based on Alessandro Baricco’s novel
(this production is no longer shown)
Erve, silkworm trader – GEDIMINAS STORPIRSTIS
Elena, his wife – BIRUTE MAR
Japonese woman – ANDRE PABARCIUTE, EDITA STUNDYTE
Translation from Italian language by PRANAS BIELIAUSKAS
One-act performance. Duration: 1h 30 min
Premiere – 23 May, 2008 in the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre. The performance was shown on the Small Stage of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre in 2008-2011 as well as presented at the Vilnius International Theatre Festival “Sirenos” (2009) and on the stage of the Palace of the Republic of Minsk (Belarus, 2010)
“SILK” is one of the most mysterious novels by Alessandro Baricco as it is light as air, fragile and transparent. Alessandro Baricco himself described his work in the most beautiful sense: it is “white music” which sometimes disturbs… “When it is well played, it is as if one can hear silence playing…”
The story is about a man, a silkworm trader, living in the 19th-century. He travels to Japan, leaving his wife Elena at home, in the small town of Lavidje, at a time when there were no planes, no internet, no connection, no electricity (according to the author, “there were no washing machines and neither psychoanalysts”) and time was ticking slower, and people waited months for a letter… It is about a man who meets another woman in Japan, and her voice is never heard. Yet it is a woman who he will start to think more and more about and she will overwhelm all his thoughts and feelings. It is about a wife who will always wait for him to return in silence…
It seems like a cliche. It is about the illusion of human existence, love, passion, ad fragility. It is about human connection and longing which is fragile and transparent as a silk. It is also about the tale of a passing life. It is Alessandro Baricco’s point of view in which he sees the human existence as a fairy tale, a myth – you know that it is fiction, but you still believe in it.
“Silk” has a a poem-like structure as there is no action or dialogue here. Thus, it was interesting to be inspired by this “poem” in which I was allowed to improvise in my own way, to create a play about the relationship between two people, Elena and Erve, who lived their lives together. What did they talk about, what did they do, how would they meet after months of waiting?
This performance was born differently than usual. We have been going and continuing to perform each performance “blindfolded” like Erve, the hero of “Silk”.
FROM THE PRESS REVIEWS
“In the performance, the white translucent veil is also important, dividing the scene into two parts: this side and beyond… In the horizon behind the veil where the paper birds swing, there is an echo of the bell ringing; this is where Erve travels to as if reaching a spirit level that which is eternal. The stage action takes place in parallel; separated by the veil to show the crossroads of reality and illusion. The distance is dominated by vertical lines. On one part, curved and horizontal bells go side by side in the image of a gate. It is only at the end of the performance that the boundaries between the two realities disappear, when Elena, who is no longer expected to greet her man returning from Japan, tears off her veil…
The performance features “white music” which Alessandro Baricco wrote about: “All stories have their music; this one is ‘white music’. It is important to say this, because ‘white music’ is a strange kind of music, sometimes disconcerting. It is played softly and it is danced slowly. White music is as if woven from the veil of white performance itself. The music is in the nuances of the relationships between the characters as it is playing so easy, barely flickering.”
Silk is beautiful, slippery, smooth, light… The novel by Alessandro Baricco emerged from the “feeling of silk” which began a graceful, artistic, fruitful and attentive staging of a literary work. This performance is a strong, independent theatrical work.”
“The Sense of Silk” by Margarita Luzyte (Nemunas, 2009)