in the performance: the story that took place in the twelfth century, the love letters printed in the twentieth century and their 21st century interpretation by the creators of the play.

Dates

  • October 28 (Wed), 19:00 Arts Printing House, Vilnius
  • October 30 (Fri), 19:00 Arts Printing House, Vilnius

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Creators

  • Director — Rokas RAMANAUSKAS
  • Set Designer — Dainius LIŠKEVIČIUS
  • Light designer — Vilius VILUTIS
  • Director's Assistant — Mindaugas JUSČIUS

Cast

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