Miraculous Lithuania: the national open-air mysteries in Lithuania between the wars

Šarūnė Trinkūnaitė


In the wake of the wave of disappointment with the patriotic repertoire of the new-established State Theatrewhich seemed not to respond to the desire of the celebrating nation, an alternative theatre – theatre of national mass open-air mysteries, mostly organized by the Christian youth organization – came to life in Lithuania in the 1920-ies and gained in popularity. These celebratory performances were devoted to the synthesis of Christian and national ideologies; their main subject was the rebirth of Lithuania as a God’s miracle. This miraculous Lithuania was supposed to become a real experience, i.e. the masses participating in these performances were supposed to be like a continuation of the sacred, blessed-by-God Lithuania represented in the mass hero (chorus) of the plays. However, this turned out to be an utopic project. Miraculuos Lithuania was too inconvincible, too artificial, at a too big distance from the real Lithuania to become a model for the living present. That was one of the main reasons why the national open-air mysteries turned into the lifeless pathetics in the end of the1920-ies and started to vanish in the beginning of the 1930-ies.


mystery; national open-air mystery; national theatre; mass performance; celebratory performaance; national community/sociality; sacrum; collective empathy; emotional impact; utopia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6001/menotyra.v24i2.3479


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