Theatre Węgajty. Fieldwork Project
11-042 jonkowo     węgajty 18     phone/fax: (0048-89) 5129297     art director: wacław sobaszek    
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kalevala



A few words about the idea of the performance. The story ties up with the person of Trev Hill, actor, puppeteer and anthropologist, who since the Spring 1999 has on regular basis participated in the works of our Fieldwork Project. It so happened, that Trev Hill as well as we had made attempts at staging the Kalevala already before. A fusion of those two ideas came about. One was connected with the Lemmikainen rune, the other one with Kullerva rune. The common, tragic motif turned out to be incest, the incestuous love of sister and brother. Trying to reach this mythical motif in our actor's work directed our attention to Egypt...

The Kalevala became for us a journey around the fringes of European culture. Through Estonia, Karelia, Finland, Scandinavia to Scotland and Ireland. And the other way round: from Kaleva, Pohyola, through Russia and Ukraine, with the skomorokh route to the Middle East and Africa.

In the performances as many as three languages speak: English, Polish and Ukrainian. Why this multilinguality? So far, we are as good as condemned to it in our ensemble. We think everyone of those three versions is a mirror, differently reflecting the original and allowing us to create in the imagination that primeval quality and identity of the Kalevala. Thinking of identity and seeking it, we step down as if onto a solid ground. Yet, this road can lead not only to the land which bore this masterpiece. The world presented in the Kalevala still exists in us. The world of superstition, the world of magic. The road takes us to a point of crossroads.
It can be everywhere.
Wacław Sobaszek

direction:
Wacław Sobaszek

performers:
Lemminkäinen, Athi, Kauko, Kullerwo - Trev Hill; in new version Jan Sobaszek
lady Louhi, Kyllikki, sister - Maria Lubyantseva
mother - Erdmute Sobaszek
eagle, raven, lord Pohjoli - Wacław Sobaszek

masks:
lady Louhi, old maid, sister - Maria Lubyantseva
Lemminkäinen - Trev Hill
eagle, raven - Tadeusz Piotrowski
fish - Aneta Fabisiak

translations
Keith Bosley (The Kalevala Oxford University Press 1989)
Jerzy Litwiniuk (Kalevala PIW 1998)
Jewgenij Tymczenko (Kalevala Osnowy 1995)
Józef Ozga Michalski (Kalevala LSW 1980)
Teksty piramid (Leszek Kolankiewicz, Dziady. Teatr święta zmarłych słowo/obraz/terytoria 1999)


Maria Lubyantseva, Trev Hill


Maria Lubyantseva, Trev Hill



"The Kalevala", today considered to be the Finnish national epic, was written down by Eljasa Lönnroth and published in its ultimate version in 1849. It consists of 50 songs, collected by Lönnroth among the most outstanding of his contemporary singers. Until Lönnroth's times, songs were transferred orally, from generation to generation, since times so old that it is indeed hard to establish the work's beginning. In those songs, stories of pre-Christian heroes, customs and charms were preserved.

The "Węgajty" performance bases on songs about one of the most famous heroes of 'The Kalevala', Lemminkäinen, a winsome happy-go-lucky and seducer, but at the same time - a powerful wizard. Lemminkäinen's fortune is an example of the persistence of literary motifs. Martti Haavio, the author of a Finnish mythology book published also in Polish translation, has even found in Lemminkäinen's story some analogies with the Egyptian myth of Osiris. Both the mythical heroes died severed into pieces and became reborn to new life. In this context, the performance of the "Węgajty" ensemble can be treated as a world-old archetypal story of the way of initiation of a hero who every one of us is. Through birth, love and death, he is tending toward resurrection.
Izabela Walesiak Radio Olsztyn
“Kalevala – fragmenty niepisane” 31.10.2000


Maria Lubyantseva


Erdmute Sobaszek, Maria Lubyantseva, Trev Hill



Kalevala - the dark breath of a Finn

(...) The scenography is modest, the props are scarce. Which does not in the least impoverish the picturesqueness of the show, built upon reflexes of one candle's flame, the reflection of warm light on the faces and masks of the actors and out of the terrifying darkness behind them. There, among the evanescent apparitions, shadows growing large on the walls, the other show is going on, a duel spell-against-spell, charm-against-charm. This world of shadows is the mysterious land of Pohjola, the land of wizards, where nothing is what it seems to be.

In the visual sense, the performance is clearly divided into two parts. The first part is the bright one - the birth of the hero, his love affairs and martial success. Speaking in theatre jargon - it is the buffo part of the show. The second part - the dark side of life - is all serious. The stay in Pohjola is for the main character the time of struggle with the most terrifying foe, the most terrible for his not coming from outside, but from the inside, out of the hero's own shadow. Pohjola is the land of unknown powers, of death, but also of dark temptation. Into the Leminkainnen motif another character's plot is woven. It is the story of Kullervo, who incestuously fell in love with his own sister. It is in the black world of Pohjola where there is place for qualms of conscience, despair, love longing and lack of fulfilment. (...)
Iza Walesiak, "Portret" 12. 2001/2002


"Kalevala - the unwritten passages" - the three-language performance directed by Waclaw Sobaszek, the premiere of which took place on 27 January 2001, is a very beautiful and thought-provoking piece.

"Kalevala" for the Finns is what "Niebelungenlied" is to the Germans or the Homeric "Illiad" to the Greeks. Out of the 29 000 lines of the Finnish epic, the Wegajty Theatre was trying to hull the very essence: the piece, lasting about one hour, tells the heroic-comical story of Lemminkeinen, the swaggerer and seducer, killed and quartered in the dark land of Pohjola, whose limbs grow back together and come back to life; and the drama of the incestuous love Kullervo begot to his own sister. (...)
Tadeusz Szyłłejko, "Gazeta Wyborcza" - Olsztyn, 6-12 December 2002






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