Lithuanian Drama Theater

Lithuanian Drama Theater

 

(full name, Academic Drama Theater of the Lithuanian SSR), founded in 1940 as the Vilnius State Theater. Actors from the Kaunas Drama Theater formed the basis of the troupe.

Even in the theater’s first few productions, realistic national traditions were combined with the use of the experience of Soviet Russian theatrical art. After the liberation of Lithuania from the fascist invaders (1945), the theater’s company was joined by actors from the Vaidila Theater in Vilnius. Among the best productions of the 1940’s and 1950’s were The Daughter-in-law, based on a work by žemaité (1945); Enemies by Gorky (1946; State Prize of the USSR, 1947); The Truth of the Blacksmith Ignotas by Gudaitis-Guzevičius (1950); The Drowned Maiden, after Vienuolis, and Predawn Fate by Sruoga (both 1956); and Hamlet by Shakespeare (1959). In 1954 the troupe participated in a ten-day festival of Lithuanian literature and art in Moscow.

Important productions in the 1960’s and early 1970’s included Blood and Ashes, after Marcinkevičius (1961); Mindaugas (1969) and The Cathedral (1971) by Marcinkevičius; The Alarm by Saja (1962); The Lower Depths by Gorky (1964); Master and Sons, after Cvirka (1965); Invasion by Leonov (1966); Even a Hundred Lives by Būténas and Kernagis (1967); and The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants, after Dostoevsky (1971). The figure of V. I. Lenin was presented for the first time on the Lithuanian stage in the productions of Pogodin’s The Kremlin Chimes (1955) and The Third Pathétique (1961). In 1955 the theater was awarded the title “Academic.”

Among those who have worked at the Lithuanian Drama Theater are People’s Artists of the USSR B. E. Dauguvietis and J. V. Siparis and Honored Art Workers of the Lithuanian SSR J. P. Rudzinskas and R. M. Juknevičius. The troupe (1973) includes People’s Artists of the Lithuanian SSR K. M. Kimantaité, L. A. Kupstaité, M. P. Mironaité, and S. K. Jukna; Honored Art Worker of the Lithuanian SSR J. I. Kavaliauskas; People’s Artist of the Lithuanian SSR J. I. Surkevičius; and Honored Artists of the Lithuanian SSR G. V. Kurauskas and A. D. Kernagis. The principal director is Honored Art Worker of the Lithuanian SSR G. P. Vancevičius.

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