After logging in, you'll be able to save your favorite works of art in this section. Read more about “My Collection” in the “Project” section.
Push slider to the right
Registration successful.
Username already exists!
Passwords do not match!
Slider error
You are almost done. To activate your account, please click the link in the activation email which has been sent to your email address ( )
A new password has been sent.
The Young Generation: Continuity and Discovery
Šarūnė Trinkūnaitė
The younger generation of directors that had debuted in the 1990s merged into the mainstream of Lithuanian theatre in a cultured manner, but also with its own brilliance and with immediate acclaim. This group – led by Cezaris Graužinis, Gintaras Varnas and Oskaras Koršunovas – did not foment rebellion and continued to develop the traditions of authorial direction established by their "fathers", while at the same pursuing forms of stagecraft to define their own freshness and originality. 
The pursuits of other younger directors of the 1990s were not as noticeable. Rolandas Atkočiūnas debuted in 1991 with a production of Tennessee Williams' Kingdom of Earth (The Seven Descents of Myrtle) at the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania, and later worked at the Kaunas Small Stage, and the Šiauliai and Kaunas Drama Theatres, usually staging modern plays by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, August Strindberg, Kostas Ostrauskas, Luigi Pirandello, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others. Ignas Jonynas became a director at the Youth Theatre in 1994. His most significant productions of the 1990s were Edmond Rostand's Cyrano in 1996 and The Night Just Before the Forests by Bernard-Marie Koltès in 1998. Jokūbas Vilius Tūras began working at the Youth Theatre in 1994 and has directed, among other productions, Jean Cocteau's Orpheus (1994), and Aldo Nicolaj's Be a Man, Celestino! (1997). Gintaras Liutkevičius premiered in Carlo Goldoni's La locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn) at the Vaidila Theatre in 1996, and went on to direct, among other plays, Harold Pinter's The Caretaker in 1997 at the Academic Drama Theatre, and Road by Jim Cartwright in 1999 at the Youth Theatre.
Almost in unison, the younger directors of the 1990s began their creative careers by turning to the modernism of the early 20th century and bringing new relevance to aspects of the period that had been silenced in Lithuanian theatre history. In 1989, Graužinis mounted a production for the stage of Knut Hamsun's Hunger and, soon after, directed Leonid Andreyev's Waltz of the Dogs at the Šiauliai Drama Theatre in 1991. After his work at the satirical Šėpos Theatre, Gintaras Varnas discovered Federico García Lorca and directed his play Once Five Years Pass at the State Small Theatre in 1993, revealing with it new experiences in surrealism, aestheticism and modern baroque on stage. 
In truth, Lorca was not unknown to Lithuanian theatre. His work was first shown in Lithuania with Henrikas Vencevičius' staging of The House of Bernarda Alba at the Kaunas Drama Theatre in 1964. Lorca's work was further explored by Gytis Padegimas in 1976 at the Šiauliai Drama Theatre, when he directed Doña Rosita the Spinster and the Language of Flowers, and again with his staging of Yerma at the Kaunas Drama Theatre in 1992. But it was nevertheless Gintaras Varnas who truly discovered Lorca – he recognized himself in the author, and found Lorca to be an "ally" of his theatrical vision. In 1997 he staged Lorca's The Public at the Academic Drama Theatre, Doña Rosita the Spinster and the Language of Flowers at the Kaunas Drama Theatre in 2003, and remounted The Public in 2010 at his own theatre, "Utopia".
Throughout the first half of the 1990s, Oskaras Koršunovas was loyal to the Russian avangardism of the early 20th century, and from the "OBERIU" tetralogy that arose from the texts of this period – by Daniil Kharms and Aleksander Vvedensky – he supplemented the Lithuanian theatrical arsenal with the "tools" of surrealism, constructivism, abstractionism, the absurd, and the expressionist aesthetic of silent movies. The hottest "hits" of the theatrical calendar became such productions such as There To Be Here (set design by Aidas Bareikis and Julius Ludavičius, composition by Gintaras Sodeika, 1990), The Old Woman (set design by A. Bareikis and J. Ludavičius, costumes by J. Statkevičius, composition by G. Sodeika, 1992), Hello Sonya New Year (set design by Žilvinas Kempinas, costumes by Sandra Straukaitė, composition by G. Sodeika, 1994) and The Old Woman 2 (set design by Ž. Kempinas, costumes by J. Statkevičius, composition by G. Sodeika, 1994). 
