Treading the Borderline

Play(ing) with Reality on the Post-Soviet Lithuanian Theatre Stage


  • Jurgita Staniskyte Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas



Lithuanian Theatre, Play, Reality, Realism, Representation


Duringthesecond decadeof theIndependence, i.e. at thebeginningof thetwenty-first century
the increasing number of performances trying to escape the tradition of anti-mimetic
representation and to re-engage with reality appeared on the Lithuanian theatre stage.
Fragments of everyday reality, ?real?personalities onstage, autobiographic narratives, historic
documents, authentic spaces were becoming increasingly popular, allowing some critics to
proclaim theeagerly awaited ?return to realism?. However, acloser analysisof thistendency of
contemporary Lithuanian theatre can lead one to believe that such performances do not
demonstratetheurgeto return to thetraditional notion of realist representation, but rather to
playfully flirt with reality and its reception in the fictional world of theatre. In the light of
theoretical and practical revisions of the concepts of reality and its representation, young
Lithuanian theatrecreatorsarenot somuch interested in truthful representation of reality, but
rather in a performative investigation of processes of representation and their effects on
audience perception. One might add that while engaging with the codes of reality or ?real?
material onstage, contemporary Lithuanian artists try to dismantle the binary opposition
between realistic representation and anti-realistic playfulness, which dominated the symbolic
mentality of modern Lithuanian theatre. Various forms of playing with reality and fiction on
the Lithuanian theatre stage, their underlying principles and wider cultural implications of
such games are the object of investigation of this article. A comparative analysis of
performances from Lithuania and Estonia will help to highlight the specific character of
Lithuanian theatre as well as to define the patterns of playing with reality present on the
post-Soviet Lithuanian stage.

Author Biography

Jurgita Staniskyte, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas

Jurgita Staniskyte, Ph.D., heads the Theatre Studies Department and is a Professor at the
Faculty of Arts, Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania). She has published numerous
scientific and critical articles on contemporary Lithuanian theatre as well as performative
aspects of post-Soviet Lithuanian culture. Jurgita Staniskyte serves as a member of the
Committee of the Social Sciences and Humanities of the Research Council of Lithuania. She
has published two monographs: Changing Signs: Lithuanian Theatre between Modernism and
Postmodernism (Vilnius, 2008) and Post-Soviet Lithuanian Theatre: History, Memory, Identity
(Vilnius, 2014).




How to Cite

Staniskyte, J. (2018). Treading the Borderline: Play(ing) with Reality on the Post-Soviet Lithuanian Theatre Stage. Nordic Theatre Studies, 26(1), 32–43.



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