“Hello Sonya New Year” is a performance that has been frequently and successfully performed at the Lithuanian State Academic Drama Theatre. Its success was guaranteed by the continuity of the familiar and popular theatre by Korsunovas, witty texts by Alexander Vvedensky and particularly by the suggestion of a dadaist opera created by the author of lyrics Sigitas Parulskis and the composer Gintaras Sodeika. This performance finished the Oberiut trilogy directed by Korsunovas, was selected the best performance of the year by young theatre critics and travelled to the famous Edinburgh theatre festival. However, at the same time it also seemed to threaten Korsunovas’ further career – some even claimed that apart from the Oberiuts the young director (at that time he was only 25) would hardly be able to create performances after other authors’ works. However, a shift did take place, and three years later Korsunovas produced a performance that met with a contradictory reaction – “P.S. File O.K.” after the play by Sigitas Parulskis. The poet, writer and translator Parulskis became a “time” bridge connecting the director’s “early” period and his search for a yet unknown theatre. This performance for Korsunovas was a kind of start, after which his creative impetus has been only increasing. The performance “Hello Sonya New Year” renewed at Oskaras Korsunovas Theatre is not a mere retrospective restoration. It is a return of those good old times when the performance’s fans used to watch it thirty three times and resell tickets, like in the late hippie period. The performance’s contemporaries are still alive, but it generates a much wider interest.
Director Oskaras Korsunovas: The Oberiuts thought that the world and man’s life in it is subject to certain laws. They also looked for regularities in art. I’m also trying to look for the same thing in theatre.
Set designer Zilvinas Kempinas: Symmetry and the rhythm of columns create a solemn mood. Everything is black and white, and the only surface of natural colour is the parquet “supported” by the columns (by the way, it’s real, arranged in the criss-cross pattern). It is an allusion to the Christmas execution, when trees are killed for decoration, consecration and sacrifice at the same time. A huge metal clock “to the left of the door” is a ghostly witness of events. The sequence of numbers on it is adequate to the sequence of hours emphasized in the play.
Composer Gintaras Sodeika: While watching the director’s and actors’ work, I wanted to give it meaning with music, so that it would acquire a certain sound. So that even the Doctor’s gun shots would be perceived as part of the musical texture. The director certainly thought about music as a detail of directing; but as I was rehearsing with the actors, I saw the performance, i.e. the director’s work, as a detail of music.
In this way, by competing with each other, we repeated a wonderful law of nature – mocorisis, characterized by a vital interaction of plant roots and mushrooms.
“The most important feature of the director’s ethics is the fact that he does not assess human weaknesses in a positive or negative way. He laughs, but does not mock at anything. In an individual who slowly makes his way towards death from his birth, everything is meaningful, though contradictory, everything is tragic, and this tragedy would be unbearable if it were accompanied with tears rather than joy and festivity. It is a performance directed by a young man who can already deal with a thought about death.
All that provokes a new perception of theatrical expression. “Hello Sonya New Year” brings into our theatre the idea of equal value of everything. And Vvedensky, this literary pre-existentialist who used to “make the meanings of words meet”, pours oil into the mechanism of Korsunovas’ theatre, in which meanings face each other, interact, coexist and do not clash.”
Rasa Paukstytė. Church Festival on the Eight Day of Christmas // 7 meno dienos, 25-03-1994
“A total theatrical merry-go-round is turning and exciting the audience, offering the illusion of flying for the sake of flying and sweet self-destruction.”
Juratė Visockaitė. Christmas at Oskaras’ // Siaurės Atenai, 25-03-1994
“All component parts of the performance stick to each other like the teeth of a cogwheel that put a complex mechanism into action. On the other hand, in each of them a coherent principle related with the poetics of Vvedensky’s theatre is encoded in a different way. It is a principle of deformation, contrast and transformation that takes the form of tragic grotesque. It is felt already in the set by Zilvinas Kempinas – an original hybrid of a gigantic frame and “midget” architecture.”
Audronis Liuga. The Charming Laughter of Death // Lietuvos aidas, 26-03-1994