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Gertrude

by Radu F. Alexandru

Gertrude

by Radu F. Alexandru

Director:
Silviu Purcărete
Sets:
Dragoş Buhagiar
Original Music:
Vasile Șirli
Choreography:
Florin Fieroiu
Lighting design:
Dragoş Buhagiar
Lighting design assistant:
Daniel Mateescu, Ștefan Dumitra
Sound:
Liviu Stoica, Bogdan Golumbeanu
Delgated producer:
Mădălina Ciupitu
Technical Director:
Viorel Florea, Silviu Negulete
Blower:
Petronela Purima

Premiere: 29.10.2023

Duration: 1 h 45 min / Pause: No

Dates
20 Apr 2024 19:00
Tickets

80 lei

60 lei

30 lei (cu reducere pentru elevi, studenți și pensionari)

The rewriting of the story of the enigmatic Danish prince, Hamlet, from the perspective of the playwright Radu F. Alexandru, shatters many of the uncertainties of the Great Will's play, giving the famous characters unsuspected meanings and valences. In Gertrude, the Queen-Mother, the bearer of the ultimate blame, becomes the diabolical mind behind a scenario about adultery, lies, murder and power. Who is the King's murderer? Does s/he deserve punishment or forgiveness? Did the father kill the father? - are questions that seek answers in an action where suspicious motives intertwine with the suspenseful moments of a thriller. The author does not shy away from Shakespearean questioning, showing us the young Hamlet - with all his anguish - tirelessly searching for the truth.

Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 

 

Photo credit Florin Ghioca

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Saturday
20
04
2024
The Studio Hall 19:00 Sold Out
Gertrude: Claudiu Bleonţ Claudius: Mircea Rusu
Hamlet: Marius Manole Horatio: Alexandru Potocean
The Spirit: Marius Bodochi Polonius: Paul Chiribuță (actor Teatrul „Toma Caragiu”, Ploiești)
Ofelia: Lari Giorgescu

"Silviu Purcarete's Gertrude is an accomplished visual-cinematographic poem. With great acting roles. A rapid and intense dissection, a film of essential frames, those that name the insidiousness of sin and the darkness of Power. A lesson in the anatomy of theatre. Of life. A Japanese saga around guilt. A story of exceptional artistry about the absolute purity of theatre as mystery and performance."

Marina Constantinescu, România literară no 50/2023 - Chains of power   

"Seek soon Yorick's robes and let Prince Hamlet go mad a little... Just a little... A game!...

It's not a casual game. It's precision. And it's essence. Essence of wholeness. Essence of detail. Visual essence. Essence of characters. Essence of dramatic ideas. An excellent game of demystification in theatrical shots that surgically cuts from the Romanian playwright's text all that is necessary for a successful twisting of the Shakespearean play for a great theatrical ludic. A delicious rendering in our affective memory of the great Will's philosophical themes and myths, characters, actions and even their dreams and premonitions, confronted with a crisis of identity crisis. Which cleverly substitutes itself with a brand new one, 99% feeling, 1% reason. Or the other way around".

Luciana Antofi, Blog - The chronicle of our times and the viewing apparatus of Silviu Purcarete: Gertrude. The liberation from Hamlet, a requiem for a famous question  

"Rarely have I seen a play by a living Romanian playwright become a happening performance, both because of the text and especially because of the director and his team.

The show needs to be seen more than once to be able to remember all the subtleties Silviu Purcarete has dedicated himself to. To which we must necessarily add Vasile Sirli, the creator of a music and sounds that are sometimes unsettling, and which have become, as they say, a character more than a sound curtain. Finally, Dragos Buhagiar's scenography also participates in the construction of this theatrical event".

Nicolae Prelipceanu, Viaţa Românească - Silviu Purcărete at NTB  

"In Purcarete's performances, Sirli's music is, I know from the director, "a demon, which articulates everything. And somehow dominates. I worked a lot with Mr. Vasile Sirli, who is an exceptional composer, but with whom I can have a theatrical dialogue that understands the function of music for the stage, as a dramatic element". Majestic, mournful, sardonic, anticipatory, Hitchcockian, haunting, Sirli's imagined soundtrack established him as the greatest Romanian composer of theatre music, I know of no other more outstanding in his lifetime. (...)

"Gertrude" is the triumphant return of Silviu Purcarete's directorial vision on the country's first artistic stage, but also the fact that the National Theatre from Bucharest returns using the main gate in the market of the theatre of ideas.

Gertrude" – the staging at the National Theatre in Bucharest of the world-renowned director Silviu Purcarete's production based on the text of the greatest contemporary Romanian playwright of the theatre of ideas, Radu F. Alexandru - is the queen of the 2023-2024 season in Romania."

