Milestibas Varda | In the Name of Love
Premiere September 2021 | International Festival of Contemporary Theatre HOMO NOVUS
Produced by The New Theatre Institute of Latvia | Riga, Latvia
Co-authors: Barbara Lehtna, Katrina Duka (LV)
Co-creators and participants: 8 local LGBTQAI+ people
MILESTIBAS VARDA * (ENG: In The Name of Love) is an artistic work co-created with a local group of Latvian people who identify as LGBTQAI+ and who have lived a queer life in Riga during different political eras. The process of making the work is an investigation into how LGBTQAI+ people experience private moments in public space and how these experiences can be transformed into performative situations of taking ownership of one's own image through queering the gaze of the audience. The experience invites the audience member to a transit from safe space to a close and perhaps even an intimate setting with strangers over the course of a performance which happens during 4 days in several locations in Riga. The interest towards creating queer live-images together with the participants of the project derives from the pursuit of finding a place of your own in a society that might be unfavourable and perhaps even hostile not only to you but also towards your family and friends.
* Milestibas varda is a book published by the prominent Soviet Latvian sexologist Janis Zalitis. The text promoted ‘correct sexual practices’, claiming homosexuality to be a perversion, developed as the result of the parents using substances such as alcohol and drugs during pregnancy.
"Here's how you do it: you arrive at one of the three spots, scan the QR-code, and listen the characters describing the scene that they are performing right in front of you. Their appearence, their movement, their presence. If you want, you can listen to the recording several times or not listen to it at all. If you want, you can do when looking at the performers, but you can also turn your back to them or leave. "In the Name of Love" is a political show who targets mostly the people who are not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, or perhaps even people who haven't had any kind of contact with the said community. Speaking in the language of the project: the work normalizes the existence of LGBT + people, shows them as ordinary people (not proudly dancing and marching) who you might not even notice on a daily lives, but who still live their lives in the same public space with you."