Current Repertory


by Thomas Bernhard


by Thomas Bernhard

Translation: Alexandru Dabija
Alexandru Dabija
Gabi Albu
Assistant Director:
Mădălina Ciupitu
Lighting design:
Bogdan Golumbeanu, Ion Vlașcu
Technical Director:
Laurențiu Andronescu, Tudor Dobrescu

Premiere: 25.10.2022

Duration: 2 h 10 min / Pause: 15

23 Apr 2024 19:00
25 Apr 2024 19:00
15 May 2024 19:00
29 May 2024 19:00

50 lei

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


Histrionics, a play by one of the most important contemporary playwrights, the Austrian Thomas Bernhard, directed by Alexandru Dabija and starring Marcel Iureș in the title role, is a paradoxical hymn devoted to the theatrical art, but also a caustic look at our petty and tragicomic lives.

Playing the part of Bruscon, Marcel Iureș gives life, in a caustic and absurd quasi-monologue, to a splendid buffoon in search of the absolute in art. A megalomaniac, misanthropic, hypochondriac, nihilistic and intemperate actor, author and director, Bruscon bursts into tirades against the mediocrity of his country, rants about everything from politics, society, theatre - which Bruscon claims to loathe -, rages against the conditions he is offered because nothing and no one lives up to his artistic ambitions, and especially his family, with whom he behaves tyrannically.

The characters who support him (played by Alexandru Bindea, Ana Ciontea, Alexandra Sălceanu, Lucian Iftime, Afrodita Androne and Victoria Dicu) are grotesque, almost caricatural, often ridiculous, endowed with the ability to arouse feelings of rejection and hilarity in the audience, but behind the caricature hides the pessimism of the writer Thomas Bernhard, convinced that this humanity has no chance of salvation.

Histrionics - an extraordinary text, full of rage, despair, aggressiveness, disillusionment, but also black humor, which Alexandru Dabija himself staged at the Act Theatre in 2001, also with Marcel Iureș in the main role, is now revived at the National Theatre in Bucharest, with Marcel Iureș, this time at the age of this ridiculous and tragic character in equal measure.

Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 


Photo Florin Ghioca

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Bruscon: Marcel Iureș Innkeeper: Alexandru Bindea
Mrs Bruscon: Ana Ciontea Sara: Alexandra Sălceanu
Feruccio: Lucian Iftime
Conrad Mericoffer
Innkeeper`s wife: Afrodita Androne
Erna: Rodica Ionescu
Victoria Dicu

Histrionics by Thomas Bernhard, directed by Alexandru Dabija at the "I.L. Cargiale" National Theatre from Bucharest is a performance in which the courage of vulnerability renders performance. Retaking an undeniable success can be done with vanity, with recklessness or with dignity and verticality. This is not a rerun of the show of those days, it is not a nostalgic invitation to comparative analysis. (...) The premiere in the Studio Hall of NTB stands securely on its own two feet, without any need for the marketing crutches of the triumph that was to be. (...) Marcel Iureș does not try for a second to show himself, does not make a fool of himself and does not give theatre lessons. His generosity towards the character is 100%. In the very loyal way in which he plays Bruscon, you can sense his love and gratitude. (...) Bruscon is no longer the star of Vienna; his audience no longer sits in the lodges he says he loathes and he himself no longer plays in the state theatres he disowns. The kindness, the politeness, the authoritative goodwill he uses sparingly to straighten through words into people's numbed wills conquer by playing a perfectly harmonious double game: telling atrocities and dressing considerations with a touching charisma. You become fond of this little stage monster precisely because behind the inherent nastiness he leaves open the window to a soul enslaved by theatre."

Alina Epîngeac, - Marcel Iureș remains "Histrionics"   

"Bruscon - a fascinating combination of Don Quixote and the Good Soldier Švejk, ready to take on an entire world and annihilate it with his cynical to the point of devastation speech; or - if need be, for a bowl of noodle soup - to flatter it, politely and with dignity. (...) The "promotion" of Histrionics to the heights of the stage of the National Theatre remains, indisputably, an event worthy of all admiration."

