Oskaras Korsunovas

Director, artistic director of OKT / Vilnius City Theatre

Oskaras Koršunovas was born on March 6, 1969, in Vilnius. In 1993 he graduated from the Vilnius Music Academy (the course of Jonas Vaitkus) with a Master’s degree in Theatre Directing. While still a student Koršunovas presented the trilogy “There to be here,” “The Old Woman,” and “Hello Sonya New Year” based on the work of the twentieth century Russian avant-garde writers Daniil Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky. Already at that time the young director stood out for his unusual theatrical language. Although the first performances, including “P.S. FILE OK” by Sigitas Parulskis and “Roberto Zucco” by Bernard-Marie Koltès, were created under the aegis of the Lithuanian State Academic Drama Theatre (now called Lithuanian National Drama Theatre), they were often referred to as a separate body, a theatre within a theatre. Contemporary theatre critics, titling their articles simply: “Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre?” envisaged the inevitable emergence of a new theatre.

In 1998, the director, together with a few like-minded fellows, founded an independent theatre, called Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre, shortened to just OKT. Koršunovas, assisted by guest directors, has built a solid repertoire, which encompasses both contemporary drama and classic stagings. The director’s credo to stage classics as contemporary plays, recognizing what is relevant to the present time, and contemporary plays – as the classics, conveying what is universal and timeless, became paradigmatic in that creative period. In the director’s opinion, contemporary theatre must reflect the present day and sometimes even be ahead of the time, predict the future and act as a warning. “Shopping and Fucking” by Mark Ravenhill, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, “Fireface” by Marius von Mayenburg, “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles, “Playing the Victim” the Presnyakov Brothers, and other performances, which became cornerstones of the theatre’s repertoire and its foreign tours, were staged adhering to the above-mentioned principles and credo.

William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” presented in 2008 and the play’s work-in-progress marked the beginning of a new phase in Oskaras Koršunovas’ biography. The director discovered a new work space – the OKT studio, and turned in the direction of laboratory explorations. During the work on “Hamlet” the director and the actors were more concerned with the creative process itself than the play. “The Lower Depths” by Maxim Gorky – an absolute example of theatrical laboratory, which was created in the unusual space of the OKT studio, still continues to be shown there. “Miranda” based on Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” and his other works, was also born in the OKT studio and was relocated to a larger space only before its premiere. “Cleansed” after Sarah Kane, “Wedding” after Bertold Brecht, “Delhi Dance” after Ivan Vyrypaev, “Madman” after Nikolai Gogol, “Attempts on Her Life” after Martin Crimp, “Lucy Skies” after Laura Sintija Cerniauskaite, “A Man from Podolsk” after Dmitry Danilov – the latest productions of Oskaras Koršunovas, staged in OKT Studio.

The main prize of the Edinburgh Festival awarded in 1990 to a student of theatre directing was a symbolic beginning, which has paved the way to most prominent international awards. The most prestigious of them – the Europe Theatre Prize for New Realities – was awarded to Koršunovas in 2006. In 2009, Oskaras Koršunovas was given the honourable title of the Chevalier of the French order of Literature and Arts, and the next year he was awarded with the main prize of the Annual Meyerhold Assembly. The awards ceremony of almost every international festival involving the OKT theatre does not go without the mention of the name of Oskaras Koršunovas.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Shopping and Fucking,” “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet,” “The Lower Depths,” “Miranda” and “Išvarymas” (Expulsion) have won the director the Golden Stage Cross Award for the year’s best production. The OBERIU trilogy has been awarded in the young theatre artist category. In 2002, the director became a laureate of the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Award. In 2004, he received the city of Vilnius St. Christopher Prize for Contribution to Culture. In 2012 Minister of Culture Arūnas Gelūnas awarded the Koršunovas with the Medal of the Ministry of Culture “Bring Your Light and Believe.”

The tours in international festivals, performances and projects in foreign theatres encompass the United States, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, and the territory in between. Each year, the OKT theatre appears on more than ten different stages in different parts of the world. Hence, the motto of the director and his theatre: only being “there” can we stay “here.”

