Lab of existence 0

Astijus Krauleidis-Vermontas, 2016-06-21
Play Number (director Ž. Vingelis). D. Stankevičius' photo from the Drama Theatre's archive.

In brief: Kaunas State Drama Theatre completed the season with two quite different premieres - Agnius Jankevičius' Revolt and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre graduate Žilvinas Vingelis' graduate work Number (course leader - Gintaras Varnas). The latter premiere was intriguing - we can see how the 21st century play is adapted; what director chooses to highlight and transfer from the drama text to the stage.

Ž. Vingelis chooses a complex C. Churchill's play, in terms of structure and story line - Number (English translation by Agnė Narušytė). Author’s play was inspired by the US scientists' experiments with animal cloning and the idea that human can also be cloned (cases of Dolly the sheep and Rainbow the cat).

Play Numbers is characterized by fragmentary thought and inconsistency when it is as difficult to follow the idea in the text as well as on the stage. Playwright C. Churchill does not aim at didactics, but focuses on the individual's search for identity, which allows to know oneself and the environment.

The experiment involves two characters: son Bernard (actor Saulius Čiučelis) and father (actor Liubomiras Laucevičius). There is an interesting storyline developed on the stage - the son learns that he has two clones that interfere with his life, in a way deconstructing his thinking and that is why the real son (the original) seeks to escape the clones and also himself.

In the play Number director Ž. Vingelis perceives the stage as a laboratory that has two meanings: 1) it is a place where experiments on animals are carried out; 2) a place where a person sees himself as an experiment, its participant. Overall, the play is dominated by minimalism (two actors), which is overshadowed by an expressive wish to represent the play of the 21st century. Destructive Artūras Bumšteinas' music and bright projections of Kornelijus Jaroševičius should complement, but in this case, prevents the viewer from finding a clear directorial decision.

Director Ž. Vingelis, who presented his graduation play Number at the Kaunas State Drama Theatre’s Small Hall, not only introduced the audience to the 21st century play, but also forced to think about the relationship between humans and science.  Even after the play, question "who am I" remains unanswered. However, this performance is an interesting interpretation of young director inviting the audience to view the play, as well as life, as a laboratory or an experiment.

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