THE LOVER

Solo performance based on the autobiographical novel by MARGUERITE DURAS

Scriptwriter and Director – BIRUTE MAR
Scenography – ARTURAS SIMONIS
Video Projection – ANDRIUS JAKUCIONIS
Costume Designer – JOLANTA RIMKUTE
Music Composer – ANTANAS JASENKA

Translated to Lithuanian language by PRANAS BIELIAUSKAS

Performed by BIRUTE MAR

Duration: 1 hour

A renewed performance at Solo Theatre in 2018 (previously showcased at the Arts Printing House and the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre)

The performance is performed in Lithuanian, Russian or English language

The main themes of the famous French writer Marguerite Duras (1914 – 1996): love as a salvation of soul, nostalgic waiting, and trying to avoid the mad passion and crimes. The writer investigates the world of desires but she also rejects psychological analysis and does not seek to reveal the reasons for characters’ actions.

“The Lover” is an autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras. It was written in 1984 and awarded for The Prix Goncourt. It is a story about the love of a fifteen-year-old French and Chinese millionaire in Indo-China in the 1930s. For the first time, the heroine experiences a passion “from which one can die”. This infinitely open, passionate, shocking confession of a woman is the basis of the performance. “The Lover” by Birute Mar is a modern performance that conveys the poetic means of M. Duras’ works, using theatricality such as lighting, music and dance.

Birutė Mar:

“The Lover” is one of the riskiest experiments on stage for me. This novel by M. Duras laid on the table for a very long time and it was always temping to stage it but I couldn’t decide; it seemed that this piece was impossible to adapt onto stage. Although I wanted to undertake this project very much… And I managed it to makes this happen only after 10 years.

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read, although it seems that it is the most cliche too: the passion between a 15-year-old French girl and a wealthy 30-year-old Chinese man. The story tells about the first experience of young heroine’s carnal feelings, desire and love, the first personal affairs about intimate moments which are engraved in our memories either as funny or sorrowful, nice or sad secrets…

In the novel of M. Duras, this sexual experience is shown especially delicately and sensitively because the text infuriates not only with its openness and liberty but also with simple expression about the most intimate life events. M. Duras wrote this autobiographical story at the age of 70, hence her emphasis on this distance of departed time, reminiscing of memories and creating a myth about “the passion from which one can die of” charmed me very much.

In addition, “The Lover” is fascinating because of the place of action: Indo-China, Saigon in the 1930s: its colours, smells, atmosphere, exotic taste of the Eastern culture and traditions… I have been through something similar when I spent a year in Japan (I studied Japanese theatre and dance there). I sensed the differences between Eastern and Western cultures and human mentality…

How to put my own experience on the stage? How to convey the moods of love and passion, the love story of two people, a change of my own attitude towards using all theatre means possible (music, colour, light, movement, voice)? It was interesting to work with “The Lover” as the universality of the piece allowed me to put a lot of authentic things.

The main purpose was to make aware of this silent story hidden behind the words of M. Duras as it contained all the colours of life – joy, pain, closeness and loneliness. This silence proclaims the mystery of our brittle life, irretrievable time, love and death…

This silent story perhaps is an invisible “energetic charge” behind the stilly retrospective narration leading up to a scream of confession…

I think that the genre of solo performance was the closest way to express the intonations of M. Duras’ story because the solo performance is an ability to show the ultimate scenic empathy which allows us to be close to the audience and to talk about very intimate things.

From Press Reviews

“The rhythm of this short, minimalistic, but full of remarkable insights performance is so rich that you have a feeling that you see the entire life of the protagonist. The accumulation of things which seem difficult to combine amazes the spectator. The tragedy resulting from the impossibility of existence and – despite that – the happiness of living the life to the full, implied by the physical pleasures, fragments of French songs, red kimono (even though worn out, it is a real silk), the calm of waters (never mind they are dirty) of Mekong shown in a brilliant way by a rolling line on a video projection.”

  Saulius Macaitis (Lietuvos rytas, Lithuania, 2001)

“The performance based on Marguerite Duras’ novel and staged by Birute Mar was one of the few shows I have seen in which both the body language and the speech combined in untamed eroticism and gentleness, intimacy and modesty. And these two means of communication form a dialogue. Oh, what a fabulous love for love and the theatre.” 

   Prof. Shimon Levy (Teatro, 2008, Israel)

“The vivid passages by Birute Mar resemble Munch’s Scream and The Dance of Life. The tragic expressionism, on which the monodrama is based, makes it possible to break free from all the different taboos. On the other hand, subtle Eastern elements (red pomegranate, huge pearl shell, Chinese straw hat) become evocative symbols of the soul, lost alone as well as the body torn by passions.”

