On March 2, one of the founders of the Latvian Puppet Theater and its long-term actress Hilda Žīgure celebrates her 103rd birthday in Madona region. This year, due to the limitations of Covid-19, it is not possible to receive guests, but Hilda is not surprised by the number of years and continues to follow world events.
The actress’s older brother, writer and translator Jānis Žīgurs, worked as a narrator at Latvian Radio at the beginning of World War II, later becoming the editor-in-chief of children’s programs. As the war intensified, Jānis Žīgurs, together with his sisters Hilda and Erns and other well-known cultural workers, evacuated to Astrakhan. The world of theater was not quite foreign to Hilda Žīgure, because she had already mastered the basics of acting in Latvian dramatic courses (1936-1938) before the war. In 1942, while fleeing to Ivanovo, under the auspices of the LSSR Art Ensemble, Žīguri together with the poet Mirdza Ķempi and other representatives of the Latvian intelligentsia formed a puppet ensemble, which already in 1944 gained the status of an official theater and the opportunity to return to Latvia. Jānis Žīgurs became the director of the newly established theater, Mirdza Ķempe became the artistic director, while Hilda Žīgure became one of the leading actresses. She has spent all her creative life in the theater – from its foundation until 1986, when she went on a well-deserved rest.
The performance of a good puppet actor is immediately noticeable, even if he is hidden from the viewer by a screen, as is most often the case. The range of creative “weapons” of a good actor includes a lively feeling and technical mastery of working with dolls of different systems. Of course, this is also said about Hilda Žīguri and the gallery of diverse stage images created by her – Buratino (A. Tolstoy’s “Golden Key”, 1953), Black Mother (Rainis “Golden Horse”, 1955), Sprīdītis, Paija (A. Brigaderes ” Sprīdītis “, 1957, 1961,” Maija un Paija “, 1964). These are just a few roles – the actress’ performance is many times greater, but the already mentioned features the wide range of characters, feelings and emotions, which Hilda Žigure has allowed to shine especially bright on the stage.
Hilda Žīgure is an example of a temperamental actress. A concept such as the role of an actor in a puppet theater is much broader than in a dramatic one. A striking proof of this is the filigree work of Hilda Žīgure, directing the puppets of the title heroes in the legendary performances “Schweiks” (1974), “Schweiks Front” (1975), as well as bringing to life on stage the satirical sign of his era Hugo Diego , 1977).
Good health and lasting joy of life for actress Hilda Žīgure, the whole Latvian theater family!