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National Theatre Podcasts series

01 December 2022
Arch over time: from "The Great Theatre" at the "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre - 170 years of theatre history 30 December 2022
At the end of 2022, the "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre in Bucharest, originally known as the "The Great Theatre", marks 170 years since its foundation and - a significant coincidence! - also 170 years since the birth of its spiritual patron, the great playwright Ion Luca Caragiale. At the same time, the country's first stage is celebrating its 50th season in its current location in University Square, in a building that was reborn in new clothes between 2011 and 2015, marking a new era in its existence, that of "a new theatre for a new audience"... On December 31, 1852, the lights were turned on for the first time in the Great Theatre (which became the National Theatre in 1876, on the eve of the War of Independence, when Alexandru Odobescu put on the front of the building, with letters cast in bronze, "the name that will endure alongside the Academy and the University as long as the Romanian people will endure". The newspaper "Vestitorul Românesc" of 3 of January, 1853 recorded the inaugural event as follows: "... at 8 o'clock in the evening, the solemn opening of the new theatre followed. Two days before, people had been running to the theatre's cash desk, hurrying to get tickets for that evening. The inauguration was made by the performance of Zoe or the Borrowed Lover (Scribe's vaudeville - n.n.) by the Romanian actors and several arias and a trio from different operas performed by the most prominent artists of the Italian company under the direction of Mr. Papa Nicola. (...) From 7 o'clock on, the hall was full of people. The elegant and rich outfits of the ladies of the loges reflected their splendor in the ocean of lights of the hall, presenting to the eyes a magical and enchanting sight." This anniversary year, 2022, during which the "I.L. Caragiale"  National Theatre has had a record number of premieres (14), 17 new exhibitions have been opened within the NTB - Paratheatral - Visual Arts program, the 8th edition of the 9G Program has been launched, the TNB's first own Podcast has been broadcasted (on December 1st), 3 workshops have been held under the aegis of the "Ion Sava" Centre for Theatre Creation and Research and the list of activities does not stop here - ends with the last performances on December 30th, when all the halls and stages will be featuring a performance: Francis Veber's The Dinner game at the Ion Caramitru Hall, Mircea Ștefănescu's Little Hell at the Studio Hall, Aaron Posner's Stupid Fucking Bird at the Pictura Hall, Sam Sheppard's Fool for Love at the Atelier Hall. Starting on December 30, 2022, spectators will be able to see, in the foyer of the Ion Caramitru Hall, a micro-exhibition created by the NTB Museum - "From the Grand Theatre to the National Theatre - 170 years of history" - evoking moments from the history of the institution through old posters and rare exhibits from the Museum's patrimony. Until the end of January 2023, some objects from the old building of the Great Theatre, saved from the ruins left after the German bombing of Bucharest on August 24, 1944, when the theatre was destroyed, will be exhibited. The exhibition opens on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 11.00, when the first free guided tour of the day is scheduled. Because, also on these last days of the year, the public interested in visiting the NTB building will be offered, as an anniversary gift, free guided tours: starting at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm on Friday, December 30, 2022 and from 11 am and 1 pm on December 31, 2022. The new halls, workshops and backstage of the National Theatre will be open to the public. As usual, the meeting place will be in the foyer of the Ion Caramitru Hall, in front of the ticket agency. We recommend a prior phone reservation by calling 021 314.71.71 - TNB Ticket Agency or 0744 633 188 (Mr Ionuț Corpaci). On the tower of the main stage, on the evening of December 30, 2022, a succession of images evoking this "arch over time" will be screened to symbolically mark the 170 years of existence of the National Theatre. We wish our viewers to enjoy the magic of Christmas to the fullest, and may the New Year 2023 bring them the fulfilment of their hopes and make their dreams come true!   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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Zorro premiere 11 December 2022
“Zorro, a Hermit on the Sidewalk”, for the first time at TNB, with Ioan Andrei Ionescu The "I.L.Caragiale" National Theatre announces the premiere of a new show as part of the "Open Doors for All" program, Zorro by Margaret Mazzantini, a text translated and presented in National Premiere. A one-man show by actor Ioan Andrei Ionescu, directed by Toma Dănilă, the new production at Pictura Hall will premiere on December 11, 2022, at 8 pm. The audience is invited to the preview of the show on December 4th to discover, in the setting signed by Mara Nicola, one of the most moving contemporary stories about the unpredictable, multi-faceted way in which fate can play tricks on us and life can change without warning. How a good man can become both victim and executioner at the same time, when everything in his life goes haywire and he can no longer rely on anything that used to be ordinary, safe... Come and discover a moving dramatic monologue that will remind you how fragile and exposed to chance we are. "I invite you to do an exercise of imagination together," proposes Toma Danila, the director of the play. Let's walk together into the story of Zorro, the faceless man we can meet on the street corner or at the traffic light in a busy intersection, the faceless man who blends into the landscape, the man we avoid because he could spoil our normality, he could hijack our daily routine. I invite you to find out his story, and perhaps, afterwards, we will take a closer look at those we used to call "street people" or "homeless". Maybe we'll just call them "People". An actor with multiple interpretative skills, Ioan Andrei Ionescu continues to surprise his audience by tackling a variety of characters and by dissecting, in depth, the particularities that make each character he plays a special human type. From a rich artistic record, we recall, selectively, the part in "Anonymous Venetian" - a show that he has successfully performed for almost a decade with his partner, Ilinca Goia, the role of Lopahin in "The Cherry Orchard" or his recent and remarkable creation in "Machinal. The Musical", Mr. Zero, an acting performance of great virtuosity! Of the more than 20 different characters he has played over the years on the NTB stages alone, Ioan Andrei Ionescu considers Zorro to be his most demanding and moving part. The author of this touching story, Margaret Mazzantini is a famous Italian writer and actress who has given up the stage in favour of writing. For her novel "Don't Move" (2002) she received the Strega Prize and the Grinzane Cavour Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary awards. Translated into 35 languages, the book immediately became an international bestseller, selling more than two million copies, and was screened by Sergio Castellitto, starring Penelope Cruz. She wrote the stage monologue "Zorro, a hermit on the sidewalk" in 2004 for her husband, actor and director Sergio Castellitto. "Zorro helped me to uncover a fear we all have. Because within each of us, unacknowledged, masked, there is this extreme possibility: the sudden loss of the threads, the ballast that holds us anchored to the ordinary world. How many of us, on a night when our souls were gulping, sheltering under a portico, with the shutters up, have not felt towards that body, towards that pile of rags under which a body hides, the possibility of being ourselves in its place? Homeless people are wanderers who have escaped from our homes, who have the smell of our closets, the smell of what they don't have, but also of what we lack." The performance given by the actor of the National Theatre in Bucharest, Ioan Andrei Ionescu, will convince you that the bet with life is worth winning every day, with sincerity and empathy towards those around us. You are invited to the theatre, Zorro is here, and everywhere, there is more than you would expect...  “Zorro, a Hermit on the Sidewalk” by Margaret Mazzantini, with Ioan Andrei Ionescu, on December 4 and 11, 2022, at the Pictura Hall!   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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The Welkin, a moving story about empathy, murder and motherhood 10 December 2022
The "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre in Bucharest announces the premiere of The Welkin, by Lucy Kirkwood, which will take place on December 10, 2022, at 7.30 pm, at the Atelier Hall. The play directed by Gelu Colceag tells a suspenseful story about a conviction in 18th century Britain, which the author turns into a relevant and acute commentary on today's society, on prejudice, inequality, discrimination and the struggle for power. Although a firm admirer of Sidney Lumet's film, Lucy Kirkwood rejects out of hand any resemblance to the famous 12 Angry Men, even though her play also deals with the guilt of one person around whom 12 others gather - all women, called matrons at the time (respectable, married women, mothers and skilled midwives). In an era when women were defined only by their role as mothers or wives, when Sally Poppy is sentenced to be hanged, a "jury of matrons" is convened in a small British town. The guilty verdict has been pronounced, but it is up to the matrons whether her sentence will be death or deportation - if the accused is found to be pregnant. This was the only instance in which women had the right to decide. The writer's interest is to penetrate the intimate life of each of them, with unexpected details and womanhood secrets, desires, frustrations and ambitions. The Welkin portrays these mysteries with psychological finesse, seeing "how complicated it is to feel empathy for the other and how the patriarchal system tries to suppress empathy. Because it's easier to label and put people into categories, and that way difficult decisions can be made more easily," Kirkwood stated for The Play Podcast in 2021. "The Welkin" is a play of magnificent breadth, depth and complexity" (Financial Times). And perhaps even more than that, "this is the unwritten story of the maternal experience, delivered with a refreshing candor, as of sisters cheering each other on, and that is extraordinary (Telegraph), the play "constantly pushes the boundaries, cheekily raising its gaze towards the sky" (exeuntmagazine.com). "Above all, this is about the stories. Stories that gradually reveal themselves to us, with some personal revelations woven into the texture of these women's histories, with a profound contemporary relevance. This play is, beyond the significance of the subject matter, often funny, and towards the end, extremely moving" (whatsonstage.com). "The Welkin" is a show that has the energy of a thriller, the tension of a courtroom drama, the irreverent humor of a smart black comedy, and the profound power of vulnerability. The show's 16 characters, 13 of whom are played by actresses (!), perform on the set by Ștefan Caragiu and wearing costumes by Liliana Cenean. Cast: Aylin Cadîr / Alexandra Sălceanu, Tania Popa, Ilinca Goia, Mirela Oprișor, Erika Băieşu, Medeea Marinescu, Raluca Petra / Magda Catone, Ana Ciontea, Rodica Ionescu, Carmen Ungureanu, Brânduşa Mircea, Victoria Dicu, Lamia Beligan, Marius Rizea, Mihai Calotă, Daniel Hara / Mihai Munteniţă, Marcela Mateescu. The sound design by Călin Grigoriu, the scenic dance by Roxana Colceag and the neat light design by Bogdan Golumbeanu and Laurențiu Iordache contribute to the production. The next performance will take place on December 29, 2022 at 7.30 pm. Tickets are available at the NTB Box Office and online on www.tnb.ro.   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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