Vaiva Grainytė, 2010 06 14

In brief: The season of Kaunas State Drama Theatre has just finished, the door of the theatre was closed; therefore, it is high time to review premieres of the season while the sun has not vaporised the impressions. Four diverse performances opposing each other by the genre and the theme were presented during the season: “The Ward”, “Happy”, “The Last Song of Durans“ and “Moderators“. 

Scene from the performance “The Ward”. Photo of KSDT

I. The Ward without a Doctor

The thoughts are first occupied by the sensation of the repertoire of Kaunas Drama Theatre presented in November: the performance “The Ward” directed by the actor Rolandas Kazlas and staged according to motifs of stories of Anton Chekhov “Ward No. 6” and “Black Monk”. Attention of the audience was huge and is not falling from the premiere.

The name of R.Kazlas attracts like magnet and is a guarantee of the actor’s mastery. Moreover, the performance “Iron and Silver” created by R.Kazlas before “The Ward” according to poems of Vladas Šimkus revealed one more side of the actor's talent: introspection.

While staging works of A.Chekhov, R.Kazlas resolved to say what he was personally concerned about evidently. The director takes what he needs from the two works of A.Chekhov for “The Ward”. Therefore, characters of “Ward No.6” remain in the pages of the book, and only the patient Gromov and doctor Ragin are transferred to the stage. The Black Monk appearing in the vision of the patient is taken from another story. He answers the ontological questions of Gromov, disputes with him and calms down the existential fear.

The duet of the patient and doctor embodied by R.Kazlas and the actor Liubomiras Laucevičius develops the internal drama of two unhappy people, close souls thrust into the roles of a “doctor” and “patient". As it becomes clear, the border between the roles is very fragile: the character of L.Laucevičius soon becomes the inhabitant of the ward.

The philosophical aspect of Chekhov’s works is emphasised in the performance. The parallel of characters created by R.Kazlas and L.Laucevičius born from their confrontation is a serious and thorough dispute encompassing the theme of laws of the real life and life beyond. It may be stated that the performance is a stage version of a philosophical lecture, in which the polyphonic and multi-layered actors R.Kazlas and L.Laucevičius are tossing unable to decide, which mixture of genre should be taken: the characters behave as if they have swallowed the pill of caricature at one moment and the pill of tragedy later.

Scene from the performance “Happy”. Photo of KSDT

II. Exemplary Harmony

The situation is completely different in “the ward" of the young director Artūras Areima, who has recently finished the Master studies of direction at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (head of the course – Rimas Tuminas). Tidiness and cleanliness prevails here; everything is controlled by the strict hand and rational brain in the performance “Happy” staged according to the play of the German playwright, poet, philosopher Friedrich von Schiller “Intrigue and Love“.

Symptoms of classicism may be noticed here: the performance has a strict composition, rhythm, mise-en-sc`enes are very precise, actors do not distance from the established trajectory of the role. After rallying actors of different generations and diverse experience, A.Areima watches the plants of different species and nature like a neat gardener of a classical park.

The play of F.Schiller attributed to the genre of “tragedy of townspeople” is a story about a love triangle full of intrigues, revenge and warring confrontations. One could say that the plot of the performance “Happy” is the echo of a thousand other literature works, when love of young people is impossible due to different social layers. Still, the performance emphasises the universal idea: responsibility for one’s feelings and deeds despite social layers and castes.

Scene from the performance "The Last Song of Durans". Photo from the archive of KSDT

III. Youthful Fever of Durans

Speaking about the performance “The Last Song of Durans” of Agnius Jankevičius, the first premiere of the 89th season of Kaunas State Drama Theatre presented in September, the teddy-bear appears in the memory first of all, later – three tired young men and two static girls embodying one character. The play “Le Chant du Dire-Dire” of the Canadian author Daniel Danis full of magic realism was transferred to the stage of KSDT; still, it looked like a rather unbalanced result of the playwright, director and actors’ communication.

The strange and mystical plot of the play is about orphans Durans – three brothers and their step-sister Noema, who live in their closed community after losing their parents due to a bolt. The course of young actors, who will soon receive Master's diplomas in actor's mastery and who have been raised by the Professor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre Algė Savickaitė, is acting in the performance.

Still, the structure of “The Last Song of Durans” appears to be a tough task to the young actors as well as A.Jankevičius. The actors had to deal with the physically energetic action as well as the task not to get lost among qualities of caricature-like and hypertrophied personages. As a result, huge efforts of the actors tired spectators too.

Scene from the performance "Moderators". Photo from the archive of KSDT

IV. Analysis of Virtual Reality

A new performance “Moderators” was presented in the Fifth Hall of Kaunas Drama Theatre before the end of the season. It seems that the director Andrius Kurienius pointed to the very actual theme these days: to our parallel life in the virtual space. Moreover, “Moderators“ is an interactive performance offering an open discussion with spectators. One may write an e-mail to the creators of “Moderators“, and various stories told by spectators are included into the plot of the performance, as a result.

The co-authors of A.Kurienius are young Master students of actor’s mastery supervised by Prof. Algė Savickaitė: Gabrielė Aničaitė, Mantas Cegelskas, Saulius Čiučelis, Vytautas Gasiliūnas, Aleksandras Kleinas, Inga Mikutavičiūtė, Neringa Nekrašiūtė, Laurynas Perkumas and Artūras Sužiedėlis. They are potential inhabitants of the internet reality, contemporary people who are interested in this theme.

“Moderators“ is an actual project; it may become a mirror for young spectators participating in internet melodramas actively. The young audience may feel the joy of self-recognition as well as take a thought about the possible danger made by social networks to their privacy.


The premieres of the 89th season of KSDT, which ended recently, are very diverse by the genre and theme. The differences are also highlighted by the very dissimilar “origin” of creative groups of the four performances, the attitude to theatre, experience and individual stage biography. The fact that young people are creating under the roof of KSDT testifies about the open rather than rapacious position of the theatre. Meanwhile, the audience of the last theatre season could enjoy the diversity of the prey.

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