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A Play Without Words Set Behind The Iron Curtain

A Play Without Words Set Behind The Iron Curtain

“The 14 actors recreate amusingly and with precision that period of blissful innocence and inoffensive hysteria in the search for happiness” Le Courrier de Russie

Latvia’s New Riga Theatre brings their much loved and recently controversial play Sound of Silence

to the opening night of the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 18th International Theatre Festival in Poland, Latvian director Alvis Hermanis has created Sound of Silence without one word of dialogue and in so doing defines a time when an emerging liberalism in the countries under Soviet domination made it possible to dream.

Set in a communal flat in Riga in 1968, the soundtrack and narrative of Simon and Garfunkel music recreates the idealistic utopia of 14 young Latvians who discover the intricacies of loving and living after the cancellation of a Simon and Garfunkel concert in the Latvian Capital.

“I’ve seen Sound of Silence a number of times, yet I still find it is full of surprises. Containing not a single word, but loads of hope, peace, love, humour and flower power – it is a high-spirited choral work full of emotion and of course Simon and Garfunkel songs,” says Lissa Twomey, Artistic Director of the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Alvis Hermanis was born in Riga in 1968 where he is Artistic Director of the New Riga Theatre. He also works as a director in Germany, Switzerland, and Russia.

His productions, including Long Life, Inspector General, Sonia, Sound of Silence, and Fathers have been shown in more than 30 countries, in major theatre festivals in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Canada.

Hermanis has received numerous prizes for his work: Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities, Thessaloniki (2007); Grand Prix in BITEF, Belgrade (2005); Herald Angel, Edinburgh (2006); Golden Mask for best foreign theatre performance, Russia (2007); Max Reinhardt Pen, Festspiele for Young Directors Project, Salzburg (2004).

During a speech delivered at the International Theatre Critics Association Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, in August 2008 Hermanis said “the hardest task of all is to make a performance about harmonious and happy people. Technically, it is a task of the highest level of complexity.”

Sound of Silence is sponsored by Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

WHEN: 26 February – 5 March (no show 1 March) WHERE: TSB Bank Arena Gold Partners: New Zealand Post Group, TV3, Clemenger BBDO, Pacific Blue. Funders: Absolutely Positively Wellington, Creative New Zealand

“Hermanis is an accomplished actor and his productions tend to highlight the actor's craft. His strength as a director lies in his ability to integrate the action into the strategy of the set, creating interesting tableaux through which his actors realize their characters”. TheatreForum


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