S. Šaltenis’s novel as a work of national dramaturgy is relevant during this period, when Lithuania was restored and stepped into the centenary. This is a novel that takes us back to the Donelaitis epoch, which is historically and geographically close to the Klaipėda region.
The novel brings together many layers: the historical past of Lithuania – German colonization, wars with the Russians, Polish influence, first enlightened people: Kristijonas Donelaitis, Martynas Mažvydas, Antanas Strazdas – educators and pastors of the dark folk; tales, stories, superstitions, spells, incantations and witchcraft; echoes from even older times – the communities of the matriarchate – myths; postulates of the Holy Scripture.
The painter and writer Leonardas Gutauskas said about this novel by S. Šaltenis: Sons Of A Bitch is a cruel miracle, weaved of golden light and black dungeon threads… The book that Lithuanian literature has never seen before.
Sons of A Bitch
author of the adaptation: Saulius Šaltenis | scenario: Saulius Šaltenis | directed by: Eimuntas Nekrošius | set designer: Marius Nekrošius | costume designer: Nadežda Gultiajeva | composer: Antanas Jasenka | lighting designer: Marius Nekrošius | assistant director: Marius Pažereckas
Darius Meškauskas – Bell ringer Karvelis
Karolina Kontenytė – Lotė
Edvardas Brazys – Adviser Abelis
Regina Šaltenytė – Marija
Igoris Reklaitis – Doctor Zaksas
Vaidas Jočys – Teacher
Vidas Jakimauskas / Aurimas Pintulis – Kristijonas
Donatas Švirėnas / Jonas Baranauskas – Beggar, former judge; Mister Plague
Nijolė Sabulytė – Kristijonas’ mother
Justina Vanžodytė / Sigutė Gaudušytė – White Bitch
date of the premiere: 03.02.2018
One of the keynotes of the play is the metaphor of the natural tree stump (block) shown by the director. At the beginning of the performance, the block is banged into the stage by the organ player Karvelis. A heavy piece of wood is rolled, thrown, slid until inthe finale it turns into a centrepiece, where Karvelis circles around it many times, led by the metaphysical figure of the ghost White Bitch (act. Sigutė Gaudušytė), or maybe a guardian angel, to the afterlife world. The stump is like a human’s life full of suffering and sins, it is heavy, uncomfortable, constantly getting in the way and always occurring in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Only Kristijonas, rising from his coffin-bed at the end, throws the heavy stomp up easily and dangerously high, like a feather, confirming the knowledge that the burden of life of all mortals and the weight of their sins is not the same.
In the end, once again, about the realistic world of the Nekrošius theatre, which strengthens the poetry of love, death and repentance. Absolute daily routine, and surrealistic things (a block, a table standing not only in the horizontal stage landscape, but also in the vertical, snow in glass containers) create a rare dynamism of the world – a threatening, meditative, ritualistic one. Such are the paper codes of the assistants and Marija. Like omens, of the visible and concealed papers emerge, announcing of the constantly threatening, mind-boggling treacheries, about what needs to be preserved.
Deconstructing Eimuntas Nekrošius is like trying to reveal the mysterious laws of the universe while being an ordinary teacher of physics. And this time, the director has created a unique galaxy called the Sons Of A Bitch. And this time he allowed to watch it from the top. For several hours I was like the ghost over the widow’s house, looking down into a ghostly, mysterious Kosmos of E. Nekrošius. I felt like a child who was for the first time shown from the first glance a chaotic, inexplicable but mysteriously captivating picture of the universe’s swarm. Intuitively, I realized that everything here was subject to certain laws, bound by the force of gravity, and tied up with Nekrošius threads.
EIMUNTAS NEKROŠIUS (1952–2018) graduated from the theatre directing studies at A. Lunacharsky Theatre Arts Institute in Moscow (Andrei Goncharov’s group). In 1978-1979 he directed in Kaunas Drama Theatre, in 1979-1991 at the Lithuanian State Youth Theatre in Vilnius, and in 1993-1997 was the director of the LIFE Lithuanian International Theatre Festival. In 1998, he established a theatre studio Meno Fortas in Vilnius and was the artistic director. Awards: State Prize of the LSSR (1983) and the USSR State Prize (1987, with others), the Baltic Assembly Award (1994), the European Theatre Award “For the New Theatre Realities” (1994), the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Award (1997), award of K. Stanislavsky International Public Benefit Foundation for the significant contribution to the development of world theatre art (2001), National Cultural Advancement Award (2008). He was a Commander of the Order of the Gediminas Cross (1998) and Grand Cross “For Merits to Lithuania” (2003). Eimuntas Nekrošius has directed 42 performances, some of them abroad, including La Scala, Milan; Moscow Grand Theatre; National Theatre in Warsaw and other theatres. Sons of A Bitch is his latest performance (premiered in February 2018), staged in Klaipėda Drama Theatre.