Horia Ghibuțiu, Journalist's Blog - Scenes from a re-crowning at NTB, in the play "Gertrude" by Silviu Purcarete  

"The approach is shocking, the effect is of an atomic bomb blasting the epic as in Hiroshima. The director opts for a sequencing of the story on layered images that are served to the audience in multiple dimensions. This is where the extremely ingenious scenography of Dragos Buhagiar, a leader in Romanian scenography nowadays, comes to the rescue, creating a set like never before, but it must be seen and not told!

Mr. Claudiu Bleont, as Queen Gertrude, performs a real evil tour de force in different poses of great expressiveness and dramatic tension, practically illuminating the whole play with his impeccable attire made of black clothes and jewelry necklace and being in a continuous agitation, the actor having a great capacity of stage transfiguration. The exceptional mobility of the performer undoubtedly creates a sense of absolute repulsion, which extends from one man to a society. The fabulous actor, blessed with a native ability and elasticity in all his performances, scores another great success in the role of the unlikable Queen Gertrude, achieving a remarkable performance of female metamorphosis in a cavalcade of powerful scenes whose source of explosion dominates the stage from one end to the other, dominates the court, dominates the men, exudes negative energy continuously.

The bathtub, the autopsy table and a dining room table where the dead man's funeral takes place are the most important stage elements in the crucial moments of the play and of the staging, where soup is served for lunch, the queen being the waitress herself, an anthological scene, and the autopsy scene even monumental."

Dinu Grigorescu, Rinocerul Magazine - Artistic performance and respect for the original drama at NTB: Gertrude by Radu F. Alexandru   

"The impurity of Gertrude seems to me to be one of the forms in which she embodies a very subtle, and generous, and idealistic, entre-deux. Generator of new, novel,
surprising and offering dramatic situations. They acquire under Radu F. Alexandru both consistency and interest, becoming a modern way of reinterpreting
Shakespeare's play. This entre-deux mainly defines four of the six characters of the play. (...)
In 2023 Gertrude finally had its absolute premiere. And not anywhere, but on the stage of the Studio Hall of the National Theatre in Bucharest. And not just anyhow, but in a performance directed by Silviu Purcarete, with Dragoș Buhagiar's scenography and the superb music written by Vasile Sirli. And not with just anyone, but with an amazing cast.
Claudiu Bleont, Mircea Rusu, Marius Manole, Alexandru Potocean, Marius Bodochi, Paul Chiributa and Lari Giorgescu. An all-male cast, like in Shakespeare's time. Is this a proposal, a clever play, an arch over time between the great Will's Hamlet and the hypertext, as Genette would have said, of Radu F. Alexander? Possibly. But I'm sure the performance Gertrude is very close to perfection. It reminded me of Phaedra, the anthologized performance directed by the same Purcarete at the National Theatre from Craiova".

Mircea Morariu, Contributors / HotNews - Who and how is, in fact, Gertrude?  

"The theatre Purcarete believes in is not a mundane exercise, nor a pleasure of forms, it is born from the pulse of intensity of a group of actors who breathe together and become a living organism that lets itself be shaped by the unlimited imagination of the stage director. Silviu Purcarete challenges and raises questions for an audience to whom he leaves the choice. Starting from the fact that the Romanian playwright has plunged into the text of the great Will and proposed changes in order to (re)understand the roles, the experienced director modulates the play according to his own laws. With the drama "Gertrude" we are dealing with a new interpretation, a real intellectual recital, based on a new narrative logic, quite far from the Shakespearean tragedy.

Mădălina Dumitrache, Bel Esprit - The Queen's New Clothes - "Gertrude"  

"It is a very good play, which I believe will be favorably received by most theatre people and which reconfirms Purcarete's genius and imposes Radu F. Alexandru.

(...) Claudiu Bleont plays a wonderful role in a transvestite without fuss, reminding us what an extraordinary actor he is when he works with a director who matches his talent. So does Mircea Rusu in the nuanced and powerful role of Claudius, Paul Chiributa, a Polonius, far from the template, but full of artistic truth, and the Spirit, played by Marius Bodochi, with a scene that sticks in our minds, the exhumation and autopsy, in which he narrates the murder, very well directed.

And Lari Giorgescu makes a convincing, slightly depersonalized, ingenuous Ophelia, in the same sober transvestite. Finally, Marius Manole, as the famous Hamlet, gives a role full of fragility and sensitivity that fits him like a glove. Almost unrecognizable is Alexandru Potocean as a Horatio suffering from a certain deformity, the voice of friendship and youth that will be shocked by all the conspiracies from the palace".

