Vol. 16 (2023): XVI International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Criticism Socialist Realism in Literature and Art
Models and Forms of Socialist Realism

Folk Tale “Eglė, the Queen of Serpents” [Eglė Žalčių Karalienė] on the Soviet Stage as a Representation of Lithuanian Culture

Rūta Brūzgienė
Mykolas Romeris University

Published 2023-12-11


  • Soviet period,
  • Lithuanian theater,
  • folk tale ,
  • the Queen of Serpents,
  • poem by Salomėja Nėris,
  • stage productions
  • ...More


A folk tale “Eglė, the Queen of Serpents” is one of the most exceptional Lithuanian mythical tales, which has received a lot of attention from researchers of Indo-European mythology. After a Lithuanian poetess Salomėja Nėris (1904–1945) wrote a poem following the plot of the fairy tale, it became extremely popular on the Lithuanian stage during the Soviet period. Performances based on this tale or poem not only received several productions on different puppet theater stages, but there was also a ballet written by the composer Eduardas Balsys (1919–1984) which went through several different adaptations on the opera stage. This article will analyze the characteristics of this tale based poem, discuss its stage productions and the reasons for their popularity, and their significance for Lithuanian culture in the Soviet period. The study refers to the works of of G. Kadžytė, A. Kapočiūtė, H. Šabaševičius, E. Tarasti, N. Vėlius, A. Žiūraitytė, W. Wolf, and others, and is based on comparative methodology.