Markas Petuchauskas Is 90

Markas Petuchauskas Is 90

by Ginas Dabašinskas, Vilnius Jerusalem of Lithuania Jewish Community

And over those nine decades I never happened to meet theater expert, art historian and professor Markas Petuchauskas, I’ll allow myself to say in a bit of fun.

But I always knew Markas Petuchauskas is, first of all, the constellation of the publication “Literatūra ir menas,” where my student contact with theater studies, more precisely theater criticism, began. He is among the ranks of the other great lights–Irena Veisaitė, Egmontas Jansonas, Irena Aleksaitė and Dovydas Judelevičius, all of whom, unfortunately, have passed on.

Eight months ago, or maybe nine, I received a passage from a book about to go to press from Markas Petuchauskas. The passage was called “Fiddler on the Roof of Vilnius” and was dedicated to the memory of Vilnius-born violinist Jascha Heifetz.

The author only had one condition: not to change anything.

Reading the excerpt I was quietly impressed. The text was structured as if by a perfectionist, so how could it come to mind to change anything? It’s as if you jumped to page 40 of a musical work and inserted a bécarre on the andante.

The text ended up the way it was intended.

When Markas Petuchauskas’s wife Sofija mentioned the possibility to interview Markas on the eve of his birthday, I couldn’t pass up the chance.

I spent almost two hours in front of the camera with Markas Petuchauskas in his comfortable home on Trimitų street. I kept one eye on the working of the camera, the other on my interlocutor and the third on the thread of the story, I swam within his monologue. As Markas dived into events which took place eight, six, five decades ago, time seemed to disappear for him.

As I listened this banal saying popped into mind, paraphrased as “but time fears Markas Petuchauskas!”