Alexandra Ares, Rinocerul Magazine - Premiere at FNT 33: Gertrude by Radu F. Alexandru, directed by Silviu Purcarete  

"(...) from the first moment I saw that cinematic effect of tightening, lengthening, widening of the frames, structured with mathematical precision by the movement of the curtains, I knew it was worth going to the premiere. As always, there is the same perfect osmosis between director Silviu Purcarete and set designer Dragos Buhagiar that is verging on genius. The minimalism of the image, the precisely cut frames, through light and dark, the latent irony that runs through the whole show reminds me strikingly of one of my favourite films, Lars von Trier's Dogville. Even the ending is similar, though it's the other way around. Vasile Sirli's music is also osmotic. The sounds don't wail all over the place, as in many other performances, but fall out contrapuntally, briefly and concisely, announcing, underlining, stating a conclusion. It's wonderful the way Silviu Purcarete has chosen his cast."

Gabriela Hurezean, Muze si arme - Premiere at the "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre: Silviu Purcarete, reinventing Hamlet  

"Bleonț performs a great part on the contours of female and human abjection in general, introducing us through her every line, through her tone, gestures, mimicry, gestures and grimaces, through the guttural - insinuating tone of her voice, into the complex monstrosity of the character.

Five actors out of seven in the cast performed at an exceptional level in this production, and it is Purcarete's merit to have given them roles to match. It was an acting Dream Team, a Five Men.

The music and the chromatics of the performance were perfectly adapted both to the rewriting of Shakespeare's play and to the atmosphere that Purcarete created with his particular attention to detail and to their figurative-symbolic correspondence. The director has this unusual ability to capture the naked, concise, blunt fact, and at the same time its symbolic relief; a gesture that is natural, habitual, and at the same time full of meaning; a trivial, common, neutral juxtaposition, and at the same time charged with a perceptible tension.

(...)The chromatics of the performance, recalling the canvases of the Flemish masters, creates the same feeling of a spectral, supernatural and subhuman piece, where anything can happen. In fact, the visual and symbolic reference to Rembrandt's famous painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp was almost explicit."

Daniel Cristea-Enache, LiterNet.ro - Five Men Show - Gertrude  

"Gertrude, directed by Silviu Purcarete, is a triumph of contemporary art theatre.

Memorable scenes and shots, such as the dissection of the corpse (a mouse trap otherwise) in search of the crime's motive or the opening of the stage pit to bring the lying dead king into the light in all his smallness, the bathtub from which Claudiu emerges into the boudoir where Gertrude grotesquely indulges herself, the tango of tact between Hamlet and Horatio are artistic arguments that the performance makes in favor of a demonstration of the power that corrupts and disseminates lies to the deepest layers of society. A warning that is always needed."

Doina Papp, Revista 22 - FNT 33 Repere (III) - Gertrude, the manipulative Queen  

"Gertrude is not a rewrite of Hamlet, nor a continuation of Shakespeare's story. Gertrude is a text in its own right, whose staging can be watched by those who have never seen a performance of the great Will's text. (...) The kind of text that requires neither parental consent nor age selection. The conflict is exposed without much embellishment, and Silviu Purcarete has used this simplicity in a very elegant way.

I am left with the pleasure of watching how the puzzle pieces fit themselves into the historical framework provided by Radu F. Alexandru's text. The dissection of the corpse turns into a lesson on societal anatomy (the concept doesn't exist, but should be invented). What Silviu Purcarete has done in Gertrude is akin to walking with a mirror on the side of the road, only because some people's fates cannot be presented to us otherwise. The game of (light) windows imagined by Dragos Buhagiar and Silviu Purcarete is the game of history. Some of us know only a small part of what is hidden behind the curtain, others never want to go to the cause. I like to think of Purcarete as the puppeteer who never messes up the puppets' strings, and in Gertrude you can see that very clearly."

Nona Rapotan, BookHub - The dissection of the cadaver - the anatomy of a society adrift  

"Silviu Purcarete's huge performance with the play by Radu F. Alexandru certifies a solidly consolidated directorial poetics, amazing in all, in which the dramatic material and the abundance of cultural references and details form a common body.

Silviu Purcarete imagines and constructs cinematically, using an aesthetic of the fragmentary, a disturbing performance that goes beyond the first level of the exposition of facts and pushes narrative fable into allegory.

A magnificent all-male cast of Claudiu Bleont (Gertrude), Mircea Rusu (Claudius), Paul Chiributa (Polonius), Marius Bodochi (The Spirit of the Father), Marius Manole (Hamlet), Alexandru Potocean (Horatio) and Lari Georgescu (Ophelia), with cadaverous faces, almost deformed, despairing, decomposing, on which, because of sweat, the white greyness spreads in a (more obscure) light, perform, in a perfect symbiosis, a "sonata of ghosts" at the border between reality and dream, between day and night".

Dana Pocea, Contemporanul - Six characters leaving Shakespeare  

 

Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 

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