Mono drama-opera

A team of young creators leaning towards contemporary opera, who have already created a mono drama-opera Isadora, this year presents a second part of the diptych – the musical drama Joker. This inter-genre of stage performance featuring one actor has been vaguely analysed in Lithuania, however, the creators have decided to give it a try seeking for harmony of three art forms – operatic singing, dramatic acting and plasticity of dance – encapsulated in a single artistic piece. Plays of the diptych share a common problem related to the loss of identity and the multi-layered nature of personality. In both plays, the world of art and imagination distorts the reality by affecting it and causing tragic consequences.

Libretto and directing are the reference points of this piece: both have actively navigated and dictated the character of music, which started approaching the theatre music model. Hence, major part of the music here consists of electronic mix of concrete music, and within its context an expressionist vocal line emerges, created with reference to the tradition of mono-operas of the early 20th century.

Composer Jonas Sakalauskas

Presented at the 2nd NOA Festival, the mono drama-opera Isadora received favourable reviews from the audience and art professionals; it was awarded the Golden Stage Cross award as the best theatre debut of 2008. A creative group which has gathered together for the first time found inspiration in the life of modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan. However, the performance does not tell about the life of the legendary dancer, but rather narrates a story of a woman fanatically fascinated with her, who eventually loses her identity and starts seeing herself as the dancer, all contained in the character created by Agnė Sabulytė. The story takes place at the isolation ward of the mental hospital, where a young woman was recently brought into, reasoning about her hatred for ballet and love for convertible cars. Soon an important circumstance surfaces: as a teenager she had read Isadora Duncan’s book My Life and it became the book of her life, which she thoughtlessly follows. As the woman narrates her story, it becomes evident that the loss of identity and dictate of warped consciousness have impelled her to commit a horrible crime.

To be seen for an entire hour, but to see nothing, to lead the action with nothing to disguise behind, to be sort of naked in front of the hall full of dressed audience – it is not that simple, but A. Sabulytė has brilliantly accomplished the task, sincerely and directly conveying the madness of a woman locked at mental hospital.

Goda Rupeikaitė,

Isadora radically and recklessly questions the definition of opera, getting dangerously close to genre perversions and finding itself at the farthest margins thereof (some doubt regarding genre is also felt by the creative team, who define Isadora with a heavyweight title “mono drama-opera”).

Asta Pakarklytė, metraštis „Lietuvos teatras“

Dubbed mono drama-opera the entire piece appears as a play with diverse theatrical and musical elements, strung on a single thread by Agnius Jankevičius, who, deliberately or not, remains in the background. Meanwhile, in the foreground we see Agnė Sabulytė, who plays the character of a mad woman, sometimes lacking, but still solid.

Sigita Ivaškaitė,