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  • Sigita Ivaškaitė

To begin with... (I can ‘t believe there is an “oompaloompa” in this text)

Well then, we should probably start with the name, because (as it’s supposed to be) it explains a lot. Critical habit(at) – a little play with words and meanings, after one day realizing what part of my todays’ life is occupied by theatre, criticism and habits. I don ‘t mean to create this blog only for reviews, or even more – only theatre. This should become a page, a critical habitat on the net, dedicated to… (let ‘s call it) unfold my critical curiosity... Some sort of miniature world, inside of which, there would be at least a small part of everyday noise: from the inevitability of Kardashians, to a joy of a well renewed cultural magazine.

There are two great quotations of a legend(waitforit)dary Lithuanian theatre critic, that was one of my professors - Irena Aleksaitė. She told this to us in the academy (probably the most valuable thing learnt there) and it resonates in my head while an essential moment of my life happens: 1. Critic is a lonely profession. 2. In his life a critic has to watch many, many bad performances. Both – inarguably true. Somewhere in between them my habitat is born. And I would like to spend some more time in it, but... No! It ‘s not yet the time to talk about that.

Anyway. From the beginning of my studies, I understood that my view to criticism is more practical. First of all, for me it is a response to an artist, desirably in the tongue he‘s using (we have to connect well to understand...). So my text as a work of art itself can rarely be a priority. Mostly it ‘s an elementary tool of communication (not didactics). And for a long time I have watched the world around me (like, almost 30 years now) and I have realized that those contemporary and new textual forms, as I imagine them, are far far away from the “interpretative poetry” that I see around (no offence).

But the most important thig that has happened recently and pushed me into making my “blah blahs” into action is the comprehension, that after my “vacation” as a mother I no longer have any wish to write texts of my own concept for others. First of all, I can’t hear any more of those “this might be a bit to bold” from the editors. I’m not a perfect writer, but this fear of daring and honestly self-expressing publications must stop. It does apply more to the culture press (maybe only in LT?), but the big news portals… Even those editors, who want to show the nation The Importance Of Arts, they are bound (one day) to become the oompaloompas of media, pressing out a couple of pages with an EXTRA EXTRA on top (and I mean it with all my love and respect).

Of course, there is this option to come together with your colleagues and build new… ah, been there, done that. Nothing bad about my colleagues, but all our attempts ended faster that… I don’t even know. Fast. And it all comes down to this one reason, that we are not earning for our living from criticism – we all have other jobs. And when you have at least 3 people that want to build a lasting action, but can only put it into a spot number 2, 3 or 18 in their scheduling priorities… Well, you see where this is going.

Oh, yeah, right, the “earning money” situation. You know, for some 10 years now I live an eat from stage management and some 5 more I add it with PR texts. I’m not a rich person (no, no, hah, no…), but before my thirties, with my head held up high, I could, and I took a credit for an apartment. And it does not matter, that the payment ends right after the doomsday… Anyway, I cannot complain. So, when today I am asked a serious review or publication of some sorts and they pay me around 30 euros. Sorry mate, I think I’m better of doing it for free. And if it is for free, then why not for myself?

And I cannot say that this situation won’t change for me. Even in this blog, in time, I would really like to invite and see texts of others. I had dreams, that in few years this could grow into a new, independent site for/of theatre lifestyle with various texts, and even collaborations with my colleagues in Latvia, Estonia… To begin with… But the most important thing is that those texts would be alive and first of all, interesting for ourselves, without “I had to write this” mood and “couldn’t make the deadline” style. And no pen-names… Of course, in my sound mind, I know that it all can also collapse in this very same year, with me stuck between operas, kid, theatres and everyday problems.

I don’t know if there is anything to ad. No, the thing is, that there is, but this is what this blog is about and for: ad, ad, ad. I just have this critical part in me all the time, as this habit to wonder. So why not to connect that critical with habit and place it in a habitat, that could serve for the survival of new and not the extinct species?

P.S.: I don’t think that all texts in this blog will also be in English (as some of them will ONLY in English;). At first, I will choose only those that have an important and/or coherent value to read if not living in Lithuania. Later… We will see. But feel free at all times to make any requests!

January 27, 2018

(photo - an improvised "moodboard" in my workroom/ our bedroom)

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