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‘‘Solo Theatre”

Small Hall
Duration 1.00

Premiere 2019

Based on the novel written by Julie Otsuka (adapted by Birute Mar)
Translated from English Emilija Ferdmanaitė
Playwright, director Birutė Mar
Set designer, costume designer Indrė Pačėsaitė
Video projections Karolis Bratkauskas
Light designer Audrius Jankauskas
Composer Antanas Kučinskas
Choreographer, assistant director Sigita Mikalauskaitė

Performance in Lithuanian with English surtitles

The novel “The Buddha in the Attic” created by Japanese American contemporary writer Julie Otsuka was very well received as it was awarded with some major American literature prizes. In the novel, the stories of Japanese expatriates who travelled from Tokyo to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century are told: Japanese men went on boats to San Francisco after World War I in order to find a job. As a result, having made enough money, some of them returned to Japan while the others decided to stay and create their own families in America. Looking for a wife, they would send a picture (not necessarily a real one) to Japan and wait for the bride to choose her future husband according to the photography. The author follows the footsteps of the picture brides: their trip to San Francisco on the boat, meeting with their future husbands, and the failure of their dream about the wonderful life in America. By the end of everyday rituals, the fateful morning dawned in Pearl Harbor: the Japanese living in the United States were massively evicted from their homes and even transported to concentration camps – people vanished as if they have not existed at all, just like the mist disappears in the morning.
“The Buddha in the Attic” is a story about the fate of emigrant women. Not only it uniquely revives the hardships of today’s emigration but it also digs deeper into the occupation of Lithuania as well as Siberian exile when thousands of people were quietly banished from Lithuanian and world map, and the period of holocaust in Europe. It is a sensitive tale about our own roots, seeking for connection to the past and the relation to our ancestors. This is so important in the times of population mixing and for the identity of a nation as a strength and survival.
The performance tells the story using minimalist tools of oriental theatre – Japanese dance (which director and performer Birutė Mar studied in Tokyo), live music, as well as documentary photographs used in video projections.

“The short Japanese novel “The Buddha in the Attic” captivated me with its laconic and poetic narration as if it were music. The author reveals the story of her parents and ancestor emigration from the perspective of plural person we. She seems to be endorsed by a chorus of thousands of women – like in a Greek tragedy or a Japanese drama of Noh. That is, the women who have survived the painful lives of people that have been segregated from their roots.” (Birutė Mar)

International premiere of “Buddha in the Attic” – at Fujaira International Arts festival, 2020 (UAE)