The theme of this play is old age – one of the most unpopular issues nowadays. Since the beginning of the 1990ies, our society has discriminated the elderly population, isolated and placed them in a condition of an anthropological experiment that resembles a reality show with unclear rules of the game – whether the winner is the one who dies first or last. Our performance provides a unique opportunity to become a witness of this “zoological garden”.

There is no play for the production of The Long Life. Hundreds of sketches have been created by the actors themselves, performed to each other and afterwards edited. As keener observers might have noticed, in the world of the elderly things are endowed with a soul. Therefore, to reveal this soul, the actors have challenged their dialogues through material things that have been the lifelong partners of elderly people. The authentic props for this performance have been collected from different people; they still carry the life story and soul of these people.

The Long Life is about one day in the lives of elderly retired people living in a communal flat in Riga, and the things around them. 



Message of the director:

“It is common for the theatre to have one, or sometimes two or three, focuses of attention; we have at least five. If there is a single focus of attention, inevitably it becomes didactical because it manipulates with the spectators. When there are many focuses and none of them is more important than the others, the spectators enter a radically different situation and start editing themselves. It is only logical that each of them has a different reading of the play because each of them is editing the play in an unforeseeable sequence.

Those, who like to say that this is merely an experiment and not a play, are too much used to plots, to the idea that theatre has to tell stories. Stories can be different. For example, The Long Life is a very boring piece in the same way as Marcel Proust’s works and symphonic music are. It is a finished play with a very specific dramaturgy, it’s just the dramaturgy is slightly different.”

Alvis Hermanis


Awards

Grand PRIX, International Theatre Festival BITEF’39, 2005
Golden Laurel Wreath for Best Overall Acting, international theatre festival MESS’45, 2005
Audience Affinity Prize, International festival “Baltic House” 2006
Included in the Edinburgh International Festival (2006) main program, prize Herald Angel
Golden Mask for Best Foreign Production presented in Russia in 2006