On starting over. CLOSE CITY

Posted on August 25, 2016 by Basement

Our blogger Jonty chatted with Egle Simkeviciute Kulvelis on her Auckland directorial debut of Close City, coming up Basement next week.

What are the central questions, themes, or conflicts that lies at the heart of the work for you?

“Close City” is about life and its tremendous capacity for growth and destruction. It is the story of heroes’ triumphs and tragedies. In our case – triumph leads to self-destruction.

On the surface of the play we can find nothing except cynical denial of traditional values. However, if we see our heroes as a consequence of a cruel, shameless world, in which the characters struggle to fit within accepted norms, customs and traditions, we will find the characters’ symbolic meaning. The play will confront the audience with the danger inherent in their own nature and remind us that we are not free, and the ice we are all walking on can break.

What shows / writers does the show draw inspiration from?

The play “Close City” is written by award-winning Lithuanian playwright Marius Ivaskevicius. It is based on the real story of a Swedish woman who succumbs to an absurd fate and lives a double life in two separate cities. In nearly all of his plays Marius is using real / historical characters and their stories, and he is outstanding for his ironic, sharp, critical and frequently provocative writing style. His plays can not be evaluated as having only one meaning, they don’t give any one answer, do not position any moral truth, do not sound straight forward, but question our strong beliefs and traditional human relations..

How was the cast assembled?

Who are the playwrights readers? He says: “It’s much easier to tell who they aren’t. Someone who is very conservative, shivering out of fear seeing a shake-up of the traditional values, frightened that that they will be changed by what they see is definitely not my reader.”

One day I just realised that there are in fact no rules. Just start doing things. So I posted this audition call. And then one good thing followed by another, one good actor joined after another. When you trust what you are doing – everything falls into place!

If you could start again in another city, which city would you choose?

A year ago I chose Auckland! Maybe this is my escape from reality?

You can catch Close City in the Studio from the 6 – 17 September. More of Jonty’s writing can be found on his blog.