Joana Gimberytė-Juronė
www.kamane.lt, 2012-04-24

In brief: The performance ‘A Journey towards the Sun’ is to be premiered at Kaunas State Puppet Theatre on 27-28 May. It is a joint project ‘Between Lithuania and Sankt Petersburg’, supported by the Culture Fund of Lithuania. The international KukArt Puppet Theatre Festival also participates in the project as a partner. The author and director of the performance Boris Konstantinov, scenographer Viktor Antonov and composer Denis Shadrin are the winners of the Golden Mask and Golden Soffit awards (Russia).


Director Boris: ‘I simply love puppets’

The idea of the performance was born in Lithuania, when Sigitas Klibavičius, the director of Kaunas State Puppet Theatre, asked B. Konstantinov to stage a performance in Kaunas. S. Klibavičius told him about an actor of the theatre who plays the violin professionally. That is how a story about a street actor, a violinist-clown, a wandering circus, a magician and his assistant wife, a tamer, a fly, a gorilla and an old man was born. It is the idea about a wandering circus as a family. 

Both actors and puppets act in the performance and help each other. There is also a violinist – music and rhythmic are very relevant in the play. And the puppets...the director simply loves them. ‘A Journey towards the Sun’ is a positive performance deriving from light and playfulness.


Rehearsal, Wednesday 11 April

The rehearsal starts with a curtain – it is being opened and closed while the artists are preparing on the stage. A feeling of the beginning and novelty arouses. A violin appears slowly from the depth of the stage amongst the scenery. Then a hand, a leg and the whole Darius Krapikas comes out. It seems like everybody working with the performance actually lives in the theatre. The director approaches everyone with certainty and inner purity. A five-minute break turns to a long discussion, search for solutions and their reasoning.  How long has one to work to manage a puppet collectively? When three actors merge and become entity, the puppet starts to breath, a character is born.


Artist Viktor: ‘A dialogue and discussion lead forward’

Puppet’s vitality is highly dependent on the artist. The scenographer Viktor Antonov treats the performance as a painter – brushstroke after brushstroke, with perfectionism.  A constant dialogue is pursued between the director and the artist of the performance. The composer Denis Shadrin is also a director: he understands what Viktor needs in the performance. Music prepares viewers from the first sounds. For instance, happiness is expressed melodically; every emotional support of the action is rhythmical. It is a shame that the composer himself could not come – the whole theatre would have sounded.


Property-mistress Jolanta: ‘No samples are to be used in the production of puppets’  

All the actors and workshop workers are involved in the process of creation. Someone works with the scenery, others – with the puppets. Property-mistresses Jolanta Gipienė and Žaneta Jakštienė produce the puppets. They have to be very flexible and mobile, and no samples are to be used in the production of the puppets. Boris also joins the process. He works days as the director and produces scenery with Viktor at nights. An illusion of commune is invoked, common work unites everybody.

Rehearsal, Saturday 14 April

Today’s rehearsal is held before mirrors – it is useful to see one’s work from the side. Andrius Žiurauskas makes everybody repeat twice, four, sixteen times till everyone is satisfied with the reflection in the mirror. Puppets are very detailed and know a bunch: they smile and pout, lift their eyebrows, move their moustaches; some even dance cancan at short breaks.

The methods of every actor are different. Mindaugas Ancevičius plays constantly, tries out the puppets, makes them dance and frisks himself. Mindaugas Černiauskas spends the rehearsal with a puppet in his hands highly focused, biting his lip. Jolita Ross responds to everything scrupulously for the sake of quality. Indrė Taločkaitė experiments with the task, till the space surrounding her disappears and she stays there with her puppet alone. Darius Krapikas charms with his devotion to his instrument; it seems that he and his violin are one. Andrius Žiurauskas, both the actor and director assistant of the performance, has to work with the puppet and help others. One of the most interesting puppets is Grandpa, performed by M. Ancevičius and Karolina Žernytė. Their highly expressive arms become the arms of the character.


Actors: ‘We trust our director a hundred percent’

M. Ancevičius tells how hard it is to make a puppet live: one has to master the technique, create a character and respond to other two people managing the puppet together. M. Černiauskas claims that the performance is dedicated to the whole family – children will be interested and adults will find deeper stories. I. Taločkaitė likes the idea of a universal theatre. The performance was oriented towards adults but children will also be impressed: the puppets are very beautiful and children perceive theatre visually. J. Ross speaks a bit about the method of the performance – the black cabinet – and considers it rather a technical than spiritual genre. K. Žernytė adds that the spirit comes through technique – an actor has to apply his or her emotion in order to move a puppet in different emotional ways. A. Žiurauskas trusts the director and describes the whole collaboration as fun.


Photographs of Kaunas State Puppet Theatre

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