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Exit the King

by Eugène Ionesco

Exit the King

by Eugène Ionesco

Translation: Vlad Russo și Vlad Zografi
Andrei și Andreea Grosu
Vladimir Turturica
Light design:
Chris Jaeger

Premiere: 28.11.2017

Duration: 1 h 40 min / Pause: No

01 Jun 2024 19:00

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30 lei (reducere pentru elevi, studenți și pensionari)


I told myself that you can learn how to die, that you can teach others how to die. This seems to me the essential thing we can do, because we are mortals not accepting the fact of dying ‒ motivates playwright Eugène Ionesco the genesis of the play Exit the King. The text is the warmest, most touching and honest confession of the man Eugène Ionesco about the great final encounter. The endless unrests, the permanent agony from his Journals find their dramatic outlet in one of the most profound „poems” about death and its acceptance. An allegoric metaphor of passage, a mirroring confession of one’s own conscience. The whole inner flounder of Bérenger ‒ the revolt, fear, fright, terror, sadness, joy, desire to live, memories, nostalgia, resignation ‒ is nothing but a rite of passage through which he, the man, learns acceptance, learns to die. But Bérenger is not alone. He has his spouse at his side. Queen Marguerite and Queen Marie ‒ two facets of one and the same woman. Marguerite ‒ the initiator, the one facilitating the access to other worlds „the world before birth and the one after” ‒ she is giving birth, she helps him step into the afterworld; Marie ‒ grace, tenderness, frailty ‒ powerless in the face of Death.

Exit the King is a show of an overwhelming emotion, where each of us plays the lead role.


Eugène Ionesco shall not cease asking himself. „I have always been obsessed with death. Since the age of four, ever since I have known I would die, anguish has never left me. It is as if I had understood, all of a sudden, that there was nothing left to do to escape it and there was nothing left to do in life (…). I am also writing to express my fear of dying, my humility of dying” (in „Notes și Contre-Notes”, Gallimard Idées 1966, p.309). And in „Journal en Miettes/ Fragments of a Journal” (Gallimard Idées, 1967, p. 38), he observes: „Especially to death, I address the question „why” „with terror”. Examples are tens, hundreds in his work. His anguish amplifying over the years, E. Ionesco shall write to Pope John-Paul II himself:„ Holy Father, why is there Evil? Why Suffering? Why Death?” John-Paul II, with whom he had exchanged further two letters, shall reply to him: „The Pope does not have an answer for everything”. Admirable reply through the profession of his weakness, not a reply from catechism or pertaining to a party (whichever it might be). Eugène Ionesco faith was either Light, or pretty similar to the one described by Georges Bernanos: „To believe means doubting 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds and believing one single second”. Marie-France Ionesco

“We are happy. There have been some months of work which we have enjoyed until the last sip. Mr. Ionesco’s King has enabled one of the most beautiful encounters for us. With people we fell in love with, with people we were already in love with and which we shall cherish the way they offered themselves to us, with smiles, fears, joyful, emotional, authentic. The queen leading us, another one trembling, the overwhelmed physician, the powerless guard, the frail maid and a dying king. We learn from them the art of dying. It is a story with kings and queens, with clouds and trees growing out of floors, great inventors, fears, family, but especially with and about love”. Andrei and Andreea Grosu

Translated by Simona Nichiteanu  


Photo Florin Ghioca 

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Ion Caramitru Hall 19:00 Buy tickets
Bérenger the First, the King: Victor Rebengiuc Queen Marguerite, Bérenger’s first wife: Mariana Mihuț
Queen Marie, Bérenger’s second wife: Ana Ciontea The Doctor, who is also the King’s surgeon, executioner, bacteriologist, and astrologer: Șerban Pavlu
Juliette, maid and nurse: Florentina Ţilea The Guard: Richard Bovnoczki

„Exit the King, directed by Andrei and Andreea Grosu is the great show which the Grand Hall of the National Theatre has been expecting for a long time. The waiting was worthwhile. A show filling the stage as big as it is not with scenery, nor with spectacular interventions, but with authentic presences. With actors who are a show per se. With a simply told truth and with a topic of personal meditation, more valuable than any entertainment of two-three hours. It is, perhaps, the show rendering us better, which shall reconcile each of us with himself/herself. It is a show which can change the world”.

