Exercises of (be)longing
Estonian premiere February 2021
Produced by VABAMU Museum of Occupation and Freedom | Tallinn, Estonia
Latvian premiere November 2021
Produced by Dirty Deal teatro | Riga, Latvia
Makers: Barbara Lehtna, Katrina Duka (LV), Janis Balodis (LV), Kristina Hudenko (LV)
Performers: Local communities
EXERCISES OF (BE)LONGING is a one-on-one telephone performance happening live. An audience member is asked to pick up a package that contains five envelopes with phone numbers of five strangers. The performance starts in the evening at a set time for each audience member: the audience member calls the stranger, opens the envelope, and surrenders to the story of the person on the
other side. During the performance the audience member witnesses five intimate stories of strangers who! never reveal their identity.
The work is grounded in real-life stories and departures from an interest towards moments or events when a person has been in the process of finding or not finding a way how to be with people around them. Themes of acceptance and the cost of fitting in are embedded in each story. The performance itself is a longing for a time when people will be able to come together once again. More importantly, the work questions the understanding of togetherness and the need to define it on
"I listened to each monologue with great interest. Each of them ten minutes long, or actually short, as the time flew by. There was no extra minutes given to dialogue, it was not a part of the rules. The skill to listen is a necessary one. The stories were well composed, with thought through endings which helped to balance the existential sadness with a drip of hope. I kept looking at the photos and thinking to myself how much I would want to belong in those photos. "