BUSINESS AND ART. Herberts Laukšteins: Art Is a Reminder of Salvation

 

At the end of August, Klaipėda Drama Theatre has begun a new – the 82nd – theatre season. Until spring it is planning to invite the audience to five premières and one renewed performance for children. However, the team is already living in the preparatory moods for the second TheATRIUM international theatre festival.
This year Klaipėda is titled as the Lithuanian capital of culture and the first international theatre festival in the city, organised and implemented by Klaipėda Drama Theatre, has exceeded all expectations. The festival was participated by nine theatres from Poland, Latvia, Estonia, France, Great Britain and Lithuania, showing the best of their performances.
We discussed the festival, theatre, art and its importance in the life of the city, state and each individual person with Herberts LAUKŠTEINS, Director of Liepaja Drama Theatre (Latvia), which participated at the festival.

Mr Herbert, do you think that the modern world, living in apocalyptic moods, can still find meaning in the words of Vincent van Gogh, who said that the purpose of art is love for those that are close to you and that art can save their souls, while these souls, in turn, can continue to save the world? Do you have hope that art can save the world?
If it was so easy – to save the world using art – we wouldn’t have wars, hunger or poverty. Yet, we do need a reminder of compassion and sympathy. We also need to believe that salvation is possible, that good deeds will be rewarded and, most importantly, that God exists. Art is, first of all, a reminder of salvation.

What criteria and moral code do you use to develop the strategy of Liepaja Theatre?
The same as all other theatre people do: the history, tradition and geography of the theatre. And, of course, conscience.

At the international theatre festival in Klaipėda you introduced Stavanger by the Russian director Konstantin Bogomolov. This performance was acknowledged with Spēlmaņu nakts 2012–2013 Latvian national theatre awards in the categories of the “Best performance” and “Best director”. Introducing this performance at the Golden Mask festival in Moscow several years ago, you were worried, when five people from the audience left in the middle of the performance. At that time Maria Reviakina, the Director of the festival, said that it was only five, which showed that the performance was a success. How was this performance, presented by actors that studied acting at the group of Velta and Vytautas Anužiai of Klaipėda University Academy of Arts, received in Klaipėda?
The reception was very well. Klaipėda’s audiences are great and very sensitive to the language of the performance. I was impressed how attentive and even sensitive they were in following the action on stage and the emotional level they were taken to by this complex performance. We are truly thankful to Klaipėda’s audience and hope to meet them again.

How did you like the festival and Lithuanian audience overall? Did they hear what the theatre wanted to say by that performance?
The festival was very interesting by the variety of the participating theatre groups. The audiences were wonderful – thinking and sensitive to everything, what’s happening on stage.
The idea of Stavanger was a reminder and invitation to refrain from indifference. Audience reactions showed that they have also understood and accepted that. This was the greatest reward of all.

Which performances of the festival surprised you, or perhaps even offered new ideas?
I wouldn’t make any exceptions. I watched all performances with greatest interest and each of them was innovative and thought-provoking in its own way.
I think that the festival itself was very high-quality, well-thought and appropriately appreciated by the audiences.

Tomas Juočys, Director of Klaipėda Drama Theatre, developing the repertoire of the theatre and the festival, highlighted the fact that the theatre is not aiming to become an entertainment arena, but rather promotes thinking. The performances of the festival truly offered a number of difficult and complex topics, evil, dirt and cleansing. What message does art send to the society and the world with such performances?
I believe that the message is very simple – let’s not be indifferent! Do you remember the words of one classic author? “Fear the indifferent. Their silent approval allows the worst that happens in the world!”

Klaipėda is hoping to see the already-familiar and new theatre troupes during the second theatre festival, which, as a tradition, will take place in June. What performance is Liepaja Theatre preparing for the upcoming festival?
We would like to show a so-called physical theatre performance – Marriage by N. Gogol. What makes this performance interesting is that it has no text. It was staged by the director Sergei Zemlianskyi from Moscow. Our theatre has showed it numerous times. It has been nominated for Spēlmaņu nakts 2017 national premium already eight times and was invited to two theatre festivals.
We will gladly come to the festival in Klaipėda if only they invite us. The stage and audience in Klaipėda are great!

Thank you for the conversation.
Interviewed by Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė

 

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

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