Current Repertory

Carnival Stuff

by I.L. Caragiale

Carnival Stuff

by I.L. Caragiale

Alexandru Dabija
Assistant Director:
Patricia Katona
Liliana Cenean
Raluca Alexandrescu
Florin Fieroiu
Stoica Liviu, Ștefan Stanciu
Ionuț Vlașcu, Iordache Laurențiu
Scene director:
Andi Tuinea, Vlad Lăzărescu
Scene mechanisms:
Adrian Anton, Gabriel Ene, Mihai Bănuţoiu
Mădălina Ciupitu

Premiere: 26.06.2021

Duration: 1 h 35 min / Pause: No

05 Oct 2023 19:00

70 lei

50 lei

20 lei (reducere pentru elevi, studenți și pensionari)

One would think that Alexandru Dabija "reads" Caragiale on a "different" note. In fact, he looks at him inwardly, and he likes what he sees. And with what he likes he identifies. A lucid and cynical Caragiale to the point of cruelty with his heroes, a side that Dabija exploits with great interest in his productions. He also offers us a shattering vision of contemporary human emptiness and derision with "Carnival Stuff"; a modern staging faithful to the Caragialian text, with a humour that is no longer benevolent but rather vitriolic. A provocative performance whose aesthetics is close to that of the silent film, which reveals the absurdity of the human condition with realistic means. The stage set (Raluca Alexandrescu's set; Liliana Cenean's costumes) and the stage movement (Florin Fieroiu) capture the whole mechanism of this classic black and white comedy in which the destinies of the puppet characters are trapped as if in a mill, "bitter" by the thought of revenge in their own foolishness and imbecility. Through Alexandru Dabija's "Carnival Stuff”, we witness a carnival of misery, emptiness and nothingness.

Translated by Simona Nichiteanu

Photo: Florin Ghioca

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The Studio Hall 19:00 Buy tickets
Mita: Irina Movilă Didina: Natalia Călin
Waiter, Carnival Mask: Rodica Ionescu Cracanel: Claudiu Bleonţ
Iordache: Marius Rizea
Ionuț Toader
Nae Girimea: Gavril Pătru
Pampon: Emilian Oprea Junior Clerk: Mihai Munteniţă
First Police Officer: Mihai Calotă Second Police Officer: Ciprian Nicula

“The show has an incredible pace, it is lively, it is picturesque, it has a studied, worked and expressive dynamic. The scenography by Raluca Alexandrescu - reminiscent of Pintilie’s film "For Whom Do the Bells Toll, Mitică", ensures to a large extent the surprising dose, but also the personality of the staging.

As for the actors, we have exquisite ones. From Claudiu Bleonţ, whom I suspect has spare hands, feet and brains, he is so inexhaustible, offering an invaluable example of playful sense, stage presence, truthfulness, to Irina Movilă and Natalia Călin supporting their roles with vigour and maturity; Gavril Pătru, an atypical, impeccably built Nae, with charm, humour and balance; Mihai Munteniţă in a consistent role and with a stake that he performs with authentic talent but also responsibility, a sign that he has already moved to another league from a professional point of view; Emilian Oprea, spectacular, unusual and efficient; Marius Rizea, a joy of an artist, the detector of naturalness, artlessness and humanity in every script entrusted to him; and last, but not least, Mihai Calotă and Ciprian Nicula in a double role, adorable, special, a delight ". 

Răzvana Niţă, Acta est fabula - "Forgive me, uncle Iancu, I won't do it anymore!". And so on… Not often but quite often    

"Alexandru Dabija did not go on update, the stage design elements fix the plot in a time of the past, through materials and furniture used and through suggestions that stem from costumes. Definitive for the overview is the accelerated speed of the dramatic cavalcade initiated by the affairs of a community built on deception ".

Oltiţa Cîntec, Culture Supplement - Giving in the show   

"An overflowing energy, intelligently consumed together with the characters who create and fulfill it, in a carousel of imbroglios that each rides his own naughty horse and begins to turn the whip menacingly towards his servant, dropping it as if by mistake, from time to time, on the backs of others, on the principle every plotter needs an ignorant or a decent man to define oneself. An authentic humour in the construction of Caragiale’s characters, which Alexandru Dabija noticed and highlighted very well, from a Caragiale looked into the eyes and bravely grabbed by the collar whenever the contemporary is about to slide helplessly on the walls an eternity in which we seem to have been nailed and of which no one was aware that it could last so long a century ago… ".

Luciana Antofi, Blog - The comedy of Dabija's masks in pandemic times: "Hysterical Stuff", a carnival perpetuum based on humour   

"Ion Luca Caragiale's comedy Carnival Stuff becomes a drama in Alexandru Dabija’s vision. The dramaturgical material is offered by the reality next to us and not by the actual text of the play that crumbles in our hearing flooded with noises and sounds which perpetuate former words. In all respects, Alexandru Dabija's show exemplifies - with the aid of the actors and technicians mentioned above - our destiny today. The carnival continues. Like all the vanity and futility of this world. Perhaps not coincidentally, decades ago Liviu Ciulei, climactically concluded a show from Bulandra, with "A Lost Letter" smelling of grilled meat rolls and the tunes from the Union Dance. United. Reconciled. Together. At Nae Girimea's barber shop. There we were, here we are. "Carnival Stuff. It is all good."

