When Hamlet wanders into a nightclub 0

Astijus Krauleidis-Vermontas
www.kamane.lt, 2016-02-10
Claudius-Gertrude (Dainius Svobonas) and Hamlet (Vainius Sodeika)

In brief: The latest work of the younger generation director Vidas Bareikis presented at the Kaunas State Drama Theatre was eagerly awaited. And not because the theatre is celebrating its 95th anniversary, or because a play is the best gift. This time the attention was drawn to the reason why this director, new in Kaunas theatrical life, is interesting, taking up quite a difficult task - to stage a play based on the Renaissance playwright William Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

Among 15 plays staged by V. Bareikis only Hamlet shows a clearly formulated theatre strategy, which marks the director and makes him interesting. V. Bareikis chooses to deconstruct William Shakespeare's play, i.e. to adapt it on the theatre stage by changing meanings (dramaturgy was adapted by Austėja Lunskytė-Yildiz) and highlighting the dramatic spots that would be relevant today and would affect the viewer, for whom the play is not only the mirror of reality but also of the self. Theater scene is based on contemporary realities and codes that allow a critical look at the reality and the public.

Hamlet's stage aims at showcasing video and audio capabilities, i.e. interactivity that would suck in the viewer into the whirl of theatre event. For example. V. Bareikis eliminates the backstage and chooses the image of the carousel, which is associated with entertainment. Stage is stripped off and there is nothing that would hide it or separate it. The emphasis is on white flower bouquets, candles, piano, i.e. symbols encoding the gloomy mood of funerals.  Make-up tables pointing to the O. Koršunovas' Hamlet in V. Bareikis play is only a part of the set design rather than means that would allow a deeper insight into the role. Attractive set design by Paylė Bocullaitė emphasizes the open theatre principle that highlights the directorial decision.

Director V. Bareikis gave the role of Hamlet to young actor V. Sodeika. On the one hand, it is a part that requires a lot of responsibility, but on the other hand it is always interesting to see how an actor of the younger generation will portray the role. On the stage V. Sodeika looks irritated, dramatic but also cunning and aspiring to answer the question of how to be. The hero is particularly unsettled and responsibly emoted into the role; ready to fight the ghost, which in this case is a transparent water curtain, or the construct of consciousness.

Some episodes of the play seemed strange and out of the context. For example, the grave-diggers’ scene that is very close to being banal. Actors dressed in road workers' clothes, the licking of ice skulls and shovel fights did not complement the play but disturbed it. I believe it would have been better to discard this scene - it shows that director V. Bareikis is aiming at developing the performance based on the play, but it is not always necessary to respect the rules. They can be broken. Especially, when one is looking for how to be.

Donatas Stankevičius' photographs

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