A little tale from the grave 0

Kristina Steiblytė
www.kamane.lt, 2016-05-10

In brief: What was A. Areima's Mary Stuart like? It contained some formalism, some elements of own and other Lithuanian plays; there were different ways of acting, illustrative music chosen by the director and as illustrative video projections by Rimas Sakalauskas and a number of errors.

In comparison to men, women are still represented disproportionately in theatre. For various reasons there are less female directors than male; female actors are the most needed when they are young and the dramaturgy for centuries was quite tight when it came to strong, interesting and nuanced female characters.

Lately, in connection to this issue, in Lithuanian theatre a lot was done by Artūras Areima who is able to gather an interesting male team that looks and feels good on the stage but regarding women - he often narrows down the female characters in his plays to an almost insignificant posers.

Thus, knowing the director's relationship with female characters, news of his production of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart made me wonder - what happened that this director decided to talk through female characters? Could someone have inspired him to give voice to women on the stage? Frankly, even before seeing the performance it was hard to believe it.

Much like the acting the play itself was confused. It was supposed to have been a tragedy. However, both queens were unable to cause empathy, thus it was extremely difficult to worry about their fate. One stood out because of her beauty, the only one wearing a dress, bitter and desired by all the men. Another one was domineering and wayward, receiving everything that she wants, but forcing the men from her environment to answer the consequences. None of them can or chooses to act. During the third act both queens started to look like parodies and the play itself is really close to a contemporary Lithuanian theatre parody.

While staging a play that has women as main characters and degrading them to the dress or pant suit, one risks to not conveying the main idea. There is no point to even talk about the dignified death, which was often mentioned before the premiere, because Mary Stuart in this play does not go to die in a dignified manner, but rather in fear and for some reason forced on a stick standing on the stage.

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