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MĀRA ĶIMELE and Her Psychoanalytical Theater

Māra Ķimele (1943) is a theater director and teacher of stage art with a contemporary and creative command of the realistic-psychological vocabulary of theater, successfully applying it to various theater productions and in teaching the developing actors.

Granddaughter of the expressionist theater director Anna Lācis and daughter of actor Vilis Ķimelis, Ķimele studied directing at the Moscow Theater Arts Institute with the master of psychological theater, Anatoly Efros. Already with her diploma work, Tennessee Williams’s "Glass Menagerie" at the Valmiera theater (1969), Ķimele takes upon herself to explore the essence of human psychology, looking for behavior motivating elements in the physical and spiritual experiences of characters.

The 1970s and 1980s at Valmiera were the most successful period for the director; she worked with an ensemble of actors that was already consolidated by director Oļģerts Kroders. Ķimele took over in 1974 as Kroders went to work for the Liepāja theater. She formed the style of the Valmiera theater in close cooperation with actors from the older and middle-aged generations (Ināra Ieviņa, Roberts Zēbergs, Agris Māsēns, Skaidrīte Putniņa, Rihards Rudāks, Jānis Samauskis et al.) while also raising a new generation of actors whose most interesting members, Dace Eversa, Aigars Vilims, Inese Ramute, Januss Johansons are featured in Ķimele’s best productions.

After moving to Riga in 1989, Ķimele worked in a number of theaters, yet her most creative collaboration was with Jaunais Rīgas teātris (New Riga Theater).

In her stage work, Ķimele has managed to show love in all its complexity and interplay between physical and spiritual dimensions, claiming the divinity of both the soul and the flesh. For instance in the the production of Jean Anouilh’s "Medea" (1975) Ķimele treated the author’s intellectual quandary about differences in world view as an intimate drama between a man and a woman, accentuating both the feminine in Ināra Ieviņa’s Medea and the masculine in Roberts Zēbergs’s Jason. In Dale Wasserman’s "One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest" (1984) on the other hand, the relationship between man (A.Vilim’s McMurphy) and woman (I. Ieviņa’s or L. Dēvica’s nurse Ratched) was developed as a struggle for power where the opposite sexes were locked in a mutual desire to subjugate each other.

Love as the most natural and at the same time loftiest form of human existence was made manifest in "Pūt, vējiņi!" by Rainis (1985) where Ķimele succeeded in balancing the symbolic against the psychological. Sensual love where a man and woman wage a challenging war of the sexes was played out in the productions of Peter Nichols’s "Passion Play" (1994) and August Strindberg’s "Miss Julie" (1988, 2004). What noble and pitiful traits love can unlock in a person, making him or her ridiculous, beautiful, and cruel, was her subject matter in Turgenev’s "A Month in the Country" (2005).

Although during her career, Ķimele has experimented with the forms borrowed from symbolic, ritual, and improvisational theater, she has been most consistent and creative in using the psychoanalytical method. To her, the actor’s individual experiences and his or her unconscious impulses are as important as the biography given by the author. Ķimele accentuates each actor’s individuality and uniqueness that must be employed and "lost" at the same time to reach maximum identification with the role and is trying to make sure that the actor’s consciousness, psyche, unconscious, and physiology do not resist the stranger (role) that he or she must let inside.

Līga Ulberte

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