List of directed plays:

1990. “Here to be There“, Play by Aleksandr Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms at Music Academy of Lithuania / Academic Drama Theatre / Youth Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
1992."The Old Woman”, Play by Daniil Kharms, Academic Drama Theatre;
1993. “Jelizaveta Bam”, Play Daniil Kharms, Parchem City Theatre, Germany;
1994. «Hello Sonia New Year”, Play by Aleksandr Vvedensky, Academic Drama Theatre;
1994. „The Old Woman 2“, Play by Daniil Kharms, Academic Drama Theatre;
1995. “The Flying Dutchman”, Opera by Richard Wagner, National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Lithuania;
1997. “P.S. Byla OK”, Play by Sigitas Parulskis, Academic Drama Theatre;
1998. “Roberto Zucco”, Play by Bernard-Marie Koltès, Academic Drama Theatre;
1998. “Jelizaveta Bam», Play by Daniil Kharms, «Studio” Theatre, Warszawa, Poland;
1998. “Coco”, Play by Bernard-Marie Koltès, OKT / National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Lithuania;
1999. “Shopping and Fucking”, Play by Mark Ravenhill, OKT;
1999. “A Midsummer Night's Dream”, Play by William Shakespeare, OKT;
2000. “Vienos nakties susitikimas”, Play by Goran Stefanofski, EU - Culture 2000, THEOREM / Institute of Sweden;
2000. “Fireface”, Play by Marius von Mayenburg, OKT;
2000. “The Master and Margarita”, based on novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, adaptation by Sigitas Parulskis, OKT;
2001. ”Sanatorium under the Sign of Hourglass», based on short stories by Bruno Schultz, “Studio” theatre, Warszawa, Poland;
2001. “We are not Cookies”, based on writings by Daniil Kharms and Aleksandr Vvedensky, Oslo National Drama Theatre, Norway;
2001. “The Parasites”, Play by Marius von Mayenburg, OKT;
2002. “Crave”, Play by Sarah Kane, co-directed with Povilas Laurinkus, OKT;
2002. “Oedipus the King”, Play by Sophocles, OKT;
2003. “Winter”, Play by Jon Fosse, The National Theatre in Oslo, Norway;
2003. “Cleansed“, Play by Sarah Kane, Stockholm Royal Drama Theatre, „Elverket” Scene, Sweden;
2003."The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Play by William Shakespeare, OKT;
2004. “The Cold Child ”, Play by Marius von Mayenburg, Klaipėda Drama Theatre, Lithuania;
2004. “Cantio”, Play by Sharon Lynn Joyce and Vykintas Baltakas, OKT / Festival Gaida / München Bienále;
2004. “Loneliness for Two”, Play by Sigitas Parulskis, festival Gaida;
2005. “City” (Ãîðîä), Play by Yevgeni Grishkovets, co-directed with Saulius Mykolaitis, OKT;
2005. “Death of Tarelkin” (Ñìåðòü Òàðåëêèíà). Play by A.Suchov-Kobylin, Moscow Theatre “Et-cetera”, Russia;
2005. “Based on a truth Story“, Play by Almir Imsirevic, Moscow Theatre „Et-cetera”, Russia;
2005. “Playing the Victim” (Èçîáðàæàÿ æåðòâó) Play by Vladimir Presniakov and Oleg Presniakov, OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2006. “To Damascus”, Play by August Strindberg, The National Theatre in Oslo, Norway;
2006. “Make-up opera”, Play by Birutė Mar, Antanas Kučinskas. OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2006. “Winter”, Play by Jon Fosse, OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2006. “The Magic Flute”, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Teatro Regio di Torino. Italy;
2007. “The Taming of the Shrew”, by William Shakespeare. Comédie-Française. Paris;
2008. “These Eyes”, by Jon Fosse. European Capital of Culture project Fairytales in Landscape, Lundsneset Peninsula, Stavanger, Norway;
2008. “Hamlet”, by William Shakespeare. OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2010. “The Taming of the Shrew”, by William Shakespeare. Alexandrinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia;
2010. “The Lower Depths” («Íà äíå») by Maksim Gorky. OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2010. “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. Reykjavik City Theatre, Iceland;
2011. “Tartuffe” by Molière. Aarhus Theatre, Denmark;
2011. “Miranda” based on the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare. OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2011. “Banishment”, by Marius Ivaškevičius, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2012. “Peer Gynt” after Henrik Ibsen, The National Theatre in Oslo, Norway;
2012. “Cathedral” after Justinas Marcinkevičius, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2013. “Krapp's last tape”, play Samuel Beckett. OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2013. “Fidelio”, Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera, Bergen National Opera, Bergen, Norway;
2013. “Lost Time” Musical Spectacle after Marcel Proust, festival “Gaida”, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2014."The Seagull” Play by Anton Chekhov — OKT / Vilnius City Theatre;
2014. “Expulsion” after Marius Ivaškevičius, Dailes Theatre, Riga, Latvia;
2014. “Vinter” after Jon Fosse, Teatro del Giglio, Lucca, Italy;
2015. “Fidelio”, Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera, Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2015. “Elisabeth Bam” after Daniil Kharms, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2015. “Martyr” after Marius von Mayenburg, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2015. “Our Class” after Tadeusz Słobodzianek, The National Theatre in Oslo, Norway;
2015. “Miranda” after William Shakespeare, “Poreia” Theatre, Athens, Greece;
2016. “Egle the Queen of Serpents” — Lithuanian National Drama Theatre;
2016. “Marriage” — Bertolt Brecht — OKT, Vilnius;
2016. “Measure for Measure” after William Shakespeare, „Teatr Dramatyczny“, Warsaw, Poland;
2016. “Cleansed” after Sarah Kane, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2017. “Dance Delhi” after Ivan Vyrypaev, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Vilnius;
2017. “Cleansed“ after Sarah Kane, Oslo National Theatre, Norway;
2018. “Madman” after Nikolai Gogol, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2018. “Attempts On Her Life“ after Martin Crimp, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2019. “Lucy Skates“ after Laura Sintija Cerniauskaite, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2019. “A Man from Podolsk“ after Dmitry Danilov, OKT/Vilnius City Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2019. “Our Class“ after Tadeusz Słobodzianek, Klaipeda Drama Theatre, Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Awards:

