An innovative dance performance-cum-tour takes theatre-goers out of their seats.
Once upon a time, a central Vilnius hipster moved to Šeškinė. Not quite at home in the new habitat, he’d have his daily coffee and smoke on a balcony of a grey nine-storey apartment tower. One morning, he ran out of almond milk and set out on a walk to a shop, taking along an audience of several dozen through the winding pathways of the 1970s residential district.
I’m Going to Get Some Milk, a site-specific theatre performance choreographed by the duo of Greta Grinevičiūtė and Agnietė Lisičkinaitė, explores one of Vilnius’ so-called “sleeping districts”.
Built in the late 1970s, Šeškinė is a typical Soviet-era area of mass-produced housing, alternating between rows of five-storey blocks and high-rise towers. In between, there lay stretches of green space with children’s playgrounds, flowerbeds and poles for laundry ropes, though more and more has been taken over by car parking.
“It is quite unique that 70 percent of its residents are pensioners,” says Lisičkinaitė. “It was important for us to capture the district which is on a precipice of big change.”
The protagonist, played by Paulius Markevičius, leads us along winding pathways and through innumerable archways between apartment blocks, introducing us to local characters: children on swings, a grey-haired lady tending to her flowers, a man who may have had one too many, pensioners socialising on a bench.
At times, performers and locals are hard to tell apart – and that seems to be the intention of the authors who worked closely with the local community for eight weeks.
“What we did, was what the audience would be doing – walking across Šeškinė. And we realised that, once you’re in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, you must build a narrative in order to explain and to adapt yourself to it,” says Sigita Ivašaitė, the playwright.