Man from Fish at POSTWEST festival

Director Eglė Švedkauskaitė. Photo by Laura Vansevičienė.

The POSTWEST festival will take place at Berlin’s renowned Volksbühne Theater on May 27-31. The theater is co-organizing the festival together with partners from Eastern Europe, including the Youth Theater. The Youth Theater will be represented at the festival by one of its latest theater premieres – Man from Fish based on the play of one of the most progressive and interesting young generation Russian playwrights, Asya Voloshina and directed by a young theater director Eglė Švedkauskaitė. She comments the upcoming project.

The Youth Theater is currently involved in two international projects, one of which is a joint project with Estonia, Latvia and Poland, part of and the "Black Box" showcase for young theater creators at the theater in November was part of it. The other project is the POSTWEST festival in Berlin, which I will be attending in May.

The festival has certain frames: the shows must be one hour long; each country’s performance will be shown twice. On one day the performances will be shown along with two more performances, and on another all six performances will be shown in a row on the big stage. More than six countries will be participating, but the others will be presented in smaller spaces. The Youth Theater and I will get the big stage.

This project is already in the second phase. During the first stage of the project, the theater producers met to discuss the concept of the festival, then invited the artists to create shows especially for the festival, and now we artists are going to Berlin. We recently had a second meeting, in which we discussed our ideas on how the organizational work is going, what the technical options are.

"Man from Fish" will be adapted to the stage of Volksbühne Theater. We’ll create a one-hour-long adaptation, since the length of the performance currently shown at the Youth Theater is an hour and a half. The playwright, Asya Voloshina, will also help with this, she will adjust and adapt the text.

Eastern European theaters are the nucleus of the POSTWEST festival, the main issue discussed here is: “Is there still a wall between East and West?” As we meet and discuss, we realize that we are still very different. This festival is a platform for Eastern European theater in Berlin. Because it is not so often that theater companies from these countries visit here. And Berlin is, and always has been, a window to the west.

"Man from Fish" also discusses whether we are still part of the east (homo sovieticus) or the west? And so we try to create in the same direction, choosing some problems from our countries that could be familiar to our partners also coming to Berlin and the audience at Volksbühne. The Volksbühne, a theater that once had the word “OST” (East) written on its roof, is probably the best place for this type of festival.

I think participating in POSTWEST is an important and exciting opportunity to appear physically on one of the biggest stages in the region. I, a Lithuanian, am directing a piece of Russian dramaturgy that will be presented in Berlin – that’s the intercultural dialogue we are talking about, says the director Eglė Švedkauskaitė.

The play Man from Fish, representing the Youth Theater in international projects, will be shown at the Youth Theater’s Hall 99 on February 20 and on at Meno fortas on March 21. Berlin’s Volksbühne Theater is a co-producer of the performance.