International Culture and Ecology Festival Birštonas Gryn Park

On 3-5 April 2009, the first international festival of petit art forms BIRŠTONAS GRYN PARK will take place in Birštonas. The aim of this festival is to create a cultural landscape perfect for creating and living in.
The organisers of the festival BIRŠTONAS GRYN PARK seek to avoid the negative impact that a mass event may have on local culture and traditions. Taking into consideration the unique values of the local environment, we have aimed at developing a programme for the festival which attracts visitors’ attention to the unique ecology of Birštonas. Additionally, we hope to enhance the scope of cultural activities in Birštonas by presenting various forms of arts here.
The three day festival will offer guests and citizens at the resort two first night performances. One of them is a dance mono performance "...It's a Very Big Secret..." – a European spectacle presented by one of the most famous contemporary dance masters, choreographer Palle Granhøj, together with multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer Anne Eisensee. The Danish audience has yet to see this performance – it will be presented at home only after it is shown in the United Kingdom and at the Birštonas festival.
This play is the third portrait performance created by choreographer Palle Granhøj, where the person standing in the scene is showcased in an enlarged view and is allowed to interpret himself. The emotions of the performance "…It’s a Very Big Secret…" are transformed into a synthesis of visuals and poetry in Anne Eisensee’s body. The movements of the dancer and the singing mingle into a single melody, a dramatic, passionate and sensual musical composition about the birth and the death of love, desperation, sexuality and liveliness.
The second performance is Auksė Petrulienė’s "Psilikon Theatre" Silicon Doll performance "The Cry of the Heart" (Širdies riksmas), which was specially created for the BIRŠTONAS GRYN PARK festival. The script of "The Cry of the Heart" was inspired by Lithuanian love legends starting with the legend of Birutė and Kęstutis and continuing to the scandalous pre-war case of Staselė and Prelate Konstantin. The mysterious history of their forbidden love, which attracted significant attention from the public at the time, will be transformed at the Birštonas festival into a 50 minute audiovisual work of art, investigating lust, human nature and the social role of a person. The Psilicon Theatre successfully and harmoniously transforms the fear stemming from the criminal nature of the story into a smile.
There are also performances by two foreign troupes included in the programme of the BIRŠTONAS GRYN PARK festival. First, the doll performance "Twice Upon a Time" will be presented by the Austrian Karin Schäfer Figuren Theater, which has received an international award more than once. Secondly, the Polish S.Jaracz theatre’s its mono performance for adults "Niżyński" will also be presented.
Karin Schäfer Figuren Theater uses common puppet theatre techniques. However, it always enhances the limits of this traditional art by interweaving its performances with visual arts, music, dance and media. These techniques form the basis of the unique form of the Karin Schäfer Figuren Theater – "Visual theatre". The audience, together with the puppeteer, will try to perceive whether a short-sighted pianist, who can barely see the piano, or a diver, who cannot find the sea (but manages to find lots of fish and other sea treasures), or a young skateboarding girl dwarfed by her own skateboard, and many others actually lead their own lives or are simply puppets reflecting someone’s wishes.
The Polish S.Jaracz theatre is probably one of the best known Polish theatres. It will arrive in Birštonas with its mono performance "Niżyński" and be shown after "The Diaries" performance given by famous Polish dancer Wacław Niżyński. This mono performance will be performed by a young Polish actor, Kamil Mackowiak, who is also a professional dancer. This show, created by director and scriptwriter W.Zawodzinski in 2007, was awarded First Prize at the International St.Petersburg Festival, as well as the Best Male Actor Award at the 2005/2006 "Golden Mask" awards (as well as many other theatre awards) in Poland.
Apart from Auksė Petrulienė and "Psilicon Theatre", Lithuanian artists will be represented by actor and director Benas Šarka, who will arrive at BIRŠTONAS GRYN PARK with his particularly expressive and meditative mono performance "Through" (Kiaurai). This performance is based on William Shakespeare’s drama "King Lear". Additionally, the jazz musician Kęstutis Vaiginis will present the International Jazz Project, together with Marius Aleksa, Joonas Haavisto (Finland) and Fulvio Buccafusco (Italy).
Those in favour of dance music are invited to stay for the Afterparty late Saturday, hosted by DJ Alko and DJ Trick.
A major part of the festival programme is aimed toward families, and consists of special events for children. The actress Aušra Pukelytė and her son Augustas are inviting everybody to visit the Fairy Tale Lounge at the Public Library of Birštonas. On Sunday afternoon, children will have the opportunity to participate in drum-based jazz lessons led by the famous musician, professional percussionist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Tomas Dobrovolskis.
Throughout the festival, the Hall of the treatment centre in the sanatorium "Tulpė" will host an exhibition of diploma wooden works created by the J.Vienožinskis Faculty of Arts of Kaunas College.
The cultural programme of the festival will also be accompanied by various campaigns related to ecological preservation. On Saturday there will be a bicycle trip along the route of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park, as well as the planting of saplings with "Let’s Do It 09" ("Darom09"). Additionally, workshops reviving old things in the Hall of the Cultural Centre of Birštonas and ecological workshops by the graphic artist Alius Levinskas will also take place, during which paper residues put into a special paper-recycling device will be transformed into writing paper. Lastly, a Ecological Product Fair, allowing organisations which develop and promote a healthy lifestyle to present their campaigns, will take place near the Cultural Centre of Birštonas. The campaign "Nature Works without Batteries" (Gamta veikia be baterijų), the main aim of which is to encourage the public to gather and dispose of old batteries by throwing them into special tanks, will last throughout the festival.
For more information and registration for the bicycle trip, please visit www.grynparkas.lt.

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