Alina Epîngeac, Yorick - „Exit the King”. Long Live Theatre!  

"Exit the King from the National Theatre of Bucharest has an exceptional cast. Led by Victor Rebengiuc, in great shape, creating a Bérenger, at the same time strong and vulnerable".

Mircea Morariu, Contributors – The Failed Desire for Non-Death  

“Exit the King from the National Theatre of Bucharest transforms the spectators into witnesses of a show of cerebral tension, cunning lucidness at the level of ideas, with a pace and a stage composition thoroughly guided and performances of a great artistic stature”.

Mădălina Dumitrache, Webcultura – The Game of Life and Death between Infinite and Ephemerous – Exit the King  

“The accomplished theatre - art, in general – has the ability to show us how to face the human condition, to look at each other closely and make peace with our entire frailty as humans. And what else is more suitable for this than seeing under your very eyes that even a king would do anything to cling to life one more moment?”

Ana Maria Onisei       

"Go to see Exit the King at NTB. Go to see the physician-astrologist, go to see the stupendous Victor Rebengiuc and Mariana Mihuț. Go to see a show which, unwillingly, shall stick to your mind for a long time. Without any exaggeration, until death do us apart …"

Emil Călinescu, Blog – Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco – National Theatre of Bucharest 

„Exit the King, enacted by directors Andrei and Andreea Grosu at NTB after the text of Eugène Ionesco, elevate the current season with a show of majestic vitality. It is an enactment highlighting the great performing art and the profound understanding of a milestone text. It equally ensures the artistic immortality of an essential and unique actor, Victor Rebengiuc.

Horia Ghibuţiu, Blog – The Art of Immortality of Victor Rebengiuc in „Exit the King”  

“Death is the playground from where your mother is taking you away when you least expect it. It drives you mad! And the NTB enactment is worthwhile seeing, hits you on the head with Death.

HotnewsHow Man Dies in “Exit the King” by Eugène Ionesco, at NTB. The Review of the Show with Victor Rebengiuc & Mariana Mihuț  

“Exit the King remains an exemplary show, where in the end the depth of Eugène Ionesco’s play “clears up”. The encounter of some generations of actors and young directors Andrei and Andreea Grosu results in this rewarding show proving that “real theatre”, without derisive directorial effects, successfully continues its cultural path”.

Ileana Lucaciu, Blog – Exit the King, a Memorable Show  

"The couple Victor Rebengiuc – Mariana Mihuț, as usual, a feast. On a simple and precise note, without cheap hysterias or useless laments, deliberately mellow in places, the two undo the text step by step, in a lesson of acting and life at the same time. It teaches us how to die. How you fall ill with death. How you run away from this disease up to the point where there is no escape."

Luciana Antofi, Blog – Each is for Oneself the First to Die: Exit the King at NTB. Tame and Precise.  

“We are faced with a show like a Rubik cube, whose facets, matched precisely by the six characters, are undone and recomposed by a clever directorial gaze, careful to the detail which unveils the essence and recreates the perspective, in only one hour and fourty minutes, with a masterful hand (or a magician’s!), as in a painting by Piero della Francesca.

Andreea Nanu, Revista 22 – Exit the King (Himself). The Rubik Cube of Life and Death on the NTB Stage 

“Exit the King inspires life through the very act of debating its opposite and manages, through emotion, the simplicity of the enactment, the reduction to the ephemeral essence of humanity (...) and through honesty, to make one feel more alive after an encounter with death.”

Andrei Vornicu, Agenda LiterNet – Exit the King, enter the spectator NTF 2018  


Presented as part of the "Toma Caragiu" International Theatre Festival on November 15, 2022.

Presented within the ”Stories” International Theatre Festival of Alba Iulia –13thedition, May 2018

2 representations held within the International Theatre Festival of Sibiu – 25th edition, June 2018


Victor Rebengiuc Best Actor in a Leading Part, UNITER Awards Gala, 2018

Mariana Mihut - Best Actress in a Leading Part, UNITER Awards Gala 2018


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

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