Black Box

The Black Box

The Black Box, a platform for collaboration and circulation of young artists, is understood as the primary classical theatre matrix with clear boundaries and rules that can serve as a space for a variety of performing arts – theatre performances, interactive projects, installations and art performances – and is open to experimentation and artistic risk. The definition of Black Box gives young artists the freedom to transform the space through the creative process. Together with the internationally renowned theatres TR Warszawa and Volksbühne Berlin, as well as partners in the Baltic States, the New Theatre Institute of Latvia and the Estonian Vaba Lava theatre, this platform is developing a joint Baltic Transfer project which seeks, through creative workshops and/or co-productions, to increase visibility of talented Lithuanian artist in the international arena and their active participation in the international theatre community, exploring current topics.

The Black Box Showcase

On 5-9 November 2019, the State Youth Theatre invites you to a showcase of performances and draft readings by young theatre artists. The Black Box showcase will feature two recent performances by young directors – a documentary audio performance by director Kamilė Gudmonaitė, I Dreamt, I Dreamt, and the most recent work by Eimuntas Nekrošius’ pupil Adomas Juška, Fiction. Draft readings of four new productions by this season’s residents will also be presented: Man from Fish by Eglė Švedkauskaitė, Ieva Kaniušaitė’s Mama, a reading based on plays by Russian playwright Asia Vološina, a reading of Adomas Juška’s Brother of Sleep and the experimental audio show Kalkwerk. Reading Group by audio artist Arturas Bumšteinas. Guests of the showcase will also have the opportunity to see theatre performances Tales from the Vienna Woods (directed by Yana Ross), The Balcony (directed by Eric Lacascade) and About Fears (directed by Olga Lapina). All showcase performances will be performed with English subtitles.


Playwright Asia Vološina
Reading by Ieva Kaniušaitė
Cast: Gabrielė Ladygaitė

For the protagonist of this monodrama, every birthday is a source of pain and anger. When the girl was just a few years old, her mother died of cancer, leaving several letters for her daughter to read on her future birthdays. They include wishes of a happy birthday and mother’s vision of what her daughter’s future life would look like. However, what her mother dreamt of and hoped for is very different from reality …

Man from Fish

Playwright Asia Vološina
Director Eglė Švedkauskaitė
Cast: Viktorija Kuodytė, Asta Zacharovaitė, Ieva Kaniušaitė, Simonas Storpirštis, Aleksas Kazanavičius, Matas Dirginčius

Eglė Švedkauskaitė: “Man from Fish“ is a linguistic maze, a net of confessions erupting at night, spoken by women’s lips and heard by men’s ears. This is quite a rare occurrence in dramaturgy. To present Asia Vološina’s play to me is to invite the viewer to a stretched time in which anxiety unfolds. About yourself, about your body, about your child, about the country and the future. This is an opportunity to delve deeper into the concept of freedom – what does it mean in a non-democratic environment? My defiance or non-opposition? Isn’t resignation and cynicism towards the rotting system a form of self-imprisonment? And so are dependence on illusions and unfulfilled desires, helplessness, timidity to act and waiting for hope, after all, a bridle on freedom, perhaps even more constraining than those imposed on man by systems and ideologies. The reality (and the state) in this play is oppressive, it comes into a home that the characters in the play naively consider to be a fairly solid barricade and takes what it wants. But if you barricade yourself in your apartment to escape your daily routine, are you not doing the service for the system? You retreat. Upon realising the absurdity of your standing at a rally, you rush into the safe world of quotes and dreams at home. In the face of the unconstrained aggression promoted by Russia today, it is a bold question to ask, but Man from Fish invites one to wonder: what is the point of going to city squares when you know the scenario of yet another picket by heart? What if your intuition is telling you with increasing clarity that you are dealing with a dead country whose body went cold even before you were born?

Asia Vološina is an active Russian playwright of the young generation. Her collection of plays The Choir Dies was published in 2018. Those are four plays about Russia, including the play Man from Fish (2016), presented for the first time in Lithuania. The staging of this play by director Yuri Butusov in 2018 became an event not only at the Moscow Art Theatre but also of the entire theatre season.

Eglė Švedkauskaitė graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (course director Jonas Vaitkus). She debuted with Heda Gabler (2017, the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania). In 2018, she won the Young European Theatre award at the Spoleto Festival (Italy). Her work is characterised by analysis of contemporary society, revealing through comic stereotypical situations the recognisable realities of the contemporary world.

Kalkwerk. Reading Group

Novel by Thomas Bernhard
Director Arturas Bumšteinas
Cast: Emilija Jaujininkaitė, Jonė Dambrauskaitė, Mantas Zemleckas, Sergejus Ivanovas
Set design Viktorija Damerell

Arturas Bumšteinas: On stage, four actors-musicians listen to their recorded voices reading fragments from Thomas Bernhard’s book “Kalkwerk“. The text that is constructed from fragments tells about a book that still hasn’t been begun to be written – a tractate on hearing, while the actors-musicians, listening carefully to their own voices, try to compose a song at the same time. A song that is being created live on stage, meditative, almost ritualistic reading intonations, voices submitting to the radio show presenter, a never-ending story that never actually begins…

Thomas Bernhard is one of the most famous Austrian writers and playwrights of the 20th century, and his short story, Das Kalkwerk (Kalkwerkas), is a complex but straightforwardly told story of a man who tries to write a book all his life, but this idee fixe eventually crushes the protagonist and his family. This surreal artist’s drama unfolds in the rhythm of a never-ending paragraph, while society continues to function indifferently, everybody in it playing their designated role.

