Life, love and death of festival LIFE 1

Konstantinas Borkovskis, 2013-05-21
Poster of the first festival LIFE (artist Rimvydas Kepežinskas)

In brief: 20 years passed from the first international theatre festival LIFE on May 10. Actually, this phenomenon was born much earlier...

The international Lithuanian theatre festival LIFE was established as a non-profit organisation on October 18, 1991 and stopped its existence as a public institution on May 1, 2001. The festival was headed by the theatre critic Rūta Vanagaitė from the very beginning to 1998. The theatre manager Tauras Čižas “stood at the steering-wheel” of LIFE for the rest of time. LIFE organised six festivals during that time: in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000. The director Eimuntas Nekrošius cooperated with the festival LIFE closely from 1993 to 1998 and presented his performances “Small Tragedies. Mozart and Salieri. Don Chuan. Plague” of A.Pushkin, “Three Sisters” of A. Chekhov, rock opera “Love and Death in Verona” of K. Antanėlis (second version), “Hamlet” by W. Shakespeare under the flag of LIFE.

Now the entire archive of the festival LIFE is placed in a couple of big boxes and is stored at the Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum in wait for researchers. The much bigger “archive” has spread among people and is alive in pages of the press and in memories. It is evident after two decades that the festival LIFE was and still remains the biggest, most effective and impressive international cultural project of Lithuania that proclaimed our country and the fantastic flight of our nation to freedom like no other event.

Memories are shared by the author about performances and events of the festival LIFE, its flourishing and fall in 2000 in the article.

The author also makes some generalizations why the festival LIFE was so important to our culture and why it did not become a kind of permanent Mecca of our theatre, our Avignon or Edinburg. The birth of the festival coincided with the liberation of Lithuania and with the positive expectations of people enjoying freedom. Still, the life of the festival ended practically in 1998, during the big crisis, when illusions of Lithuanian people about the eternal festival of life broke and when Lithuania became no longer interesting to the world.

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