On writing: Salute
Gabrielė Labanauskaitė Diena likes the challenge of working with different forms of drama and language, theatrical language, poetry and street language. “I hate monologues so I write monologues. It’s like an experiment. It’s more interesting,” (Poetry House Live Seminars, Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation in partnership with the University of Roehampton, July 2016).
Explaining her fascination with Salomeja Neris:
“She had a really interesting life story. She’s very diverse, a very romantic personality. When the war started she ran away with her child and her first love. There was a lot of space to imagine what would happen.”
Labanauskaitė Diena described how a central conflict in Neris’ life inspired her in the writing of Salute. “She believed in Stalin’s regime and in one period of her life was treated as a Queen” (but) “in another life period as a betrayer. And when she came back from Russia and found everything destroyed and realised she had been a tool of the regime; in this I found drama. She was very naive and that’s very beautiful.”
Visiting Neris house at Kaunas also provided inspiration. “When I visited the museum, I fell in love with her somehow.” Describing the little windows that husband and wife could see each other working so as not to interrupt, “The small details they were so lovely.” Labanauskaitė Diena described how she used furniture and household objects, such as a broken cup displayed in the museum, “as props to show the conflicts in her life.”