Lithuanian Culture Institute
Dramaturgy, Lithuanian Culture Guide

Sigitas Parulskis

Photo by Monika Požerskytė

The poet, prose writer and translator Sigitas Parulskis (b. 1965) obtained a degree in Lithuanian language and literature from Vilnius University. After graduation, he worked for Aitvaras children’s newspaper, and daily newspapers such as Lietuvos aidas, Lietuvos rytas and Šiaurės Atėnai cultural weekly. His plays have been staged in Lithuanian theatres, including Iš gyvenimo vėlių (From the Life of Ghosts, directed by V. V. Landsbergis), P.S. Byla O.K. (P.S. Case O.K., directed by Oskaras Koršunovas), Barboros Radvilaitės testamentas (The Letters of Barbora Radvilaitė, directed by A. Latėnas), Keltininkas (The Ferryman, directed by P. Budraitis), Julija (directed by Kirilas Glušajevas). The play From the Life of Ghosts won the St. Christopher Award for best theatre debut of a young artist in 1996. Parulskis was awarded the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts. His works have been translated into Latvian, Italian, English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, French, Greek and other languages. 

When he started writing for theatre, Sigitas Parulskis’s primary aim was to write in the language of his generation: “my generation’s fear of speaking about serious things opened the way for irony, parody and sarcasm”. Parulskis’s plays often feature a “turn” of classic stories (for example, in P.S. Case O.K., the biblical Abraham and Isaac episode ends up with the father being sacrificed), episodes of a performance within a performance, and the dominance of contemporary poetic language, especially the aesthetic of ugliness which is typical of Parulskis’s poetry. 

In the play Julija (2020), the life story of the classic Lithuanian writer, Žemaitė (Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė, 1854-1921), is revealed through the nuances of the life and creative work of an actress, Dora. Julija helps Dora, who is a contemporary artist, to contemplate the topics of love, career, personal relationships, freedom and emancipation. Sigitas Parulskis erases the boundaries between the performance and the actress’s personal life, as well as fiction and reality. He uses a lot of authentic texts (Žemaitė’s autobiography and letters), accentuating the classic writer’s progressive views (participating in women’s conventions, building an image by persistently wearing a rustic headscarf, expressing feelings in her love letters to a much younger man, and so on. Just as in Parulskis’s other dramatic works, Julija is concerned with the problem of a modern man’s relationship with cultural classics.