A Dream Play

Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, 2001
Author: August Strindberg
Directed by Gintaras Varnas

about the production

I do not know whether the element of expectation is the main topic of the play, but this motif simply became sufficiently prominent in our production. What is the most important is not the waiting itself – waiting for the sake of waiting, and even less so what is awaited, but it is the expectation related to some hopes, passions, sadness. Expectation of Something. Something good, nice, interesting, pretty or repulsive, terrible, bad. Waiting interlinked with an almost existential question: Is it inevitable to lose, to sacrifice, to suffer so much in human life? To wait, to long, to love, to hate...? The questions of existential sadness.

Gintaras Varnas, director of the production

Ninety-nine years after it was written, Strindberg's A Dream Play finally sees its Slovak premiere. It has been rehearsed with the Nitra Andrej Bagar Theatre actors by Gintaras Varnas, a guest director from Lithuania. His stage work makes a substantial contribution to the Slovak tradition of staging, in particular by its outer expressive grandeur and minute interplay of the stage set, music, lighting design and Varnas' particularly inventive stage arrangements. The enchanting visual and sound form of the production should be credited apart from the director also to Slovak visual artists: Alexandra Grusková (costumes) and Aleš Votava (stage set) and above all to the fellow countryman of Varnas, the composer Giedrius Puskunigis. His musical composition precisely reflects the whirlwind variety of moods and positions of the text, it quotes techno, opera coloratura, the sound of clavichord as well as the sleepers under the wheels of a train. However, at the same time from this seemingly heterogeneous mixture a central icy tone emerges which does not seem to come from this world. This "breath of spheres" exactly reflects the central expression and feeling of Varnas' Strindberg variation.

Martina Ulmanová, Svět a divadlo, No. 2/2001

 The director managed to achieve what is so unique for Strindberg: to reveal at the same moment both the face and the reverse of a complex idea. To grasp in the play, the endless register of emotions and feelings. In the non-reality he looked for the true theatre reality. He did not want to imitate, but to make more theatre-like Strindberg's "disparate, but seemingly logical form of dream".

Ladislav Čavojský, Literárny týždenník, 22/2/2001



directed by Gintaras Varnas
translation: Ján Zima
dramaturgy: Svetozár Sprušanský
music: Giedrius Puskunigis
stage design: Aleš Votava
costume design: Alexandra Grusková
characters and cast:
Agnes: Miloslava Zelmanová, Poet: Juraj Hrčka, Officer: Marek Majeský, Lawyer: Ivan Vojtek st./Sr., Quarantine Administrator, University Rector: Marcel Ochránek, Female Porter, Female Adrninistrator 1, Ediťs Mother: Adela Gáborová, Glassmaster, Teacher, Philosophy Dean: Ján Greššo, Posterman, Dean of Law: Anton Živčic, Father, Pensioner, Blind Man, Theology Dean: Dušan Lenci, Don Juan, Dean of Medicine: Vladimír Bartoň, Mother, Singer, Coquette: Eva Večerová, Lina, Edit, Female Administrator 2: Jana Valocká, Kristína, Ballet Dancer, Woman: Ivana Kuxová, Victoria, Alice, She: Klaudia Kolembusová, Policeman, He, Pupil 1: Igor Šebesta, Choir Member, Man, Pupil 2, Male Adrninistrator 1: Stanislav Pitoňák, Prompter, Pupil 3: Erik Peťovský, Pupil 4, Male Administrstor 2: Marián Labuda ml./Jr. and others


Gintaras Varnas (1961)

He started his career as a director in an independent theatre studio in Vilnius (1984 – 86) and continued in the Shepa theatre, political puppet theatre for adults, which he himself founded in 1988. In 1988 – 93 he studied Directing and in 1994 – 97 he did postgraduate studies of Directing at the Lithuanian Musical Academy in Vilnius. He participated in theatre stays and workshops in Germany and the United Kingdom. The most important dramas he directed: F. G. Lorca How Five Years Passed (1993), and The Public (1996), P. Calderón de la Barca Teater mundi magnum (1997) and La Vída es Sueňo (2000), B. Strauss Time and the Room (1997), H. Ibsen Hedda Gabler (1998), E. O'Neill: Mourning Becomes Electra (1999). Operas he directed:  R.  Strauss Salome (1999).  G. Verdi Don Carlos (2000), P. I. Tchaikovsky Queen of Spades (2000).

In the survey of Lithuanian theatre critics and publicists Varnas won Kristoforos '98, the award for best directing of the season for his production of Hedda Gabler.

Some of his productions have been presented at intemational festivals in Estonia, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Norway, Canada and USA. He showed the Kaunas State Academic Theatre's Hedda Gabler at Divadelná Nitra '99.