Polka-dots and pedophilia - a night of theater

  • 2009-01-21
  • By Monika Hanley

UNTRADITIONAL: Some of the elements of this interpretation of a classic play are hard to comprehend.

RIGA - As with many types of entertainment in Latvia, the theater must be approached with an open mind. Nudity, live animals and pyrotechnics are nothing to be surprised about.
The play Lolita 's originally a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, reinterpreted by prominent Latvian director Dz. Dz. Dzilindzers 's is now in its second year at Dailes Theater. The play has plenty of the above mentioned theatrical oddities, but it doesn't make it a bad production. It may be going too far to say it actually added to the experience 's but nonetheless it made the play more memorable.

The story is a disturbing classic tale of an older man lusting after a young girl, even going so far as to marry her mother to get close to the girl. In most cases, this story would be disgusting, perverse and truly uncomfortable to watch. However, the play, as with the novel, draws the audience into the deeper meaning behind the lust and makes a beautiful story out of what would otherwise be disturbing.
That being said, it is still hard to imagine what it means when the older man, Humbert Humbert (played by Harijs Spanovkis) enters his room, the lights dim and a nearly nude Native American with a large live sheep exit his closet and walk slowly across the stage. This happens twice throughout the play.
Lolita (played by newcomer Ieva Seglina) is thankfully not as young as the young nymphet she is portraying, making the whole production a little easier to watch.

There are scenes that include singing pop songs, jumping rope, lighting things on fire, and so forth, but one thing can be said with absolute certainty: you will not be bored. Even if you don't understand the language of the play (Latvian with a dash of English), it hardly matters, the physical comedy and facial expressions make everything clear to understand, even if the plot will leave you a bit confused.
The play touches on deeper issues surrounding people's fear of death. You see a man, struggling with growing older, in love with this young girl, who is far from nice and polite, but a temptress. She understands what Humbert wants and uses it to get what she desires.

Where this classic story differs from Latvian plays is that it actually finishes. It doesn't leave anything to guess work. The story closes, all is resolved and it makes sense.
The story's underlying current of pedophilia isn't left alone as an acceptable thing, as most people who have seen the movie may think. People get their comeuppance, and in the end everyone gets just what they deserved.

The costumes are also worth a mention 's the colors play a large role in the mood and spirit of the times, with bright, vibrant blues, polka dots and bobby socks of the 1960s.
While there are some scenes where you don't know whether to laugh, cry or call the police, the play is worth a watch. Dailes Theater is much larger than the National Theater, and has sky-high ceilings. Still located in the center, Dailes can be found at the crossing of Brivibas Street and Bruninieku.

For more information visit: www.dailesteatris.lv