In his production of his play “Marta from the Blue Hill” Alvis Hermanis invites audiences to a Latvian Last Supper, yet says uncharacteristically little.
For one magic moment, time stands still. Yet then, as the characteristic melody to Céline Dion’s international hit “My Heart Will Go On” begins to sound, we find ourselves not on the railing of the Titanic, but in Marta’s parlor at a long wooden table. There, twelve people, a motley crew of personalities, have gathered together to be healed by “Blue Hill Marta.”
In his play, Latvian author and director Alvis Hermanis traces the legend of a clairvoyant woman from the “blue mountains” who lived from 1908 until 1992 and relieved the suffering of others on a daily basis. By researching the biographies of others, whether it be the story of Marta the legendary healer of simply that of his own father, Hermanis has found a way – as in earlier productions – to create a unique dramatic style characterized by strong narrative tendencies.
A community united in suffering
In “Marta from the Blue Hill”, Hermanis once again remains true to his narrative style. Seated on a bench facing the audience, twelve performers speak openly and consistently to the crowd. Many of them with easily recognizable afflictions. They are twelve sufferers, each with his or her own personal story, who have left their stagnant lives for a short time in the hopes that Marta can heal their ailments. One of them, for example, demonstratively wears a T-shirt proclaiming a website for misfortune, www.unglueck.de. (more…)