Alina Herescu

Plays in current season :

The Memory of Water

Visual Exfoliations. Alina Herescu


Alina Herescu is a creator of solid and simultaneously fluid visual worlds, of spaces alternating dense object materiality with what could be called the „liquidness” of costumes. Alina Herescu has the ability of building visual crusts for dramatic narratives, which she envelops in shapes, colours, textures, atmospheres imposing themselves through carefully individualised plastic details. The scenographer leaves her mark on constructed spaces, on rigorously and inventively devised costumes, on subtle correspondences between elements of scenery architecture and fashion design details customising her creation. Alina Herescu proposes visual representations with an always recognisable trademark, without „swallowing” the show, without becoming a redundancy of images, without dominating its deep meanings. Herescu is a scenographer of the detail, which she subtly explores in multiple plastic derivations of the space ensemble, leaving the plasticity of the text to visually breathe and finding, every time, those representation forms which most appropriately respond to the dramatic significances. The abundance of images is never overwhelming. She does not exhaust the imagined spaces, she does not expose them to an explicit overbidding, nor deplete their meanings. On the contrary. Abundance is the sign of a visual inventiveness, of a lucid lucidness making the audience grow attached to specific elements of scenography, retain certain characteristics, and build, starting from an image, their own imaginative playground. The playful, the appetite for visual play, for strong colour and shape alternations are a vital component of the scenographies imagined by Alina Herescu. The scenographer emancipates the fantasy of the audience, offers a creative space to their ability to give meaning to the details she proposes, perpetually juggling with various contrasts and correspondences. Each stage set created by Alina Herescu has its own dynamic, an inner tension at the level of dialogue emerging between objects and pieces of clothing. No accessory is random, no detail is superfluous.


Herescu sees the universe of a text in depth, its layered content and proposes image overlaps, endowed with a kind of visual austerity, of essentialisation and opulence, which has nothing to do with plastic excess. Opulence is moreover the distinguishing sign of imaginative explosion.


Between imagery purification and richness, the visual worlds created by the scenographer always have a series of distinctive characteristics. In Scarred Hearts (directed by Radu Afrim), Alina Herescu has imagined a universe of disease encapsulated in plaster, of a severe materiality and extremely vulnerable at the same time. A space of painful tensions in which plasters, adhering to one another, leave the sensation of an alienating white beach of endless despair. On stretcher-beds, bodies are twitching frantically, trying to touch, violently colliding and obsessively agitating their agonising gazes. Alina Herescu creates a world on the horizontal axis of death, yearning to vertically breathe in mouthfuls of life. The scenographer highlights through the elaborate atmosphere emotional pulsions elapsed from the plaster walls.


In Straight as a Line (directed by Radu Apostol), Alina Herescu was elaborating a décor of oversized elements – the telephone-couch on which the depleted body of Marius Manole was resting the remaining days – the liquid prolongations or arms becoming a second pair of hands. These were elements defining areas of tension from the twisted relations between mother and son. In Why Does the Child Boil in the Polenta (directed by Radu Afrim), the universe fractured by fears, draped in the effervescence of the circus, enables the scenographer to devise a world exploding in bright colours and the quaintest costume elements through chromatic alternation, the correspondence between one detail and another. The accumulation of fashion „eccentricities” invested each character with a distinct specificity, a recognisable symbolic aura. The universe of the circus is impregnated with a richness of nuances, shapes and representations of a totally unique strangeness.


For Alina Herescu, the identification details of a character’s chromaticism are of the utmost importance. The scenographer creates tall hairstyles, plays with the bizarre shapes of the wigs, enhances the role of strident make-up, focussing on a visual element which becomes a trademark of the character – see the oblong hairstyle of Adriana Trandafir (the mother from Why Does the Child Boil in the Polenta), the innocent braids of Coca Bloos (The Presidents, directed by Sorin Militaru), the tresses of Liliana Ghiță (the mother from Straight as a Line), conferring the character a teenage allure, the inflated and pointed tuft of Dorina Lazăr (The Presidents). For Alina Herescu, „the hair architecture” is a perpetual challenge, through which the creator tests her inventiveness and the appetite for exploring the characters’ universe. Universes which the spectator recreates in his own mind long after the show is over. Mihaela Michailov


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

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