The playwright, prose writer and film director Marius Ivaškevičius (b. 1973) made his debut in 1998 – his play Kaimynas (The Neighbour) won the New Drama competition and was staged at the Lithuanian State Youth Theatre in 2000. Ivaškevičius’s dramas have been directed by Rimas Tuminas at the State Small Theatre of Vilnius (Madagaskaras – Madagascar, 2004, Mistras – The Master, 2010) as well as by Oskaras Koršunovas at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre (Išvarymas – Expulsion, 2011) and the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania (Rusiškas romanas – Russian Romance, 2018). Marius Ivaškevičius’s plays have been staged at theatres in Russia (Mindaugas Karbauskis directed the plays Kantas – Kant (2012), Russian Romance (2016) and Expulsion (2017) at the Vladimir Mayakovsky Theatre of Moscow), and in Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Italy, France, New Zealand and other countries. The most important awards Ivaškevičius has received in Lithuania include the Golden Cross of the Stage Award for his play Didis Blogis (The Great Evil, 2016) and the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts which he received for his boldness in bringing literature into the theatre (2018). He also won the Golden Mask Award in Russia as the best playwright of the year for his play Russian Romance (2017).
Ivaškevičius’s inventively playful language, his combination of poetic and colloquial language (including swear words), and his attention to Lithuanian history and national identity distinguish him from other literary debut writers of the Independence period. He is considered to be the re-creator and de-constructor of national myths. His plays have received worldwide recognition, and have been translated into Polish, German, Slovenian, French, Russian, Belorussian, Italian, English and other languages.
Ivaškevičius’s recent plays focus on the most painful contemporary issues. Exploring the topic of emigration, Išvarymas (Expulsion, 2012) is a multi-layered play. According to the playwright, it essentially tells stories about a man’s attempt to change himself and construct a new person of himself while adapting to history and environment. Thus, Expulsion also reveals a social drama, depicting people living in foreign places, driven away from their home country by deprivation; a psychological drama reflecting the inability to realize adequately one’s place in the world; and an existential drama exploring a man’s loneliness and search for identity in the global world.