On the other hand, Koršunovas' "OBERIU" tetralogy resounded like a convincing testimony to the end of one period of the 20th century – or, more precisely, to the desperate efforts of a young man to comprehend it. The world revealed in the plays was one that "was chillingly laughing at itself", a world of absurd events, of time that was faltering, getting stuck and always restarting anew, of violence, fear and spaces distorted by unfulfilled dreams, of nightmarish imagery, and of heroes resurrected from a seemingly feverish consciousness. It seemed to be soaked "in a sense of chaos where aggression and coercion are the only means of communication, … where insanity is the norm and life is but a dream after death".
After The Old Woman 2, theatre critic Rūta Vanagaitė aptly and beautifully identified Koršunovas' exceptional place in the theatrical pursuits of the first half of the 1990s: Rasa Vasinauskaitė, Laikinumo teatras: lietuvių režisūros pokyčiai 1990–2001 metais, Vilnius: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas, 2010, p. 111.
The theatre of Rimas Tuminas breathes like the earth. The theatre of Eimuntas Nekrošius undulates like air — with wind, rain and the coolness of evening. The theatre of Oskaras Koršunovas is constructed and cold like the inside of an empty coffin. 'The world is a corpse,' this postulation sounds almost like schadenfreude. The world is a corpse! So let's have some fun and shave off the beard that continues to grow on that corpse. Rūta Vanagaitė, „Senė 2“, Lietuvos rytas, 1995-01-13, p. 39   
With his production of The Old Woman 2, Koršunovas finally established himself as the leader of the new generation and took his place unchallenged within the "Olympus" of Lithuanian theatre.
Koršunovas' early international career was also marked by "OBERIU" pursuits. His "Oberiute" plays won him his first international awards, and his first commissions for productions in foreign theatre houses were tied to stagings of "Oberiute" literary works. In 1993, at the Parchem City Theatre in Germany, he staged Daniil Kharms' Jelizaveta Bam, followed somewhat later, in Warsaw's "Studio" in 1998, by the mounting of a new production entitled Bam. And in 2001, at the Oslo National Theatre, he directed a staging of works by Kharms and Vvedensky entitled Mes ne pyragai (We Are Not Cakes).
Incidentally, the Lithuanian director most sought-after by foreign theatres in the 1990s was Rimas Tuminas. He mounted two productions in Finland at the Wasa Theatre: Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in 1992 and Molière's Don Juan in 1995, and four productions in Reykjavik at the National Theatre of Iceland: Chekhov's The Seagull (1993), Three Sisters (1995), The Cherry Orchard (2000) and Molière's Don Juan (1995).
Nevertheless, after Koršunovas' burst of activity, critics paradoxically had reason to anxiously speak of "the aging of Lithuanian theatre" – about the "petrified artistic measures, the programmed trajectories of its characters, the predictability of their denouement, self-reflection and self references" and "the signs of a crisis in directorial self-expression". Audronis Liuga, „Laiko sužeistas teatras“, Teatras, 1997, Nr. 1, p. 9.
The young directors responded to these fears. In 1996, Graužinis and his young actors – the Lithuanian New Generation Theatre Community – staged an originally styled production of Büchner's Woyzeck, and in 1997, at the Academic Drama Theatre, he launched the premiere of The Mysteries of Love by the French surrealist Roger Vitrac. In 1997, Gintaras Varnas delved into experiments with original uses of the stage space, turning the stage itself into an auditorium in Lorca's The Public at the Academic Drama Theatre, and later performed The Great Theatre of the World by Pedro Calderón de la Barca in the Observatory Courtyard of Vilnius University.
Of the elder directors, Eimuntas Nekrošius "rebelled" most energetically against the theatrical aging diagnosed in the mid-1990s, inviting Andrius Mamontovas to join the cast of his Hamlet and turning the textbook story of the Danish prince into a tale of the dramatic existence of a young man in a world of adults.
Of them all, Koršunovas acted most decisively, by invoking the "therapy" of new drama: in 1997 he mounted P.S. Byla O.K. (P.S. Case O.K.) by Sigitas Parulskis (set design by Ž. Kempinas, composition by G. Sodeika). The play caused a huge scandal and angered the majority of older theatergoers. Together with Parulskis, in P.S. Byla O.K. Koršunovas attempted to find an adequate expression for the experience of his generation damaged by fundamental political upheaval, trying to reveal "the reality of today's hero who has lost faith in the ideals of his parents and who is searching for a new faith". Rasa Paukštytė, „Mėlynojo gandro vaikai“, Teatras, 1997, Nr. 2, p. 27. The play's protagonist — Young Man-Son-Student-Isaac (Andrius Žebrauskas) — had the Lithuanian tricolor's "yellow, green and red snot" running from his nose and, in the finale, killed his Father-Abraham (Sigitas Račkys).
