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The War Hasn’t Yet Started

Season 2019 – 2020 is Jubilee for Gertrudes ielas teatris and international team of TWHYS performance will move to Gertrudes 101A to play the exiting text of Mikhail Durnenkov there. Last Autumn – the new theatre project was born. Riga, in the building of the former movie theatre Daile, rehearsals for the new play The War Hasn’t Yet Started(TWHYS) were being held then the first season was done.


The play TWHYS consists of 12 short stories written in the form of sketches or monologues. Each novella has its own storyline, yet all together they create a united dramatic timeline. The characters of the play are just like us, regardless of origin; they are ordinary people, parents and children, husbands and wives. They are plagued by the same issues that we are: fear of losing our loved ones and family bonds, the overwhelming technological progress, the helpless elderly on the countryside. They are worried about the consumer society that picks the best of the best and has forgotten the meaning of true feelings. Add aggression flaming in the streets and the countless ways of escaping reality.


The director of the play is Lera Surkova, stage designer – Māra Broka. The actors represent different theatre styles, languages and cultures: Latvian Guna Zariņa, Lithuanian Gitis Ivanauskas and Aleksandr Malikov from Russia.


Guna Zarina, actress of the New Riga Theater, graduated from the St. Petersburg Theater Institute. Repeatedly awarded the title of Best Actress of the Year in Latvia for her roles in performances of the New Riga Theater, she also plays the play “Medea” in the Russian Theater in Riga. A lot of films are being filmed, including in Lithuanian films. The last work in the film The Breathing into Marble Giedre Beinoriūte. Worked with Kirill Serebrennikov in the film “Treason”

In 2018 started teaching at the Academy of Culture at the actors course of Alvis Hermanis.

Cavalier of the Order of the Three Stars (State Award of Latvia).

For the play “War Has Not Started”, playwright Mikhail Durnenkov wrote extra monologue that was not included in the text of the play – a monologue specifically for actress Guna Zarina – “Piano”. There is no monologue in any production of this play. It is difficult to give another example, when a dramatic text would be written specifically for a particular actress, with emotions of her image, voice, character.


Gitis Ivanauskas. Appearing on stage in the performance of Oskaras Korshunovas Fireface (based on the play by Marius von Mayenburg), he then played in the same theater of Romeo, and a year later Rodion Raskolnikov in the Kaunas Drama Theater directed by Gintaras Varnas. Actor, dancer and choreographer, he has been working in his own theater for over ten years, teaching and playing in theaters in Vilnius and Kaunas.

To work in the play TWHYS he learned the roles (in this performance he plays various novels) in Russian, and probably this new sound shows him as an actor from the other side.


Alexander Malikov, actor of the Riga Russian Theater. M.Chekhov, poet and musician.

Born in the Far East in the family of a Russian officer, a fighter pilot.

In 2002 he applied to the Faculty of Mathematics, and entered the Petrozavodsk State Conservatory. AK Glazunov acting, master Arvid Zeland.

He served in the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Leningrad Military District of Russia, which traveled throughout Europe on tour.

Since 2007, at the invitation of Andrei Prikotenko, he began to live and work in Latvia.


The playwright Mikhail Durnenkov is considered one of the best contemporary theater playwrights. He had been a resident at the theater Royal Court in London and he is a popular at various international festivals. The play TWHYS was written as a special order for Glasgow Theater in Scotland. It was later translated to American English, Romanian, Italian, Czech, Lithuanian and Finnish. His plays based on the archives documents and diaries dedicated to Stanislavsky, Gorky, Mikhail Chekhov was staged at Moscow Art theatre and Russian theatre in Riga.  He was awarded by National theatre prize Golden Mask in 2019 for his play UTOPIA staged at Theatre of Nations last season. Durnenkov is one of art-directors of Liubimovka festival of new drama and also runs a lot of workshops for dramaturges arounf the world.

The War Hasn’t Yet Started was staged in Plymouth (UK), London (UK), Bucharest (Ro), Moscow (Ru) and Helsinki (Fi).


Director Lera Surkova left Riga in the 90’s to study at the Moscow Academic School of Theatre, specifically the Oleg Tabakov’ ‘Latvian course’. Then Surkova has been educated in cinema directing by Vladimir Hotitenko and Marina Razbezkina. In Moscow Surkova directed plays in the theatre Teatr.doc, Meyerhold center, Taganka theatre and Gogol center. She has cooperated with the Ukrainian playwright Nataliya Vorozbit in the St-Petersburg Aleksandrinsky Theatre. Surkova is involved for projects of drama readings at Lubimovka and Territory festivals.


Stage designer Māra Broka is a Latvian Academy of Arts student. She has been graduated stage design by Monika Pormale and Andris Freibergs. Broka took part at Praha Quadriennale Exhibition as a co-member of Latvian pavillion. The music and composing for the play was produced by DJ Ola Crikova and pianist Rihardas Plešanovs.


The producer of TWHYS Yevgenya Shermeneva, former director of the international New European Theatre festival (NET) and Territory festival, as well as curator of such festivals as Krasnoyarsk Book Fair, Gavroche festival and Theatre Syndrome. She is the expert of theatre course in the Mikhail Prokhorov foundation. Shermeneva was the deputy of Moscow minister of culture Sergey Kapkov in the times when the outlook of the capital’s theatre changed.


Premiere 18 October 2018, Riga.

The play is in Russian with Estonian subtitles.

Duration 2 hours without interval

Outdoor Gallery