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An opera without music

A chamber opera for four voices at Vilnius Chamber Theatre

Saturday 24 November at 19:00



November 24, 2012 at 7:00PM the Vilnius Chamber Theatre will present an evening of British contemporary theatre performed by the actors of Baram Theatre Company - an international theatre company based in the UK and directed by VKT’s artistic director Alicia Gian (USA).  Gian’s production of Crave, written by British playwright Sarah Kane, has been conceptualized as “An Opera Without Music” and will be showing for one night only in the capital before it begins touring in theatres throughout the UK in January of 2013.  The production was developed in the Spring of 2012 in Exeter, UK by Gian and the actors of Baram Theatre Company who have all previously trained in a psychophysical actor training methodology which combines Asian body/mind training practices - yoga, Indian martial arts, and Tai chi to prepare the actor for score-based performances in which actors respond to images that arise from the dramatic material. 

Alicia Gian

 “I hate these words that keep me alive, I hate these words that won’t let me die...”

Sarah Kane (1971-1999) was a young, dynamic, and controversial playwright, whose words were immortalized when she committed suicide at the age of 28.  During the 1990’s, when drama in the UK was shifting away from the conventions of naturalist theatre, Kane emerged as the quintessential In-Yer-Face British drama playwright, creating provocative dramatic material that required the audience to look up close at issues that generate discomfort.  She created an experiential theatre of sensation which challenges the distinctions that define who we are:  right/wrong, animal/human, good/evil, art/life, normal/abnormal - binary oppositions that are central to our world view.  Her first three plays: Phaedra’s Love, Blasted, and Cleansed were marked by considerable on-stage violence, but her fourth play Crave, written under the pen name Marie Kelvedon (Marie her middle name and Kelvedon the town where she was raised) so that the piece would not be tainted by the playwright’s notorious reputation nor by the fact that she considered the play unfinished at the time of performance (it remained unfinished), was the beginning of her experimentation with a freer, fragmented, and more lyrical form of writing which characterizes the last two and most personal of her plays:  Crave and Psychosis 4:48.  Kane wrote Crave, which is considered to be one of the more complex plays of the 1990’s, when she had “lost her faith” in love.  The themes and images of damaged lives are explored through the fragmented inner journeys of four characters A, B, C and M - four disintegrating minds under the pressures of love, loss and desire.


“I don’t have music, Christ I wish I had music but all I have is words...”  - Crave                  

Gian, the play’s director and a classically trained singer, explains how she structurally approached the fragmented and non-linear text:  “Kane offers no setting, no stage directions and no indication of actions in the play and considered it an experiment with the rhythm and musicality of language; therefore we worked with the text as if it were an opera score comprised of arias and oratorios - a chamber opera for four voices.  Sections of the text were divided according to recurring themes and motifs, but instead of singing with the voice, the actors “sung” with their bodies by developing movement scores activated by images that arose organically from the text and developed in rehearsal.  The actors trained in operatic breathing techniques for four weeks before any staging of the text began.  The goal was to learn to breathe together and allow the breath - just as it does in singing - to sculpt the shape of the thought through movement and text.”  


“I keep coming back...again and again...the eternal return...” - Crave

Crave is considered to be Kane’s most personal text and also an ambitious attempt at recasting theatrical form.  It is permeated with allusions from the Bible as well as Shakespeare and T.S. Elliot’s “The Wasteland”, but Gian and the actors of Baram  primarily explored the text through the Buddhist concept of Tanhā - translated as a craving or thirst and is comprised of three essential stages:  the desire of having, the desire of becoming, and the desire of escaping.  “As we studied the text we identified each character’s fluxuations between these three stages of desire as described in Buddhist philosophy.  This allowed the actors to chart the course of their character’s spiritual journey amongst the fragmented and harsh terrain of the text.” 



Gian and Baram Theatre are currently staging Sarah Kane’s other one act play, Psychosis 4:48, which is planned to premiere alongside Crave in the Summer of 2013 in the UK.  


Tickets are available through and at the door.

Doors open at 6:30 to the public

After the show the audience is invited to stay for a glass of wine to meet the actors and discuss the performance.   

Vilnius Chamber Theatre is located at 23 Konstitucijos Prospect - directly across the street from the National Art Gallery. 

For more information please visit:

Category : Culture & events / Featured black

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