The search for a version of Irish comedy 0

Astijus Krauleidis-Vermontas, 2016-03-15

In brief: Stating that today is "full of pessimistic plays about suicide, violence, abuse and evil...  Big, medium or small evil is everywhere," director Gytis Padegimas chose the genre of comedy and presented his latest production Stone in his pockets (based on the Irish playwright Marie Jones' play of the same name) at the Kaunas Chamber Theatre in February. The production focuses on the Irish comedy school and traditions.

Today, many people do not view the genre of comedy seriously. They think it is an easy way to get vitamin C or relax. It is strange, but comedy is increasingly regarded as entertainment genre (commercial theatre Domino). And if a person will see a comedy in the professional theatre, he or she will treat it not as something that makes one think, but something that allows one to laugh nicely during the entire performance.

The genre of this performance is rather difficult to define - is it really a comedy? Some episodes are dominated by tragicomedy or even absurd situations. Intentionally or unintentionally actors themselves create the absurd mood, although they are aiming for a complex purpose - to professionally convey not one or two roles, but to reveal the moods and feelings of fifteen individuals through the experiences of two actors.

Fragmentation and film features are characteristic to both the play and the performance. Two-dimensional spaces are being created - characters are aiming at making a film and themselves perform a role on the stage. Some scenes make you laugh more than others, others do not leave any impression, but one way or the other they represent the Irish culture - and they do not only like beer and lemon cake. That culture is emphasized by Sergėjus Bocculo's scenography, which reproduces the Irish pub or the locker room.

Director G. Padegimas emphasizes that Stones in his pockets is an Irish comedy, however, on the stage it is quite difficult to recognize what exactly are the features of Irish comedy or what is relevant to other culture. We can (not necessarily) follow the opinion of the translator of the play V. Grigaitytė, who says that Ireland "reminds of Lithuania - a small, dispersed country."

I believe that director G. Padegimas' statement that "we are still looking for exactly this - not a Lithuanian, not Hollywood’s or Slavic - Irish comedy version" is true. And although the plays of this genre not always attract the audience, to search and shape the comedy genre (maybe even from scratch) and the viewer's wish to learn about him or herself through laughter is useful not only in the context of Kaunas theatre, but in the context of other theatres as well.

Photos by Gintaras Česonis

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