Bogdan Burileanu, Liternet - The Judgement Maker - The Theatre Maker  

"The news of this season: Marcel Iureș, the most important actor in the history of independent theatre in our country, is playing at the National Theatre in Bucharest, in the title role of "Histrionics", a play by Austrian playwright Thomas Bernhard, directed by Alexandru Dabija (...) Iureș not only plays at the National Theatre, but he plays too well. (...) Iureș and Dabija bring to the biggest state theatre a great show of underground theatre in Romania, and the black pudding made every Tuesday in the godforsaken Utzbach has retained an astonishing flavour."

Horia Ghibuțiu - - Marcel Iureș is the "Histrionics"!  

"Iureș's age, talent and experience are the data that bring him closer to Bruscon. The rest is acting (high class!). The other characters, however, are also important and it's clear that Dabija has worked with them. Memorable is Alexandru Bindea (The Innkeeper), with his immobile face and dry lines that seem to completely ignore Iureș' intellectual gesticulation. Bindea is seconded by Afrodita Androne (his wife), with a stupid smile permanently glued to her face, and Victoria Dicu (Erna), the perfectly imbecile maid, with mechanical movements and expressions: the puzzled misunderstanding prevails, sometimes changed into satisfaction, for example when Bruscon is ecstatic in front of the noodle soup. The appearances of Ana Ciontea (Bruscon's wife), with her coughing vocalizations, are very amusing and, by contrast, further relieve the tension that Iureș is building up. As Feruccio, the actor's son, Lucian Iftime constructs a silly young man, visibly marked by his father's personality, obviously lacking in talent but kind-hearted and good-natured (pretty much everything the cynical version of the father seems to despise). Alexandra Sălceanu, as Sara, Bruscon's daughter, is a very elaborate composition. Without many lines, but with a commanding stage presence, the actress is very expressive, playing a lot with her eyes and facial and body expressions. Her character is an intelligent, playful, ironic girl, not at all inhibited by her ogre of a father. A character who holds herself back. I'd also say that while each actor is naturally a separate individuality, there is a common note to the performances, the show is unified in this respect too. (...) It's a good and, I would say, much needed performance in today's context, a sample of classical theatre and, if I may be so bold, an example of resistance through and in true culture."

Liviu Ornea, Liternet - Thomas Bernhard, the theatre maker - Histrionics  

"Marcel Iureș's Bruscon, an actor/director/playwright/artist emeritus of whom only the memory of the glow of a decoration on the lapel of his shabby creator's coat remains today, does just that. To impose his naturalness, the key to Alexandru Dabija's performance, so much sought after and so precisely identified and developed in the long stage experience of a mature, profound, assertive Marcel Iureș, in keeping with the director's approach. (...) Very important in the economy of the performance that does not allow itself to be monopolized exclusively by Marcel Iureș, the actors in the cast, although used to describe, underline or augment, as the case may be, the character and personality traits of Bruscon's sophisticated portrait, have had Alexandru Dabija's full attention to find generous scores in the unfolding of the action, offering together dynamism, color and, above all, a lot of humor to the performance, from one end to the other."

Luciana Antofi, Blog - Captive in a show that is no longer performed: Marcel Iureș, the National Theatre's "Histrionics"  

"For the playwright's savory language and amused wickedness, the sober staging - signed by Alexandru Dabija - and Marcel Iureș's unparalleled performance, Histrionics becomes a landmark in the offer of this season's performances. (...) We laugh a lot. We laugh because Thomas Bernhard wants us to. Alexandru Dabija's translation (from English) preserves both the violence, the irony, and the hearty laughter - sparked by Thomas Bernhard's artistry and the magnificent incarnation of Marcel Iureș, the king of theatre - king without fun, starting again tomorrow. Alexandru Dabija signs a staging on a clear line, focused on the text and on the subtle play of Marcel Iureș, a theatre maker to the fingertips."

Mădălina Dumitrache, Bel-esprit - The art of extinction – "Histrionics"  


Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu

The show was presented on tour in Hungary (May 2023), Constanta, Iasi, Brasov and Craiova.

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