How far can a director go in experimenting with form and studying the world, society and human nature through theater?
One answer includes “turning off” the sound of a performance. You can experience this at the Gertrude Street Theater attending Russian director Vsevolod Lisovskiy’s silent performance “A Situational Comedy”. There is, however, no trace of comedy, as the two actresses Ināra Slucka and Jana Jacuka interact onstage in silence. Only subtitles in Latvian and Russian reveal their thoughts and experiences.
Actor Jana Jacuka, who is also a dancer and choreographer, reveals that both actresses don’t know what’s going to happen at the beginning of the performance:
“We go out, and that’s all we know – that we’re going out. What happens next, how it develops we don’t know, and every time something else happens.”
The experimental basis of this postdramatic genre is Lisovskiy’s previous single-actor performance “The Silence on a Given Theme”. “I work a lot with the technique of silence. When I was offered to stage a performance here I didn’t want to show the same thing, so I added silence in dialogue, and the audience having knowledge of the content of each actor’s silence,” explained Lsiovskiy.
Producer Evgeniya Shermeneva reveals that the subtitles are different in every performance, as they reflect what the actors have experienced before every show. “Every day they send them to the director, who compiles them. It’s interesting how when they’re apart they begin to think about and feel each other,” says the producer.
“The authors have precisely pinpointed postdramatic theater. It includes a lot – that which is outside of text ad outside of drama in the traditional sense. It’s very interesting, it requires an enormous amount of attention, and the audience really contained themselves, because each sound is very audible here,” commented theater critic Atis Rozentāls.
The next performance will be December 4, at 19:00 at the Gertrude Street Theater.