Smarzo Senes

Smarzo Senes


The Smell of Mushrooms, a play by Latvian playwright Gunārs Priede (1928-2000) which was once quite successful in Estonia as well, is the only play in Latvian theatre history that was banned by Soviet censors. The play was written in the winter of 1968, just a couple of months before the student riots in Prague and the following invasion of Russian tanks. The play ended up in the hands of ideology workers, who didn’t miss the hidden irony in the text aimed at the current regime and the ridiculous decisions made by the party. Gunārs Priede lost his position as first secretary of the Latvian Cineast Association, and the production of his plays was forbidden for several years.

The peculiar name of the play is part of a secret code that Mirdza Kēlerte wants to remind his childhood comrades of, whose anniversary they are celebrating. Unfortunately, they have forgotten the secret words, the ideals of their youth, and replaced them with conformism and double standards.

The play was named the best small-hall production of the 2015/2016 season in Latvia.

The group of 15 actors includes one with Estonian heritage, Jaanus Johanson, who has been performing with Valmiera Drama Theatre for 40 years.

In Latvian with Estonian subtitles

Duration 2h 20 min

Information on Valmiera Theatre webpage

“The Smell of Mushrooms” is in the FREEDOM FESTIVAL 2018 program

Director Martinš Eihe
Designer Ieva Kaulina
Musical design Martinš Eihe & Emils Zilberts