Directors Algirdas Jakševičius and Juozas Miltinis in the Field of Criticism

Rasa Vasinauskaitė (PDF)

The article presents reviews and articles by directors Algirdas Jakševičius (1908–1941) and Juozas Miltinis (1907–1994) written in 1934–1943. The hitherto unexplored publications of both directors, which appeared in the leading periodicals of the interwar and German occupation years, supplemented the contemporary field of criticism with new theoretical and critical insights, contributed to discussions about Konstantin Stanislavski’s system and its influence on the Lithuanian theatre, and raised questions about the further development of Lithuanian theatre scene. In the second half of the 1940s, the press actively talked about a “new theatre”, which was to be led by the younger generation of theatre professionals. One of the latter, whom young people pinned their hopes on, was Algirdas Jakševičius. Jakševičius’ critical reviews and articles devoted to theatre showed his erudition and knowledge of the stage arts, and, together with the production of Marco Millions by Eugene O’Neill, demonstrated his attempt to create a theatrical, poetic, visually and emotionally rich and meaningful theatre that would speak to the heart of a contemporary/modern person. A radical theatre reform was also demanded by the magazine Naujoji Romuva edited by Juozas Keliuotis, which was publishing reviews by Juozas Miltinis who returned to Lithuania after his studies in Paris in 1938-1940. Miltinis’ insights shared in his analysis of the repertoire and performances of the State Theatre not only reflected Miltinis’ own vision of the future theatre as a director, but also revealed the “diseases” of the “old theatre” (the older generation of actors and directors), which could only be “cured” by the younger generation of stage artists. Despite their different views, the approaches of Jakševičius and Miltinis to performing arts had similarities: both opposed stage realism, emphasised the importance of the director’s profession and the need for original stage interpretation, and expanded on the idea of modern theatrical production.

Key words: Algirdas Jakševičius, Juozas Miltinis, criticism, Konstantin Stanislavski, directing, State Theatre