Tatjana Baltusnikiene (Echo Litvy, Lithuania, 2001) 

“The solo performance “The Lover” adapted from Marguerite Duras’ novel and performed by Birute Mar is a rare and genuine aesthetic work full of musical emotionality with the dynamic pauses and ideas, an ability to talk about the most intimate things courageously and without a drop of vulgarity, a minimalistic scenography including video projections and costume design. This all comes down to 18 years of work as this is how long this production has been running for. Phenomenal.”

Valdas Puteikis, journalist, FB, 2019

Awards

1st prize at International Monodrama Festival “Monocle”, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2001

Grand Prix at International Monodrama Festival “Vidlunia”, Kiev, Ukraine, 2001

Jury award and Moscow Actor Society’s special prize for the Best Actor’s Skill at International One Man Show Festival, Moscow, Russia, 2002

1st prize at International Monodrama Festival “Thespis”, Kiel, Germany, 2003

Jury prize for The Artistic Complexity of the Performance at International Theatre Festival “Armmono”, Yerevan, Armenia, 2003

Wroclaw City Award at International Theatre Festival “Wrostja”, Wroclaw, Poland (for the solo performances: “LOVER”, “ANTIGONE” and “WORDS IN THE SAND”), 2004

Grand Prix at International Monodrama Festival “Zvaigzdne”, Ogre/Venspils, Latvia, 2004

Grand Prix at International Monodrama Festival, Bitola, Macedonia, 2004

Grand Prix at International Monodrama Festival “I”, Molodecny, Belarus, 2005

Grand Prix and Audience Award at International Monodrama Festival “Atspindys”, Visaginas, Lithuania, 2006

1st prize at International Monodrama Festival “Monobaltija”, Kaunas, Lithuania (“LOVER”), 2009

Award for the Best Female Role at International Chamber Theatre Festival “Ludi”, Oriel, Russia, 2010

Best Female Role award and Best Solo Performance award at International Chamber Theatre festival, Oriel, Russia, 2011

International Festivals and Tours

International Festival of Experimental Theatres “Gutta Cavat”, Riga, Latvia, 2000

International Theatre Festival “Transit”, Holstebro, Denmark, 2001

International Monodrama Festival “Monocle”, St.Petersburg, Russia, 2001

International Monodrama Festival “Vidlunia”, Kiev, Ukraine, 2001

Belarusian State Drama Theatre, Minsk, Belarus – performance tour, 2002

International Women Theatre Festival “Magdalena Pacifica” in Cali-Bogota, Colombia, 2002

International One Actor Festival, Moscow, Russia, 2002

International Monodrama Festival “Thespis”, Kiel, Germany, 2003

International Youth Theatre Festival, Pula, Croatia, 2003

International Street Theatre Festival, Porec, Croatia, 2003

International Monodrama Festival “Armmono”, Yerevan, Armenia, 2003

International Monodrama Festival “Zvaigzdne”, Venspil, Latvia, 2004

International Monodrama Festival, Bitola, Macedonia, 2004

International Monodrama Festival “Wrostja”, Wroclaw, Poland, 2004

International Monodrama Festival “Ja” (“I”) Molodecno, Belarus, 2005

European Theatre Festival „Best of European Solo“, Chicago, USA, 2005

Kaliningrad State Theatre “Na Baseinoj” – performance tour, Russia, 2006

International Monodrama Festival “Atspindys”, Visaginas, Lithuania, 2006

Festival of European Theatre convention „Backstage Europe“, St.Ettiene, France, 2006

International Youth Theatre Forum “Mart kontakt”, Mogiliov, Belarus, 2008

International “Teatro Netto” festival, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2008

International Theatre Festival “Slavianskije teatralnyje vstretshi”, Gomel, Belarus, 2008

International Monodrama Festival “Monobaltiia”, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2009

International Theatre Festival “Arts-Scene”, Vaugnery, France, 2010

International Chamber Theatre Festival, Oriel, Russia, 2011

International Monodrama Festival, Vladikavkaz, Russia, 2011

International Monodrama Festival, Fujaira, UAE, 2012

Al Madina Theatre, Beirut, Lebanon – performance tour, 2012

International Theatre Festival “Vasara” (“Summer”), Druskininkai, Lithuania, 2013

International Monodrama Festival “Atspindys”, Visaginas, Lithuania, 2015

International Theatre Festival “Monofest’2016”, Selcuk, Turkey, 2016

International Theatre Festival “Druskininku vasaros teatro sankryza”, Lithuania, 2018

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