Lately, we often have to hear a question, even a confirmation – „nothing happens in the theater at this moment”. We have to agree that there are no LIVE meetings with the audience, because VIRTUAL meetings, especially with pupils, are very active. And on the theater stage – an intense creative process is taking place – a performance based on Witold Gombrowich’s play „Ivona, Princess of Burgundy” is being staged.

For many years now, Alytus City Theater has been inviting foreign directors to stage performances. This time, during the implementation of the project „Building Bridges: Development of Tourism and Culture in the Sovetsk and Alytus Regions”, the director from Hungary Szabo K. Istvan came to the theater. His creative portfolio includes productions in various theaters: Romania, Germany, Hungary, and the United States. This will be the first performance created by the director in Lithuania, but he is visiting Alytus for the second time. The first meeting took place in 2019 during the COM • MEDIA International Theater Festival.

The director Szabo K. Istvan, who decided to build the grotesque play in Alytus, says that he chose it because the work is very actual to this region.

„First of all, it’s my favorite play. Secondly, it is a very familiar play for this region. Witold Gombrowich is a famous Polish writer who occupies an important place in Polish literature. Its aesthetic path is close to this theater, this country, this region, ”says the director, adding that when he first visited the Alytus City Theater, he saw interesting performances, interesting aesthetics, many details that are close to this controversial twentieth century. a personality occupying a unique place in the history of world theater. „And when I thought about what could be done in this theater, this play adapted and came naturally to this place and to this theater.”

Stage director Szabó K. Istvan (photo from personal archive)

The play „Ivona, Princess of Burgundy” tells the story of an unusual girl whom Prince Philip decides to marry. The prince’s parents were very unhappy with the immature will of the adult son. Meanwhile, the dumb and ugly young lady surprises the environment, causing a feeling of discomfort, revealing the extent of nasty hitting and adapting. The inability to overcome the incomprehensible and „awkward” prince’s fiancée, who disturbs the power of ugliness, forces him to take radical measures …

„Lately, I’ve been increasingly concerned about the emptiness of forms,” ​​says the director. “This problem has covered Witold Gombrowicz, and our times reinforce our understanding of what he saw and what he wrote about … but today the empty form is much louder and noisier. Empty forms of patriotism, hierarchy, love, beauty, truth, faith – hints of a terrible individual and social crisis. Ivona is a silent resistance, in the light of which the lie of the hysteria of the social system is highlighted, ”Szabo K. Istvan shares his thoughts. Just before arriving in Lithuania, the director managed to collect the prestigious Hungarian state award Jászai Mari, where he was nominated for the best theater director.

The director is accompanied by an international team of composers: composer Cári Tibor, choreographer Baczó Tündeir and painter Arturas Simonis.

Scenography by Arturas Simonis  (AMT photo)

The daylight performance is scheduled to see in late April. It will most likely be a virtual meeting, as today does not yet allow us to dream of physical meeting with the audience. However, it is worth looking at a brighter future, because it will definitely happen someday and spectators will be able to enjoy this and other performances created at Alytus City Theater.

Scenography by Arturas Simonis  (A. Simonis photo)

The performance is being created by implementing the project LT-RU-2-063 “Building Bridges: Tourism and Culture Development in Sovetsk and Alytus Regions” funded by the European Union. The total budget of the project is EUR 573,856.81 and the funding of the program is EUR 516,471.12. The share of Alytus City Theater in the budget is 267951.84 EUR, and the part financed by the program for Alytus City Theater is 241,156.65 EUR. Project duration – 24 months. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Alytus City Theater and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.