Modris Tenisons is a Latvian and Lithuanian artist who established the USSR’s first mime troupe. He directed several professional mime theatre and radio productions, such as Ecce homo (1967), Dream Dreams (1968), Do Butterflies (1969), 20th-Century Capriccio (1970), and Collage (1971).
After graduating from the School of Applied Arts in Riga (Latvia), Modris Tenisons studied and performed mime. In 1967, he moved to Soviet Lithuania. At first, he worked in Vilnius, and later in 1968 he moved to the Kaunas National Drama Theatre. Ecce Homo was the first performance he devised and showed in Kaunas. Later, in 1968, Jonas Jurašas, the director of the Kaunas National Drama Theatre, invited Tenisons’ troupe to join the production Mamutų medžioklė (The Mammoth Hunt). According to Jurašas, it was an interesting experiment, in which every 'real' personage-actor had his 'shadow' in Tenisons’ troupe. As Tenisons recalls, the production was well received by audiences.
Modris Tenisons and his troupe worked at the theatre for two years, and in 1970 moved to Kaunas Musical Theatre, where it worked until the middle of 1972. Tenisons witnessed the self-immolation of Kalanta, because he was rehearsing in Kaunas Musical Theatre at that moment. Later, mass youth protests broke out, but he decided not to join them, knowing the possible negative consequences of taking such a step. Although he kept away from the protests, it did not save him and his troupe from being closed down. After the self-immolation of Romas Kalanta in protest against the Soviet regime, Modris Tenisons and his troupe were dismissed from Kaunas Musical Theatre.
Kaunas Laisvės alėja 91, Lithuania 44297
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- Riga, Latvia
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