Two interpretations – two continents: a reading of Algirdas Landsbergis’s play Five Posts in a Market Place

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Baltic Studies


In his drama, Five Posts in a Market Place, Lithuanian émigré playwright Algirdas Landsbergis applies the philosophy of existentialism to depict the trauma of war as a universal experience. It was initially written in Lithuanian (1957) for an audience of postwar displaced persons in the North American Lithuanian diaspora. In 1959, Landsbergis rewrote the play in English, and it was staged in New York in 1961. Drawing on the theoretical work of trauma theorist, Cathy Caruth, this article considers how the playwright’s experiences of war and postwar trauma render the play a trauma narrative, while also avoiding direct autobiographical references by adhering to the philosophy of existentialism.