In the 1998 production of Bernard-Marie Koltès' Roberto Zucco (in its own way, a continuation of P.S. Byla O.K.) (set design by Jūratė Paulėkaitė, composition by G. Sodeika) the reality of the new times became even more evident and recognizable. "A real theatre terrorist", theatre critic V. Vasiliauskas said, half jokingly, about Koršunovas after seeing the premiere. Valdas Vasiliauskas, „Teroristas O. Koršunovas dar nėra suimtas“, Lietuvos rytas, priedas „Mūzų malūnas“, 1998 01 20, p. 1. And he was absolutely correct: Koršunovas was the first to so aggressively take aim at the metaphorical tradition of Lithuanian theatre by weaving the story of the solitude of the mysterious muderer-suicider Roberto Zucco (Saulius Mykolaitis) into the thicket of modern mass cultural signs and references (Roberto Zucco's right hand man, a professional skater (Lukas Kirkilionis), skated around a ramp that took up the entire stage space; the stage was swarmed by night club personages; loud techno music boomed; episodes from John Woo's film Face/Off played in the background, etc.)
Koršunovas' dilogy about the painful wanderings of a young person through the mazes of today's world, based on contemporary dramatic texts, was persuasive as an effective response to "aging" through the power of new dramatic works, and noticeably increased Lithuanian theatre's interest in these works and, simultaneously, in the aesthetic of the so-called new realism.
In 1998, Jonas Vaitkus directed the play Anna Weiss, which explores pedophilia, by the contemporary Scottish playwright Mike Cullen at the homeless Skrajojantis (Flying) Theatre. That same year, Benas Šarka presented Co Ca Cola, a play based on the poetry of Gintaras Grajauskas, at his own Gliukų Theatre. Gintaras Liutkevičius mounted Cartwright's Road at the Youth Theatre in 1999. That year as well, Valdas Pranulis directed David Harrower's Knives in Hens at the Senamiestis (Old Town) Theatre. Oskaras Koršunovas brought to his own theatre (the OKT) the scandalous British play by Mark Ravenhill Shopping and Fucking, which boldly spoke about the aggressive penetration of today's consumerist culture into the most intimate and sensitive areas of young people's lives. In 2000, Cezaris Graužinis directed the winning play of the first Lithuanian play competition in independent Lithuania — Kaimynas (The Neighbor) by Marius Ivaškevičius — at the Youth Theatre, while Koršunovas began his exploration of the works of the German playwright Marius von Mayenburg (Feuergesicht in 2000, Parasiten in 2001, and Das kalte Kind in 2004).
This increase in the production of European new works in Lithuanian theatres in the final years of the 20th century was closely related to the initiatives of the "New Drama Action" international theatre festival that was launched in Vilnius in 1999. Organized by the Theatre and Cinema Information and Education Centre, it aimed to acquaint the public with the writers of new works and the European theatre groups that performed them, and held readings of new plays as well as performances of sketches from these pieces.
The experiences of performing the new dramatic works that increasingly penetrated – and changed – Lithuanian theatre also had an impact on the late 20th century interpretations of world classical works. At the juncture of the 20th and 21st centuries, there was an ever-growing reason to speak about the contemporary relevance of the classics and their contemporary reading, staging, etc.
Of the younger directors, Gintaras Varnas was the most faithful to the classics, bidding farewell to the 20th century with three powerful productions: Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (Kaunas Drama Theatre, with set design by J. Paulėkaitė, costumes by J. Statkevičius and composition by Giedrius Puskunigis, 1998), Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra (Kaunas Drama Theatre, set design by Andris Freibergs, costumes by J. Statkevičius and composition by Giedrius Puskunigis, 1999), and Calderón de la Barca's Life is Dream (National Drama Theatre, set design by Marta Vosyliūtė, costumes by J. Statkevičius and Jolanta Rimkutė, composition by G. Puskunigis, 2000).
With these productions that seemed to wage a polemic between aesthetic, stylish and "baroque" decorativity and the poetry of the new realism, Varnas continued the theme he had touched upon in his production of Albert Camus' The Stranger at the Academic Drama Theatre in 1995: the conflict between the many and the other, between commonality and "the outsider." But he added strength to them, almost to the point of giving a feverish intensity to the existential situation of the "outside" hero: an extravagantly combative Hedda (Jūratė Onaitytė), a family voluntarily imprisoned in the past in Mourning Becomes Electra, a morbidly offense Sigismund (Dainius Kazlauskas) in Life is a Dream. And in this respect, he echoed the diagnosis of the protagonist's condition analyzed in the contemporary dramatic work of Oskaras Koršunovas.
