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Sons of a Bitch

Saulius Šaltenis

author of the adaptation: Saulius Šaltenis | scenario: Saulius Šaltenis | directed by: Eimuntas Nekrošius | set designer: Marius Nekrošius | costume designer: Nadežda Gultiajeva | composer: Antanas Jasenka | lighting designer: Marius Nekrošius | assistant director: Marius Pažereckas

cast:
Darius Meškauskas – Bell ringer Karvelis
Karolina Kontenytė – Lotė
Edvardas Brazys – Adviser Abelis
Regina Šaltenytė – Marija
Igoris Reklaitis – Doctor Zaksas
Vaidas Jočys – Teacher
Vidas Jakimauskas / Aurimas Pintulis – Kristijonas
Donatas Švirėnas / Jonas Baranauskas – Beggar, former judge; Mister Plague
Nijolė Sabulytė – Kristijonas’ mother
Justina Vanžodytė / Sigutė Gaudušytė – White Bitch

date of the premiere: 03.02.2018

What I Saw


Right from the start, I need to admit, I’m at a big disadvantage talking about Sons of a Bitch.  First of all, I’m unfamiliar with the novel.  I tried to get a hold of it before seeing the show but don’t believe that it has been translated into English.  Then I’m really unfamiliar with the many events from Lithuanian history that it references.  Lastly, the supertitles were flying by so fast, I was completely unable to keep up with the text and often had no idea what was going on.  This is a shame because Nekrosius from all reports was and still is (he passed away a couple years ago and this was his final production) the most influential director in Lithuanian theater.

In many ways, what was most exciting was hearing his actors talking about him the following day at the talkback with tremendous love and admiration.  They talked about how he would focus on an object and encourage the actors to do as many things as they could with it.  For example, at the beginning of the show, the narrator of the story enters with a big stump and he rolls it in, throws it up in the air, and passes it around behind his back as he is introducing the story to us.  The actor said that he was encouraged by Nekrosius to explore every possibility with the stump.  Similarly, to signify snow, each actor had a jar of little Styrofoam balls and they would blow into the jar making the balls swirl and spin.  This became a recurring image used in various ways.   

As I said, I did not follow the story but at the talk back it was clear that the story has a lot of resonances with Lithuanian history, the Bible, and even with Nekrosius’s own death which he foresaw.  For much of the play, a dead body is lying on a bed next to the kitchen table where the other characters are eating.  For many at the talk-back, this dead body was a symbol of Nekrosius himself.

-Rob Melrose
 

About the Artist

KRZYSZTOF WARLIKOWSKI is one of the revivers of the language of the European theatre. For many years, his productions have been shaping more than just the face of the new theatre. With over ten Shakespearean premieres, the director created a new canon of producing plays by the Stratford author, based on Jan Kott’s interpretations. His interpretation of Cleansed revolutionized thinking about the boundaries of theatre. First productions by Warlikowski in theatres in Poland and abroad were, among others, Hamlet produced in Tel Aviv (1997) and Warsaw (1999), The Taming of the Shrew in Warsaw (1998), The Tempest in Stuttgart (2000) and Warsaw (2003). The director focuses also on classical drama – including Electra by Sophocles (1997) and Bacchae by Euripides (2001) – and on contemporary drama, e.g. West Pier by Bernard-Marie Koltès (1998), Cleansed by Sarah Kane (2001), Krum by Hanoch Levin (2005), Angels in America by Tony Kushner (2007). In 2006, Madame de Sade by Yukio Mishima premiered in Toneelgroep in Amsterdam. In 1999, he began his years-long cooperation with Rozmaitości Theatre (currently TR) in Warsaw, where he produced seven performances. During that time, he directed also abroad – in Zagreb, Bonn, Nice, Amsterdam, Hanover and Paris. In 2000, he debuted as an opera director, preparing in the Grand Theatre-National Opera the premiere of the opera by Roxanna Panufnik The Music Programme. Since then, he created over a dozen opera productions in various countries. Since the beginning of 2008, Warlikowski has been the artistic director of Teatr Nowy, which he established in Warsaw with a group of his permanent collaborators. In May 2009, he directed the first premiere of that theatre – (A)pollonia – based on texts of, among others, Aeschylus, John Maxwell Coetzee, Euripides, Hanna Krall and Jonathan Littell. His following productions in Teatr Nowy are: A Streetcar on the basis of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams as a co-production of Nowy Theatre and Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris, starring Isabelle Huppert and Andrzej Chyra (2010), The End (2010), based on the texts by Koltès, Kafka and Coetzee, African Tales by Shakespeare (2011), Kabaret warszawski (2013) inspired by I’m a Camera by John van Druten and the movie Shortbus by John Cameron Mitchell, The French (2015) inspired by Marcel Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time, We are living based on Levin’s play Suitcase Packers (2018) and Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood (2021). In 2011, the movie Gli Italiani by Łukasz Barczyk, starring Warlikowski, premiered. In 2021, the director received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.