Romanian Theatre Today: The Postdramatic Emancipation Of The New Generation

The very moment I step into the building, great expectations surround me. If a measuring device existed for such feelings, the degrees of suspense would surely become visible. I enter each room highly curious and slightly heavyhearted, but, after scanning each room and discovering what is inside, I feel the simple joy of discovery and no longer want to leave. I find there the deserted scene of a feast, with a large table, plates, glasses, wine stains, a tablecloth angrily pulled off; in a different room, a character seemingly descending from another century is buried amongst files behind a...

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Bonnie Marranca: “It’s Up To Every New Generation To Create Its Own Institutions, Critical Discourses, And Working Methods.”

Interview by Cristina Modreanu with the occasion of the first edition of Bonnie Marranca’s essays translated into Romanian. You coined the term “theatre of images” in one famous essay (1977), which is included in the book introducing your essays to Romanian readers. Can you say more about the context in which you observed that the visual dimension becomes prevalent on stage and about the three directors you chose as examples? The theatre of images idea was evolving in my thoughts while I was a graduate student at the City University (CUNY) Theatre doctoral program in New York City. I...

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From Skopje To London Via Hungarian And English: András Visky’s “The Unburied”

In November 2017, a world premiere by one of the Hungarian language’s leading playwrights was staged in a subterranean, site-specific production in London’s eastern borough of Hackney.  The play’s translator Jozefina Komporaly describes how this tale, based on the life of a woman born in Skopje, found its way to London via Hungarian, Romania, English, and one international theatre company’s pioneering theatre translation programme. [Foreign Affairs] theatre company was set up in 2010 by artistic directors Camila França and Trine Garrett with the express aim of championing dramatic traditions other than that of the Anglophone world. As an international organization...

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Verdi’s “A Masked Ball” – A Debut For The Galati Theatre Festival

Year after year, the Galati Theatre Festival commands a prestigious position for opera theatre in Romania. It has a good reputation in Italy also, thanks to the work of Paolo Bosisio–an important professor of theatre history (in the late 1980s he founded the chair in this discipline at the University of Milan) and an opera director–and one of the most requested artists in Eastern Europe. On October 24, 2016, he received an honorary degree in Arts at the University “Dunarea de Jos” in Galati: this Romanian town has become a sort of “theatrical home” for him, and the sincere...

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Bobi Pricop And The Empathetic Theatre

Each year, the Romanian higher education system supplies, through its art universities with their faculties and institutes in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Iaşi, and Tg Mureş (every two years), around 15 graduates in Performance Arts and Directing. In an unchanging, predictable institutional system, with the same number of state-owned theatres and staff grids, and with quasi-limited financial resources and perspectives for the independent/private field, it is not easy for young talents to emerge. On the other hand, the Romanian art environment, dominated by the idea that the director is responsible for theatrical success or failure, is impatient with the young directors, who achieve success early in their careers and who manage to go with the current, despite the burden of general expectations and success, which may...

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My Translation Odyssey: Translating Alexandra Badea’s “The Pulverised”

Currently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Lucy Phelps is an actor and translator whose début theatre translation, The Pulverised by Franco-Romanian writer Alexandra Badea, premiered in May 2017 at London’s Arcola Theatre, before opening at York Theatre Royal in June.  In this article, she describes her own journey from acting into translation, and from page back to stage, and shares her reflections on the role of the translator in theatre. I caught the translation bug back in 2008. Wait, I lie. I can actually trace some early symptoms back to the year 2000 when, on a childhood trip...

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“The Pulverised” at the Arcola Theatre

In the growing xenophobic atmosphere of Brexit it is a relief to see a show from Europe, to get a foreign eye on the world. And to enjoy a Continental playwriting sensibility about the big theme of globalization. The Pulverised is written by Alexandra Badea, a Romanian-born writer living in France since 2003, and it premiered at the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where it won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature. It takes the form of four alternating monologues which together create a powerful picture of the complexity of economic oppression, a system that stretches across continents. The four...

