Want me to tell you the tale of “Woodman”? 0

Kristina Steiblytė
www.kamane.lt, 2015-09-29

In brief: Unfortunately, we will have to wait for a personal, sensitive and really provocative play. On the other hand, as it was promised by the actors in the beginning of the play "Woodman" by the Latvian director Valters Sīlis at the National Kaunas Drama Theatre, an interesting story, a tale was actually told. Only, I doubt it can work as our scary folk stories, full of blood and death.

"Woodman" starts when all the eight actors performing in the play come forth on the stage to report that the play will be delayed, because the person who has to tell a truly fascinating story is late. It quickly turns out that the person who is late is no one else but Saulius Čiučelis character Tomas Kudirka, who is standing right there with his colleagues on the same stage and who becomes the narrator of the play.

Although the key character of the play is S. Čiučelis character, the main story is not about him, but about human desire and strategies of survival and the possibility of the hero after everything that has happened in the 20th century. True, the question of hero after the 20th century seems to have been discussed more than once. The impossibility of classical heroism has already been demonstrated in both Lithuanian and Latvian theatre.

Thus, to still consider heroism seems somewhat anachronistic. Even for the director, who has already developed "Legionnaires" and "Barricades.” In particular, by choosing the character of Jonas as a pretext for this discussion, who really did not have to do anything. A much more convincing story would have been his sister Veronika - accidentally she becomes a very interesting character, acquiring a feminist exterior, but maintaining a content of Christian tradition. But a female perspective in this play, developed by a more masculine group, is not considered. Only in the very end a romantic vision is provided, in which Veronika meets a sweetheart from her youth, who comes to court her again.

The play gives an impression that Jonas does not need anything more but to be a shadow in his own home. And this kind of character becomes an example for the dramaturge - a quite apparent prototype of the narrator - that it is possible to deal with war in other ways than going into the battle and dying, running away or becoming a part of the imposed system. However, at the very end of the four hour-long performance it becomes clear that this character, who had implemented his strange philosophy, dismissed all the political and social systems is rather displayed for us to romantically rejoice him instead of thinking critically.

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