IMPLEMENTING LOCAL ORGANIZATION – KLAIPĖDOS JAUNIMO TEATRAS
PROGRAMME START YEAR – 2019
Marine Lights is a project that investigates stories of the residents of Klaipėda through verbatim theatre methodology. Klaipėda is a port city that was largely destroyed after the Second World War. Its population is ethnically diverse with about 15% of residents belonging to ethnic communities. For a whole year, Klaipėda Youth Theatre actors, together with the director Jonas Tertelis, investigated Klaipėda and how people in this city go about their daily lives. By telling stories of Klaipėda residents, the director and actors created an open documentary verbatim play about the influence of the sea and historic events on the inhabitants, their families and the whole city.
The image of the sea in Lithuanian mythology is often portrayed as a powerful and difficult-to-explain space. Today in Lithuania it is naively associated with summer, sun and relaxation. The only sea port in Lithuania that encompasses these ambiguities is the town of Klaipėda. The sea is an integral part of Klaipeda's identity; the port has become the basis for the development of industries and the sea accommodates various activities from industrial fisheries to sailing.
At the same time, historic and urban processes are taking place among the townspeople. Professional communities have been broken down into smaller closed groups, due to differing values, the attention given to them by the city or the resources allocated to them.
The aim of this project is to draw attention to the personal side of Klaipėda and to reduce the distance between the distinct ethnic communities within the city. The creative process and the play did not aim to encourage judgement, but rather to look more openly to one’s neighbour, to the city, to the country and to love and respect the sea completely and unconditionally.
In promoting a documentary and a reflective approach to the city the director Jonas Tertelis organised creative workshops for Klaipėda Youth Theatre actors. During this project they gathered material and documented interviews with Klaipėda residents, their family members and relatives. Based on this material, the team conducted public interviews with members of different communities, including ethnic minorities, professionals, mentors and experts from different fields. The final product, in the form of a play entitled Marine Lights, was introduced to the public of Klaipėda in February 2020.