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Silviu Purcărete and the Apocalypse of Us

Theatre professionals have recognised his achievements in superlative terms: “A magnificent production” (Bernard Faivre D’Arcier, former Director of the Avignon Festival); “Purcărete’s show has been one of the greatest hits of the festival, an original and powerful production” (Frank Dunlop, former Director of the Edinburgh International Festival); “Masterpieces . . . brilliant, powerful and free” (Marie-Hélène Falcon, Director of the Festival TransAmériques. Silviu Purcărete’s theatrical achievement is a synthesis of archaeology and anticipation; it is a theatre of the Art of Direction, in which classic works are rediscovered by means of contemporary forms of expression and invention. His productions...

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In Search of Identity. Trends in Contemporary Theatre in Romania

Historical Context Twenty‑five years after the fall of the communist regime, the performing arts in Romania find themselves in a state of heterogeneity in terms of aesthetics and content, and confusion in terms of direction. In a predominantly state‑funded system—a network of theatres financed by either the ministry of culture or the local authorities (city halls and county councils)—theatre has remained a prisoner of the notion of “art for art’s sake” promoted during the communist period. Repertory theatre has cultivated a conservative mentality (among artists and the public), has favoured classic and modern over contemporary playwrights and has worked...

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The American Tour Of Contemporary Romanian Female Artists: Empowering Women

On the nights of November 18 & November 20, 2016, at Here Arts Centre, NYC, I was being reminded why I am proud to be part of the wave of young Romanian female artists and that our life matters too. As an international female artist in NYC, I am lately more interested and aware of subjects like diversity, giving female voices equal rights, (as well in theatre and film), benefiting with equal space and rewards, no matter her racial, cultural background, sexual, or religious orientation. Therefore, I was very eager and curious to go see two plays, Ibsen Incorporated...

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Romanian Women Directors Remix Ibsen. Now in New York.

Future is Feminine introduces American audiences to innovative Romanian women artists remixing Ibsen with two shows running in repertory: Me. A Dollhouse and Ibsen Incorporated. Take a look at the world through their eyes, 25 years after the fall of communism. The event is presented by Romanian Cultural Institute, Bucharest Odeon Theater, Bucharest Comedy Theater, Romanian Association for Performing Arts, Ibsen Scholarships, and Drama League New York.  A rare example of devised theater on the Romanian stage, Ibsen Incorporated is, to quote director Catinca Drăgănescu, “a way to investigate the influence of the capitalist society on the fundamental inter-humane relationships...

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Gianina Cărbunariu: Documentary Theatre With Political Focus

A powerful trend in Romanian new drama in the past few years focuses on re-discovering of the recent past, a sort of expanded journalistic documentation on issues of vital interest for the development of the Romanian society. DramAcum movement (which translates as drama now/ instant drama/ and can be interpreted as “theater of urgency”) was launched in 2002 and it emerged from the National University for Theater and Film in Bucharest.  Issues like homelessness, racism against the gypsy population, inter-ethnic conflicts, but also perennial problems like emmigration, the generation gap, relationship between power and politics, are the focus of most...

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DramAcum Movement in New Romanian Theater

In key historical moments, theater, as the most political of all arts, is one of the best ways to mirror and even shape societies, especially when they are caught in the midst of changes. There are signs that Romanian theater is now going through such a moment when the artists are driven more than ever to speak about the imperfections of the world they live in, trying to become again the conscience of a society that is badly in need of them. A powerful trend in Romanian new drama in the past few years is the re-discovering of the...

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Bucharest International Theater Platform Prepares for Its 3rd Edition

The October 2016 edition of the Bucharest International Theater Platform will bring to Romania’s capital city five performances centered on the theme “The Other/Migration.” The Bucharest International Theatre Platform is a festival launched in 2014 and produced annually by the Romanian Association for Performing Arts in cooperation with ARCUB Cultural Center of the City, and public theaters in Bucharest. The Platform is committed to presenting new, innovative theater voices, in a conversational frame where the productions are followed by artist talks, round tables, film screenings and debates on different issues. A selection of innovative artists from different cultures is...

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Public Theatres Vs. The Independents: The Saga Of The Never-Ending Systemic Change In Romania (I)

With a new–and technocratic–government, a Ministry of Culture with a limited mandate (until the next elections, in November this year), and a national competition for the 2020 European Capital of Culture requiring the approval of cultural strategies (something that basically no city in the country has ever had before), we are living in interesting times in Romania. Interesting mainly because it is the first time when the mere existence of non-institutionalized, non-subsidized sector of performing arts (the so-called independent sector) is taken into consideration when talking about public strategies. But also because taking the independents into consideration has triggered...

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