Bedros Horasangian, Cultural Observer - Dabija's Men at NTB  

"Caragiale's world mixes with Dabija's world, a Romanian world full of the unnatural, but very natural, if we look around us. It looks like Commedia dell'Arte, but as written by Caragiale, it is the world of personal dramas of people we encounter almost every day. 

If usually we, the audience, don't pay much attention to the space where the plot of the show flows, this time we are brought "there" where the boiling is the greatest, among the characters, because the moving space invites us to "dance the mores" of a world that has not yet gone out. 

The scenery is alive and dresses and undresses before us showing us how paper, wood and iron come alive".

Octavian Neculai, Liternet - In our days... it can be different - Carnival Stuff   

"Irina Movila is a new Mita, fierce, who performs her role divinely, in cascades and trumpets of tragicomic poses. She's not tattooed at the salon, but she's bloodied by the cane. The most terrifying woman in the brilliant comedian's comic oeuvre, Mita is still a sex symbol today. The woman of shenanigans and compromises is also the perfidious Didina Mazu (impersonated by Natalia Călin), mysterious and enigmatic, a kind of secret and abject mistress, rebellious and finally tamed by the barber's whip and razor. The cuckold of cuckolds, the supreme clown is Claudiu Bleonț's Crăcănel, whose performance takes us back to the magical Birlic, the magical de Funés and even a little to Charlot (footwork). The modernization of Carnival Stuff is also given by the multiple, rotating, ingenious and spectacular, specially created set, which swirls around crazily but well calculated with the characters caught in the whirl.

(...) What do we veterans still learn and what do young people retain from a Carnival Stuff? That this nation is inclined towards carnivals, that jealousy and stupidity know no boundaries, that language is quaint, hypocritical, that verbal (cerebral) innovation is the law of conversation in the basement of culture, in short, that public order and disorder are as they are, and the world is as it is."

Dinu Grigorescu, Neuma, no.7-8 - Some remarks about a show full of post-pandemic adrenaline  

"A daring show that offers the audience an almost crude humour, too little decoded. Carnival Stuff in Alexandru Dabija's vision thus becomes a point of reference - his proposal has nothing in common with any other staging, older or newer, of Caragiale's play. Beyond the obvious (and assumed) courage lies an ability to interpret the text in the finest (and hidden) details, and the combination of the two is found in what we generically call Alexandru Dabija's trademark".

Nona Rapotan, BookHub - Caragiale Reinterpreted   

"The show is not ostentatious, it does not come with rhetorical symbolism, as the performances of recent years have taught us, but with a necessary, expected naturalness. There is no lack of references to everyday life, to current history, no puns, no little messages for the informed spectator.

It is a comedy that lifts your spirits, connecting you to the spirit of Caragiale, to the play for pleasure, to the National's top shows."

Doina Ruşti, Eight Reasons - A Tonic Show  

"The show has coherence in expression and form, it's well-connected; every element is designed to fit into the gears of this infernal machine of paroxysmal states that perambulate in the carousel without painted horses and beautifully decorated carriages; people are the fairground carousels of small lives, which they consume for free between rages and passions. The atmosphere created on stage has something of the slightly recognizable rhythm given by the ever-scarce time.

Carnival Stuff, directed by Alexandru Dabija at NTB, is a show that literally stuns and violates you. The turntable continually twists one’s perspective, and the characters don't fight with each other, but with one in the auditorium. It is an unusual experience, not necessarily unpleasant, not necessarily successful. The mirror of the stage shows us even more deformed, even more twisted than we have become."

Alina Epîngeac, Timpul Magazine - Carnival Stuff” – Carousel with Living People  

"The scenes of the carnival unfold more surely and better with the help of the wheel of fortune, which rotates the scenery and changes the situations, just as they change in Ion Luca Caragiale's play.

All in all, the show is very interesting, it is a vision, if not brand new, at least very expressive, and memorable, of the world of the slum that the master, whose death will be celebrated next year one hundred and ten years ago, masterfully portrayed. (...)

And one more thing that stands out from the curtain’s lifting: the noise and fury are somewhat comparable to those in the cinematic representation of the play imagined by Lucian Pintilie, yet here, it seems, the noise is better controlled and less exaggerated.

The pace and movement, admirable. A reference Carnival Stuff".

Nicolae Prelipceanu, Theatre Nowadays no.10-11/2021- The Immortal Caragiale  


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

2022 - The performance was presented on the occasion of the Romanian National Theatres Meeting in Kishinev - "Artists for peace, freedom, hope".

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