Directed by Oskaras Korsunovas
Composer Antanas Jasenka
Designer Jurate Paulekaite
Choreographer Vesta Grabstaite
ROMEO Gytis Ivanauskas or Giedrius Savickas
JULIET Rasa Samuolyte
MERCUTIO Dainius Kazlauskas
BENVOLIO Tomas Zaibus
PARIS Dainius Gavenonis
CAPULET Vaidotas Martinaitis
LADY CAPULET Dalia Micheleviciute
NURSE TO JULIET Egle Mikulionyte
LADY MONTAGUE Vesta Grabstaite
MONTAGUE Dainius Kazlauskas
FRIAR LAURENCE Arvydas Dapsys
TYBALT Darius Gumauskas
ESCALUS, Prince of Verona, and AN APOTHCARY Giedrius Savickas or Gytis Ivanauskas
BALTHASAR Julius Zalakevicius, Jonas Verseckas
PETER, servant to Juliet’s nurse Rytis Saladzius
SERVANTS, CITIZENS OF VERONA: Vesta Grabstaite, Gytis Ivanauskas or Giedrius Savickas, Arvydas Dapsys
„Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is usually understood as a celebration of romantic love. It is, really, an instance of social drama. In dramatic circumstances, an ordinary love becomes invested with tragic power of the highest order. What interests me most in this tragedy is how love can come forward and thrive in an atmosphere of hatred or war, as in Verona.
For the Gods, love is born out of hatred, as a way of overcoming hatred. It may be that hatred itself is born out of nothingness. The example of Montague and Capulet is eloquent, since no one knows the reason for their enmity. It has been forgotten long ago. Young Tybalt embraces hatred, and defends it as tradition. We often nurture traditions that create conflict out of alleged differences, and thereby keep hatred alive. This, alas, is a principle applied more and more often – to strengthen a community by looking for external enemies.
In this production, I wanted to analyze how hatred shapes difference and becomes common ground. I feel that hatred is the foundation on which the differences between Montague and Capulet are built. This is deceptive, and pulls them ever further apart. All societies seem to be sub-divided in this way.
Love negates difference. Only love can show that there is essentially no conflict between the two clans. Love creates freedom, and in freedom there are no oppositions. Sadly, Romeo and Juliet find their freedom only in death. They were both single children. When they die, their families die with them. The sacrifice of freedom ruins not only the modernity created by these children, but also the tradition their parents seek to protect.“ (director Oskaras Korsunovas)
„For me the most unexpected and greatest Oskaras Korsunovas’ discovery was the newly revealed conflict of “Romeo and Juliet”. Hatred, aggression and bile first of all accumulate inside a family and among friends – enemies only serve as a pretext for the break of fury and intolerance. If there are no enemies, one needs to find them. Mercutio first of all quarrels with Benvolio, Tybalt with Capulet, and the latter with Juliet. Thus, they are ready for hatred – they look for an enemy as for a drug. And on the contrary: a nurse has prepared Juliet and Friar Laurence has prepared Romeo for love. Having killed love with its aggression, the world has no future – in the finale the flour of death is sprinkled not only over Romeo and Juliet, but also over all the citizens of Verona. It’s only a young artist that can praise love so highly; this is why I’m sincerely glad that Korsunovas hasn’t got old.“ (Valdas Vasiliauskas / Lietuvos rytas)
„Except the dough there is another metaphorically dominant element in the staging of Korsunovas – flour. It represents talc, the white mask of death, the poison for Romeo and a miraculous soporific for Juliet. Laurence will be sprinkling it over a head as if he’ll be using ashes. And the cauldron filled with it will become the place of death, wedding and sexual initiation.
In the production, as it always happens with Korsunovas, there are a few amazingly powerful scenes. For example, the scene where the nurse dresses up Juliet in a wedding dress when she’s deeply asleep, and then, straight after, puts her arms on her chest: the wedding bed turns into the bed of death. Very astonishing is the final scene where Friar Laurence, after the death of the main characters, hopelessly tries to open the cover of a coffin in a family grave. Romeo and Juliet, sprinkled with flour, are spinning at that time in the cauldron on the very avant-stage. What a beautiful roundabout! The cover of the coffin falls down. The characters suddenly subside and settle down. Death seems to be stronger than life.“ (Marina Davydova / Izvestia)
„Korsunovas’ concept for the production (in Lithuanian with English subtitles) aptly explores the play’s genuine humor and dark tragedy. In a prologue created by Korsunovas and the actors, the Capulets and the Montagues attempt to one-up each other in a tit-for-tat, escalating fashion reminiscent of the battles Laurel and Hardy waged on their foil James Finlayson. The rival families taunt each other with suggestive gestures, gyrations and preposterously stretched out phalluses made from pizza dough. If the table isn’t exactly set for a great meal, it is for an ambitious evening of theatre.“ (Kyle Minor / New Haven Registre)
Duration: 3h, one intermission
The first performances of young director Oskaras Koršunovas were created under the aegis of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, they were often referred to as a separate body, a theatre within a theatre. Contemporary theatre critics, titling their articles simply: “Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre?” envisaged the inevitable emergence of a new theatre. In 1998, the director, together with a few like-minded fellows, founded an independent theatre, called Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre, shortened to just OKT. Koršunovas, assisted by guest directors, has built a solid repertoire, which encompasses both contemporary drama and classic stagings. The director’s credo to stage classics as contemporary plays, recognizing what is relevant to the present time, and contemporary plays – as the classics, conveying what is universal and timeless, became paradigmatic in that creative period. “Shopping and Fucking” by Mark Ravenhill, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, “Fireface” by Marius von Mayenburg, “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles, “Playing the Victim” the Presnyakov Brothers, and other performances, which became cornerstones of the theatre’s repertoire and its foreign tours, were staged adhering to the above mentioned principles and credo.