Arturas Bumšteinas is an artist working with sound. He is interested in sound anthropology, as well as self-made creative methods. The artist works at the intersection of the disciplines of music, exhibition and performance art, theatre and radio. His works have been presented at such institutions as the Holland Festival, Unsound, Ultraschall, Cricoteka, Operomanija, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Vilnius CAC, Gallery Vartai, Berghain Kantine and many others. In 2014, the artist was awarded the Palma Ars Acustica for his work of radio art, and in 2017, he was a resident of DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme; in 2019, he was awarded the Borisas Dauguvietis Earring for the integration of sound experiments into the Lithuanian theatre contexts. Arturas Bumšteinas is also artistic director of the contemporary music festival Jauna muzika.

Brother of Sleep

Novel by Robert Schneider
Director Adomas Juška
Cast: Andrius Bialobžeskis, Džiugas Grinys, Aleksas Kazanavičius, Digna Kulionytė, Aušra Pukelytė, Aurelijus Pocius

Adomas Juška: The performance will be about a man of particular sensitivity – Johannes Elias Alder, about his relationship with love, music and death. About a person who lives, feels and eventually dies without any compromise. About a person who is able to receive music immediately, as well as the world around him, which he perceives and hears as music. This may not be possible in reality, but that is what I want to talk about – something that is impossible. About impossible sensitivity, impossible love. It is not by accident that Elias plays the organ, not some other instrument – the purpose of the organ has always been religious, spiritual. Human life and destiny also sometimes obey musical laws rather than any other. Each person “plays” a certain musical piece with their life, thoughts, actions. The question is how much beauty, ideas, feeling and dynamics will be in that piece. Speaking about theatrical expression, when rehearsing with the actors, we try to make music, not dramaturgy the basis of the performance, so that the very nature of the performance – even the presence and performance of the actors on the stage – would be truly musical.


Director Adomas Juška
Cast: Andrius Bialobžeskis, Aleksas Kazanavičius, Arūnas Sakalauskas, Motiejus Ivanauskas
The performance was created in cooperation with the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Adomas Juška: This is not a biographical performance about Borges, though inevitably it will include moments from his life, as Borges often included himself as a character in his short stories. Most of the protagonists in his short stories are writers. Associations matter a lot to me. The search for magic realism. There is very little text in the performance. The action was born from working with actors. During rehearsals, a new story of a human life crystalised. I wish that this performance would elevate the viewer with its surreality, somewhere above, above reality, above the ordinary context.

Adomas Juška graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (course director Eimuntas Nekrošius). In his third year of study, Juška made his debut with the play Schweik (2018, State Youth Theatre), and a year later presented his second work, Fictions (2019, State Youth Theater). The author denies the influence of art philosophers and theorists on his work, yet performances created by Juška are marked by a deep philosophical touch on foreign literature classics, characterised by a mature language of directing and filled with reflection, symbols and the grotesque.

I dreamt, I dreamt

* Dialogue: documentary testimonies of prisoners sentenced for life and the victims’ relatives
Director Kamilė Gudmonaitė
Playwright Teklė Kavtaradze
Composer Dominykas Digimas

Kamilė Gudmonaitė: Our aim is to investigate whether dialogue between society and those excluded from it is possible. Is it possible for us to talk? We wish to explore the attitude of the accused towards their charges and their relationship with the crime they committed. How do they feel and live guilt? And what does guilt mean for them in general?

Kamilė Gudmonaitė graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (course director Gintaras Varnas). In her third year of studies, Gudmonaitė made her debut with the performance A Dream (2014), which was awarded the main prize at the Spoleto Festival (Italy). Over five years, Kamilė Gudmonaitė has produced critically acclaimed performances, God is a DJ (2015), Trans Trans Trance (2016) and Four (2018). Prevailing in her work are social themes that reflect contemporary society and explore issues of social exclusion, double standards and other. These traits and the tendency to experiment with form and various genres are palpable in her latest work, the documentary audio performance I Dreamt, I Dreamt (2019, State Youth Theatre).

The Black Box showcase programme

Tuesday, 5 November

Reading of Mama, 5 pm., other theatre spaces
Reading of Man from Fish, 8 pm, Hall 99

Wednesday, 6 November

Reading of Kalkwerk. Reading Group, 3 pm, Hall 99
Tales from the Vienna Woods, 6.30 pm, the Great Hall

Thursday, 7 November

Fictions, 4 pm., Hall 99

Friday, 8 November

Reading of Brother of Sleep, 3 pm., Hall 99
The Balcony, 6.30 pm, the Great Hall

Saturday, 9 November

About Fears, 1 pm., 1.30 pm., 2 pm, 2.30 pm, the theatre foyer
I dreamt, I dreamt, 3 pm., 5 pm., 7 pm, Hall 99

The author of the illustration Medilė Šiaulytytė