Oskaro Koršunovo Teatras / Vilniaus Valstybinis TeatrasDirector, set designer:
Kamilė GudmonaitėTechnical director:
Mindaugas RepsysSound and lighting designer:
Vladislav BajaznyjProps and costumes:
Dovilė Kundrotaitė, Jovita Jankelaitytė, Adelė ŠuminskaitėTouring manager:
OKT / Teatr Miejski w Wilnie, Litewska Akademia Muzyki i TeatruPremiere:
26 września 2017Supported by
Lithuanian Council of Culture
Trans Trans Trance is a performance about femininity, sexuality, breaking free from stereotypes and the freedom to be who you really are. What is femininity in general? Does being a woman mean having to comply with a certain generally accepted norm? I feel that the binary perception of genders reaffirms stereotypes.
There still are astonished viewers who, after seeing my productions, say, “And this is how a woman creates?” I have frequently repeated that, in my opinion, directing is in fact a very maternal profession, because it requires psychological sensitivity, care, and love for people you work with.
Our work began the moment all of us – the actresses involved and myself – realized that it was not enough to talk only about women and stereotypes related to them. We also realized that it was necessary to leave femininity aside focus less on the clearly defined gender. Trans Trans Trance is an autobiographical play created by women, so we deliberately avoided the topic of masculinity because we wanted to share our personal experiences.
Then we organized meetings with feminists, women activists, transgender individuals, and collected real-life stories and commentaries on them. We conducted interviews in the streets of Vilnius – asked passers-by different questions, and wrote the script that we planned to be performed on stage. And we talked it all over together. In this case, the object of the performance was not the dramaturgy itself, but the society at large.
Born in 1992, representative of the youngest generation of Lithuanian directors, student of Gintaras Varnas, graduate of the Directing Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. She is also a singer, composer, sometimes even an actress. Since 2011, together with actor Mantas Zemlecasks, founding member of Kamanių šilelis, a music duo with two albums under their belt: Viskas teka (2014), Namai (2017). In 2016, she appeared Winter Thaw, a film directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg (Kaleidoscope Pictures). Her debut production Dreamspell, based on A. Strindberg’s play, was staged at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre in the framework of the programme promoting young talents. Her early student works, God is a DJ (2015), based on a play by F. Richer, and Trans, trans, trance (2016), are in the repertoire of Vilnius’ OKT Theatre (Oskaras Korsunovas Theatre) and were presented at the Lithuanian showcase at the Sirenos Festival. God is a DJ introduced viewers into a media-saturated reality, creating an illusion of a technological paradise in which a pair of twenty-year-old protagonists turn their home and lives into an art gallery: they film everything they do, stream it live, and transform their footage into an art installation. Trans, trans, trance is, in turn, an attempt to answer the question about femininity – what if we separated it from gender, from the body, from social norms. And, as it turned out – Trans, trans, trance made history as the first Lithuanian theatre performance about transsexuality. Lithuanian critics applaud Gudmonaitė’s care for actors’ vocal and bodily expression, praising the dense atmosphere of her performances, their significant though sparse set designs, and precise narrative constructions. Gudmonaitė has already director her first Shakespeare – Timon of Athens at the National Theatre, but she prefers contemporary literature and texts created for documentary theatre to the classics. “Today I am interested in what is really happening around us, I am curious to know life as it really is, and not the way it is shown in literature,” declares the young director. In December 2017, the premiere of 4, a play based on V. Pelevin’s novel Chapayev and Void, took place at the Kaunas Chamber Theatre. Gudmonaitė’s latest project is the documentary performance I Dreamt, I Dreamt, staged at the Jaumino Teatras in Vilnius, i.e. at the legendary State Youth Theatre renowned for performances by Nekrošius. I Dreamt, I Dreamt is a shocking juxtaposition of real confessions of lifers as well as the relatives of their brutally murdered victims. Kamile Gudmonaitė and playwright Teklė Kavtaradzė visited the Lukiškės Prison, met the prisoners serving their life sentences there, and recorded conversations with the inmates. Their goal was to examine whether it is possible to have a dialogue between society and people who are marginalized. “Theatre must talk about what we’d rather remain silent about,” says Gudmonaitė. This is her artistic credo for the years ahead.
The creators of Trans, Trans, Trance do not merely speak of hatred caused by our inability to understand and tolerate people who do not identify themselves with their birth-assigned gender and body. In Gudmonaitė’s performance, transgender people are not put on stage for the sake of being there (because someone glibly thought it would be a good idea); they are there to convey their experiences to those who may have no idea what they have to go through, not to mention hate-motivated attacks.
It seems that the iconic question underpinning the practice of the Vilnius City Theatre, namely “Who are you?” (this is a direct reference to Hamlet’s line, shouted out loud during the performance at dressing room mirrors by the entire cast of the Vilnius City Theatre / Oskaro Koršunovo Teatras – translator’s note), has finally found its answer. The performance, which begins with the direct response to the query, i.e. “I am…” (and returns to it at the end), might as well end there: after endless on-stage transformations, the actresses will return to their true identity. The performance suggests that nobody has chosen to be born in his or her body. However, what matters most is that after all the transformations we find our identity and never lose it.
Laura Šimkutė, “Tapatybės paieškos transformacijose”, [“Looking for Identity in Transformations”]
Presentation supported by the Lithuanian Council of Culture