Koršunovas, like Varnas, discovered the classics at the end of the 20th century, but he understood their contemporary significance differently and more radically than Varnas. In his classical productions – in the additions to the OKT repertoire in 1999 and 2000 of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (set design by M. Vosyliūtė, choreography assisted by Vesta Grabštaitė, and sound design by G. Sodeika) and Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita (stage play by S. Parulskis, set design by J. Paulėkaitė, costumes by Vida Simanavičiūtė and Aleksandras Pogrebnojus, composition by G. Sodeika) – he rejected the approach of directorial interpretation of the literary work and boldly adapted the method of using his own independent reinterpretations and rewriting. The result of this reshaping was the manifestation of inexhaustible and almost raw creative theatrical forces that revealed the here and now. Koršunovas not only made "his directorial imagination the main hero of the play", but he also "transformed the creative act itself into something visible and tangible". Audronis Liuga, „Avinjono kontrapunktai“, 7 meno dienos, 2000-09-08
Koršunovas recrafted Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream into an extraordinarily dynamic and expressive theatrical event. Dressed in identical work overalls and "armed" with identical wooden panels, the young actors passionately raged about in a marathon of pure theatrical physicality – leaping, turning summersaults, spinning and performing tricks that required the most advanced mastery of physical movement. This production resulted from the masters' thesis of actors of the Lithuanian Music Academy, and its expenses barely reached 1,000 litas. The roles of the four main lovers were performed by Rasa Samuolytė, Airida Gintautaitė, Rytis Saladžius and Darius Gumauskas.
In its own way, The Master and Margarita continued the creative carousing of Midsummer. A real fiesta of theatricality was performed alongside a mood of solemnity: playful etudes replete with grotesque tricks constantly collided with the play's chosen key plot line, that of the poet Bezdomny (Dainius Gavenonis). The role of the main "organizer" of the play was actively performed by the entourage led by Woland (Dainius Kazlauskas): Azazel (Saulius Mykolaitis, Kostas Smoriginas), Behemoth the Cat (Arūnas Sakalauskas, Ramūnas Rudokas), and Koroviev (Andrius Žebrauskas, Audrius Nakas), while the action on stage was accompanied by a video film (Margarita's Flight) and excerpts from a shadow play (Woland's Ball).
Yet The Master and Margarita was, first and foremost, a deep, fierce and painful reflection on creativity. It was based on creative joy, creative fancy, the confrontation between intoxicating inspiration and the dramatic destiny of the creator. The dramatic arc was consistently concluded by the final and irrevocable death of the Master (R. Saladžius) and Margarita (Aldona Bendoriūtė): the more passionately Azazel attempted to resuscitate them, the faster they appeared to stiffen and grow cold, i.e. Koršunovas mercilessly stripped away the Bulgakov-esque hope for resurrection on the other side of death, as if saying: only manuscripts never burn, but their creators burn to death.
Lithuanian theatre approached the threshold of the 21st century believing in its creative flight of imagination and, by opening it to the outside as if to extend an invitation to join in, to take part, to become "infected" by it, it found a new mission and new forms of interaction with the public. This "new openness" reflected the ties between the metaphorical school of Lithuanian directing with the aesthetic of another type of theatre, to which Western theatre historians and theoreticians of the 1980s and 1990s have given then name postdramatic. Lithuanian theatre entered the 21st century with an open curiosity about the opportunities to reexamine its traditions.


Write a comment
No comments.

Sources and links

Audronis Liuga
„Avinjono kontrapunktai“
7 meno dienos, 2000 09 08
Audronis Liuga
„Laiko sužeistas teatras“
Teatras, 1997, Nr. 1
Rasa Paukštytė
„Mėlynojo gandro vaikai“
Teatras, 1997, Nr. 2
Rūta Vanagaitė
„Senė 2“
Lietuvos rytas, 1995 01 13
Valdas Vasiliauskas
„Teroristas O. Koršunovas dar nėra suimtas“
Lietuvos rytas, priedas „Mūzų malūnas“, 1998 01 20
Rasa Vasinauskaitė
Laikinumo teatras: lietuvių režisūros pokyčiai 1990–2001 metais
Vilnius: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas, 2010
[[item.description]] [[item.details]]
You have subscribed successfully.
Patikrinkite savo pašto dėžutę ir paspauskite nat gautos nuorods norėdami patvirtinti užsakymą.