1990. “Fringe Firsts” at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival for"There to Be Here.” Edinburgh.
1991. Special prize of the Torun International Theatre Festival “Kontakt” for"There to Be Here.” Torun
1991."Fringe First"at the Edinburg International Theatre Festival for the play"There to Be Here.“ Edinburgh
1993. Prize for the Best Director’s work at the St. Petersburg international Theatre Festival for"There to Be Here“ and"The Old Woman.“ St. Petersburg
1993. Prize of the Sevastopol International Theatre Festival “The Kherson Games” for “There to Be Here.” Sebastopol
1993. Prize of the magazine “St. Petersburg Theatre Review” for"There to Be Here.” St Petersburg
1994. Prize of the Lithuanian Theatre Union for"Hello Sonya New Year.”
1995. “The Bank of Scotland Herald Angels” Prize at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival for"Hello Sonya New Year.” Edinburgh.
1995. Lithuanian Theatre Award “Kristoforas” for the Best young artist for the trilogy: “There to Be Here“, „The Old Woman”,"Hello Sonya New Year.”
1997. Special Prize of the"Soros Fund"at the Riga Theatre Festival “Homo Novus” for “P.S. File O.K”
1998. Prize of the Torun International Theatre Festival “Kontakt” for the Best Director for"Old Woman 2.” Torun
2000. Lithuanian Theatre Award ”Kristoforas” for the Best Director for"A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
2000. Lithuanian Theatre Award ”Kristoforas” for the Best Director for"Shopping and Fucking.”
2000. 2nd Award of the Torun International Theatre Festival “Kontakt” for the Best Performance"A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
2001. European Theatre unions Award"Europe Theatre Prize for New Theatrical Realities.”
2001. Best young Director Prize at the MESS Festival, for “The Master and Margarita.” Sarajevo
2002. Montblanc Theatre Prize “Young Directors Project Award” at Salzburg International Theatre festival for"Oedipus Rex.” Salzburg
2002. The Lithuanian National Prize of Culture and Art for"Oedipus Rex.”
2003. Cross of Officer of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.
2003. Critic’s Prize at the MESS Festival for “Oedipus Rex”. Sarajevo.
2003. Award of Golden Cross of the Stage for The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet.”
2003. Award of Golden Cross of the Stage for “The Cold Child.”
2004. The Lithuanian Institute Award “LT Identity” for the weightiest contribution in representing the Lithuanian Culture.
2004. Lithuanian Theatre Award ”Golden Stage Cross” for the performances:"Romeo and Juliet” and"Cold Child.”
Perfomances in our theatre
The Seagull, Set Designer