Ausekļa Limbažu teātris — Nejauša dekoratīva bilde

As Always

As Always

by Ilgonis Škāns & «Free Version»

Tukums Youth Theatre «Free Version», Tukums, Latvia
Directed by Ilgonis Škāns
(Joyful, crazy, painless life snapshots from Latvian life in a paradoxical format)

Regardless of the enormous pace of progress in the development and achievements of science and technology, people have not essentially changed. As always, we all have less and less time, as always, we have greater opportunites for managing things in virtual space, and as ever, we become more catastrophically alienated. We continue to enjoy ourselves, to hope, to endure, and to love. As ever, each of us suffers, harbors some secret known only to ourselves.

Two young women, Maruta and Maldina, live far from the big city. Here at every turn one still feels the presence of nature, here one is still ruled by neighborly contacts. Here one abides by local customs. The spiritual bond with neighbors is diminished by the arrival from abroad of Laima, who has become the owner of Maruta’s and Maldina’s house. Midsummer Eve as if brings the people closer again, however, the moment of gaiety is like the holiday’s brief fireworks. On the surface everything appears so comprehensible, moving, and funny, especially when Maruta and Maldina are faced with existential decisions.

The performance explores the externally, publicly unnoticed aspects of a “simple” person’s life, his happiness and grief, aspects where motivations and emotions stem from life itself and serve as an impetus for passionate and comical but not elevated dialogue about sensitive personal communication problems, about man’s spiritual life in a great variety of contexts. These the actors of the youth theatre “Free Version” robustly bring onstage, creating a unique project about “those who live next door.”

The theatre-studio “Free Version” has been active since 1982, bringing together 10 actors, ages 20-30, from both the student milieu and the work force. Its projected creative tasks are to examine the multiplicity of meanings found in one’s inner world and to traini to perform in a variety of genres. Thereby the work of the studio avoids one-sidedness. The theatre program’s aim is to create freely, in keeping with one’s convictions; the realization of this aim, in turn, is dependent on professional know-how and on knowledge of what has been achieved in the past in theatre.

The theatre-studio “Free Version” has become one of the most innovative theatres in Latvia. This claim is supported by productions such as D.Kharm’s “A Celebration of Life,” “The World Exists, as Does the Unforseeable,” A.Chekhov’s plays, “The Proposal,” “Jubilee”,”The Horrible” S. Mrozek’s “Striptease,” N.Gogol’s “The Overcoat,” R.Quineau’s “Passing By”, N.Gogol’s “The Obsessed” (based on N.Gogol’s story “The Nose”), and I.Škan’s “Difficulties”.

The studio’s productions have repeatedly been selected as the year’s most prestigious amateur theatre event in Latvia(1996,1998, 2001,2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). In March 2004, the production of “The Overcoat” won the title of the “Production of the Year.” In the fall of 2004, “The Overcoat” was chosen as the best production at the St.Petersburg YouthTheatre Festival “Time to Fly.”

The theatre-studio has participated not only in festivals in Latvia but also at international venues. The highest recognition was earned in Egypt at the 11th World Experimental Theatre Festival, where it several times performed D.Kharm’s “A Celebration of Life”. In July, 2003, Latvia was for the first time represented by “Free Version” at the World Amateur Theatre 26th Congress and Festival in Halifax, Canada with “The World Exists, So Does the Unforseen.” In July, 2005, the theatre-studio represented Latvia for the second time at the World Amateur Theatre 27th Congress and Festival in Monaco. There it won acclaim from the jury , and the production of “The Overcoat” was awarded the Festival’s “Honorary Prize”. In April, 2006, the production of “The Obsessed” won the production of the year title in Latvia and was awarded in five categories. “The Obsessed” was chosen for participation in the official program in Summer, 2007, of the 28th Amateur Theatre Congress and Festival in South Korea (Chagan and Masan) by the organization’s selection committee. In December, 2007, “Difficulties’ was selected for participation in St.Petersburg’s Festival “Christmas Parade,” organized by Russia’s Theatre Workers Union. The production won recognition for “The successful use of theatrical language, for the imaginative power of the director, and for the unity of form and content.”

In March 20-27, 2008, the studio participated in the International Theatre Festival in St.Petersburg, “An Open Field – Theatre from Nothing”.

“Free Version” does not base its work on preconceived conventions, schemes, or routines. The studio seeks its own theatrical language system to express thoughts and messages . Indeed, the desire to give expression to these serves as the motivating force in the creation of a production. “Free Version” is open to experimentation, ideas, quests, because that which is strange and unusual has the greatest right to existnce.