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Sonic Experience The Filler Invites to Wander Around the Former Vilna Ghetto

2020 03 02

“The Filler surely and clearly speaks about the present, not the past,” wrote theatre critic Rima Jūraitė after the beta-version of sonic experience The Filler, which took place in Autumn 2019. As the calendar spring is beginning, the renewed sonic narrative referencing the times of the Vilna Ghetto and revealing the stories of Jews who lived therein will be regularly showcased throughout March.

The stories covered in historical layers of the city and narrated by Frida Sohat (b. 1929), Joshua Zak (b. 1929), Sore Voloshin (b. 1928) and Baruch Shub (b 1924) – four Jews who lived at a Vilna Ghetto – have served as documentary inspiration for the sonic experience. Creators of The Filler (dramatist Rimantas Ribačiauskas, director Mantas Jančiauskas, composers Jūra Elena Šedytė and Andrius Šiurys) have integrated this documentary evidence into a dynamic artistic form, representing the state of being of patchy historical memory.

Musical track of The Filler acts as a kind of narrator, shaping the dramatic thought. Music in the piece serves as an extension of history, expressing something that cannot be put into words. Thus, compared to the beta-versions of the piece shown in Autumn, it was the soundtrack of The Filler that had received minor corrections while preparing for the spring run of the piece.

“We realised that the creative results achieved in Autumn definitely covered the majority of our original objectives. Should a participant walking with the group for the second time see no essential differences in the flow of the piece, this will serve as an indicator confirming that the matters we found important then are still significant now, in mostly unchanged form of expression,”

says one of the composers J. E. Šedytė.

The authenticity of atmosphere of this sonic experience is further reinforced by the fact that The Filler is acoustically multilingual, echoing the city’s multicultural past and present. It comes as no surprise that the participants of the experience were fascinated with this particular interpretation of the history of Vilnius’ Jews.

“I have not experienced a better modern interpretation of the ghetto theme – and it is obviously an ultimate experience <…> It is very hard to appeal to one’s feelings without manipulating them – and this is exactly what creators of this piece have managed to achieve,”

wrote Lara Lempert, director of Judaica Research Centre at the National Martynas Mažvydas Library of Lithuania, on her social network account.

“The ways how fantasy and reality, sound and movement, narrative and image relate account for a completely unique experience, far from what is experienced in traditional theatre or cinema. Some participants claimed they felt like being “inside a movie”. Frankly speaking, it is very difficult to describe – one has to come and experience it,”

– that is how dramatist R. Ribačiauskas remembers the viewers’ reactions.

Sonic experience The Filler will take place on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 17th, 19th and 25th of March, at 7pm, 7:20 pm and 7:40 pm. Starting location – Jewish Culture Information Centre (Mėsinių Str. 3). Producer – Operomanija. Principal partner – Jewish Culture Information Centre. Partner: Music Innovation Research Centre of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius Theatre “Lėlė”, Incubator of Audiovisual Arts Industry, Mama Studios. Supporters: Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius City Municipality. Tickets distributed by Tiketa.