Text of nineteen references 0

Kristina Steiblytė
www.kamane.lt, 2016-03-23


In brief: As much as nonconformism was mentioned in its context Artūras Areima theatre's Loser (based on Eduard Limonov's Diary of a loser) is not an avant-garde play and neither it is a performance about punks; there is also not that much (if at all) anarchy in it. However, it has plenty of references to various attempts to resist the rules of theatre, to punk subculture, to what was the avant-garde artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century and contemporary variations of Lithuanian avant-garde.

After climbing up to the fourth floor of the POST gallery located at the Laisvės avenue 51A Loser begins with the reading of 12 acts - manifesto - of the loser, waking around the wooden pig and looking at the photo exhibition (photographer Donatas Stankevičius) with all these activities being under the observation of the "curator" Kristina Marija Kulinič. 

After the presentation viewers are taken to the gallery hall in which the Loser awaits (actor Valerijus Kazlauskas). The curator introduces the viewers with the rules of conduct; they are seated in from on the Loser and can observe, easily, leaving or coming back, how he tells stories (but does not communicate) filming himself and immediately projecting on the wall, which performs the functions of the screen and back curtain.

That is how the play touches upon the voyeuristic aspect of popular culture. As if saying that everything that is filmed can be consumed, in other words - everything that we do not need to see live. By observing the Loser moving around with the knife engaged in self-destruction, seeing how he is lying to himself during the performance, constantly changing costumes and characters along with them and finally even putting on a mask we see a tragedy of one unhappy person. It is not that difficult to observe it because at any time we can turn our gaze away from the live person to the screen and also because of the fact that viewers are well aware of being in theater.

Although Loser is visually quit provocative, in the end it is an example of traditional theatre with traditionally organized space when the audience is seated in front of the stage area, the selected texts of the novel are the basis for stage action; a traditional character is being created who experiences transformation, when at first paltering and flirting with the camera and audience Loser finally expresses an invitation to revolution at the end of the play.

Thus we should look for non-conformism and rebellion of the play in the shocking behavior of the Loser. But here we are faced with another obstacle. Although, with all the references to punks and E. Limonov's texts read from the Diary of a loser about imperfection, independence and distancing, a more or less disgusting state of being - all of that is aestheticized in the performance. Physically attractive actor, scenography and selected music distances the Loser from the non-conformist punk dirt and brings it closer to the format fitting the TV.

Artūras Areima Theatre performance Loser will be showed again in Kaunas, at the POST gallery (Laisvės ave. 51a, 4th floor), on April 5-6.

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