2022 May 31
What can a theater festival offer at the time when we live in war? In a war that is not tangible, no shots to be heard outside the window, but as soon as we turn our screens on, we feel besieged and attacked? This year, Sirenos offers a look at how our bodies engage in virtual warfare and everyday battles, how bodies perform on the theater stage today, and whether our bodies can be replaced by technology. The festival is traditionally held in the fall: September 21 – October 9.
The festival, which brings together lovers of large halls and small spaces, this year will invite you to talk about the body: it will comprehensively analyze the topics of the body in today’s social discourse, starting with gender as a social construct, embodied bodies and technological substitutes for the body to the body as a medical hostage and to the body as a tool of language.
Here, an analysis of the body on stage is not going to be shied away from: what is the actor’s place in contemporary theater? Is the actor indispensable? What is the actor’s presence on the stage like today, now, in the near future? What are the new trends in non-verbal language theater, trends in physical theater and performance?
“For the next three years, together with the festival’s team we have chosen to return to the origins of the theater and examine the essential elements of the theater: body, space, text. So this year we start with the body. Each theme will unfold in two vectors: the body on stage and the body as the object of discussion in today’s society, a zone of conflict and struggle. The bodies we fight for the right to exist, to be ourselves,” says Kristina Savickienė, the festival’s artistic director and curator of the international program.
Plays performed through bodies: Names of the Avignon Festival and the energy of the Balkans
The topics of gender as a social construct, the body as a medical hostage, the body as a language tool are inexhaustible, and this year at Sirenos we will try to open up and talk about them in the confrontation with the audience.
On October 1st and 2nd, we will see a performance that the festival has chosen as the main face of SIRENOS’22: extremely colorful and diverse work Dry Season by the French artist Phia Ménard, which inspired the audience of Avignon. Phia Ménard is one of the brightest contemporary French artists, boldly transcending the boundaries of an individual genre. In one place her work is attributed to dance, in another to theater, but everyone agrees that the main tool of her stage language is the body. Phia Ménard, who was born a man, is no stranger to studies of the themes on fluidity, feminism, femininity, and masculinity; her works also have a unique worldview perspective that allows the viewer to see the themes of sexuality in a new and previously unseen way.
On October 5th Uroš Kaurin and Vito Weiss, representatives of the Slovenian Theater will talk about the body as a tool for language and creativity in the second part of the heroes Heroes 2.0. Heroes 2.0 will reveal about how actors, whose profession requires them to be constantly in the spotlight feel on stage today. Citing their undergraduate theses, galloping through different acting styles, the two young actors try to understand their connection with the audience as actors and at the same time the importance of theater in our lives.
Anna Smolar, a well-known Polish-French director from the performance Slow Motion (Lithuanian National Drama Theatre) in Lithuania, on October 6th and 7th will disclose the little-known story of Henrietta Lacks: it is hard to imagine that behind such major scientific breakthroughs as gene therapy, the treatment of cancer and AIDS, lies the cells of one woman’s body. This woman is Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken without her knowledge, transferred to a laboratory and successfully propagated for many years before and after her death. After she died in 1951, her cells continue to live not only in laboratories, but in the bodies of many of us, as they became the basis of the polio vaccine.
On October 8th – another guest from the Balkans: Slovenian choreographer, director and performance artist Nataša Živkovič will present the play Sonny: Albania has an old custom that allows a woman to become a man. Women who have made a vow of chastity are wearing men’s clothing to live as men in the patriarchal society of northern Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Sonny is an attempt to execute an anthropological study of this phenomenon in a performative way. These are shocking and astonishing stories of sworn virgins from remote parts of the Balkans. Is this a kind of rift in the system that supports patriarchal attitudes and the protracted question of what kind of world we live in and how to survive in the world of men?
A unique program dedicated to the capital’s birthday “Vilnius 700”: humanoids, artificial intelligence and bodyless bodies. The series of performances-lectures
This program contains five performative lectures presented by famous foreign creators: a program designed to tell about the latest technologies (robotic-humanoids, artificial intelligence, 3D imaging technologies) and analyze how these technologies change our lives and, at the same time, our own selves.
The unique series of lectures, taking place for the first time in Lithuania, will link at first glance very different areas: technology and theater (for example, a robot-humanoid plays on the stage), as well as a performance as a lecture. The latter synthesis leads to a new genre – performance-lecture, with the help of which extremely serious scientific content is presented in a playful, interesting and unexpected way.
On September 28th and 29th, the international program of the festival will be opened by the performance-lecture Uncanny Valley by Stefan Kaegi, the creator of the German Rimini Protokoll team and the playwright Thomas Melle. Playwright Thomas Melle allowed the director to create his own robot copy. This humanoid acts in the play. The Uncanny Valley asks how the original feels watching one’s own copy? Can actors be replaced by objects and robots in a theater, and what impact do they have on the audience?
On September 30th , the young generation of Polish director Magda Szpecht will invite us to a performance-lecture Cyber Elf. After the onset of the war in Ukraine, Magda has decided that this time was not appropriate for art. She has become a “cyber elf” after putting all her art projects and premieres aside. Magda is part of a virtual elven army in which anonymous soldiers fight Russian trolls and propaganda to get real facts about what’s going on through an endless stream of disinformation. During the performance-lecture, Magda will take us to the place where the disembodied war is being waged, but both the war itself and its soldiers are real people.
On October 3rd and 4th , a Swiss creator Simon Senn and Vidy Theater will present a performance-lecture Be Arielle F. The artist Simon talks about how he buys a 3D photo of a girl’s body online with which he can do whatever he wants, even inhabiting this body himself. What does it mean to live in another’s body? How is market, where anyone can buy a 3D copy of a body and do what they want with it legally regulated?
Another work by Simon Senn is a performance-lecture dSimon. A work with artificial intelligence, which creates new intelligence, brought together media designer, programmer Tammara Leites and artist Simon Senn. Tammara Leites was looking for a volunteer to upload artificial intelligence with his or her data. Simon Senn agreed to share this data, thus giving birth to dSimon, with whom one can interact through the website. But not long after, dSimon showed unexpected and disturbing behavior towards some users of the site… This show will also take place on October 3rd and 4th.
The international program of the festival will be closed on October 9th by the performance-lecture Cerebrum: a former biophysicist specializing in brain plasticity, and now an actor Yvain Juillard, will invite us to explore the functioning of our brains and question the versatility of reality.
In addition to the rich international theater program, this year the Lithuanian Showcase will invite the audience to a meeting with the most relevant and interesting works of the last theater season. As every year, visitors to the festival will have an equally colorful Siren Club program, but find out about all this and more in the upcoming summer news.
You can already buy tickets to the events of the international program on the Bilietai.lt and Teatrai.lt ticket distribution platforms. More information about the events: www.sirenos.lt.
The festival is funded by the Lithuanian Culture Council. The festival is supported by Vilnius City Municipality.
Organizers: VšĮ Teatro informacijos centras and VšĮ Vilniaus festivaliai.