National Theatre Podcasts series

01 December 2022
"Tango", the first performance staged by Gábor Tompa at NTB 09 December 2023
Sławomir Mroźec's Tango is the latest production of the National Theatre in Bucharest and will premiere on December 9, 2023 at Sala Pictura, being the first collaboration of the famous director Gábor Tompa with NTB. Although written almost six decades ago, Slawomir Mrozek's "Tango" is as relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1964. Because "Tango", an allegory with strong political overtones, cloaked in the garb of absurd comedy and which brought the author worldwide fame, reflects the disorientation of a generation confronted with the void left by the collapse of old values and the establishment of a new order imposed by the brutal masses. "Tango" is a performance about freedom and power in any political system, following the story of a young rebel, whom critics often likened to Hamlet. In his first collaboration with the National Theatre of Bucharest, Gábor Tompa proposes a brilliantly constructed, inventive, funny and frightening performance, supported by a team of stage designers with an impressive track record and an excellent cast that gives birth to a bizarre and fascinating family, exotic characters from three different generations. "This play is grotesque, ridiculous, sometimes even funny, and bleak at the same time. That is, just like in today's world, where we can no longer separate the comic from the tragic, and it all depends on the perspective from which we look at things," says director Gabor Tompa. The cast of the show consists of Rodica Negrea, George Ivascu, Emilian Oprea, Matei Constantin, Emilia Popescu, Mihai Constantin, Catalina Mihai / Maruca Baiasu, Florin Ghioca. The set was designed by the renowned set designer Andrei Both, head of the scenography department at the University of California in San Diego and author of impressive sets for memorable productions such as "The Portrait of Dorian Gray", "Let's Dress the Naked", "Hamletmachine"). The costumes were made by Angela Balogh Calin, a designer based in the United States, in Pasadena, where she made costumes for over 50 performances at the famous South Coast Repertory Theatre. She has been nominated for and received several awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. Gábor Tompa has been the director of the Hungarian State Theatre in Cluj since 1990 and is one of the most important Romanian directors of the last decades. Between 2007 and 2019 he was Program Director of the Faculty of Directing at the University of California, San Diego, and since 2018 he has been President of the Union of European Theatres. Stage rights: Diogenes Verlag AG Zürich.   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu
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Invitation to the NTB on Romania's National Day 01 December 2023
The "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre in Bucharest celebrates, in 2023, 50 years of activity in the place where it still operates today, at the kilometer zero of the capital. On December 21, 1973, the new building of the National Theatre was inaugurated, with three performance halls: Sala Mare, Sala Mica and Sala Atelier. The initial project, started in 1964 and completed in 1973, was signed by architects Horia Maicu, Romeo Belea and Nicolae Cucu, and the structure was designed by engineer Alexandru Cismigiu. The "I.L.Caragiale" National Theatre in Bucharest wants this anniversary to be another occasion for the public to celebrate during the winter holidays. The campaign "50 years in the heart of Romania" will bring everyone news and images from the history of the National Theatre in Bucharest, throughout the remaining period until the end of the year. December 1st, Romania's National Day, will be the first moment of great celebration of the National Theatre and will be marked, as every year, by a series of cultural events dedicated to the public. The "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre in Bucharest will be open to the public all day long. Our program will include a matinee performance, from 11.00 am, of the show Once upon a time in Romania, directed by Dragos Huluba, "an entertaining, provocative, humor-filled and nostalgic show about who we were in the last 100 years. What we thought, what we dreamed, what love, laughter and pain were like. A string of colorful theatrical and black and white slides depicting images from the lives of people in the world then and now, and perhaps an answer to the questions of the youngest among us." Public access will be free of charge, subject to availability at the Sala Pictura of the NTB. In the evening, starting at 7 pm, at the Studio Hall will play The Door mat by Ion Baiesu, a performance recommended by Mircea Cornisteanu who also signs the direction of the performance seen as "A comedy about us, published 40 years ago, but written as if today. A mirror in which we look at ourselves and laugh ourselves to death, as if we weren't the ones looking at ourselves".  Also on this day, between 12. noon and 6.00 pm, the Museum of the National Theatre of Bucharest will be open to visitors and the public will have free access to the "Innovative exhibition with restored cultural goods from the collection of the NTB Museum", created in the framework of the project of the same name, funded by EEA Grants 2014-2021 under the RO-CULTURE Program. The exhibition includes stage costumes and objects that belonged to great actors from the history of Romanian theatre, restored within the project. The first exhibition organized in the space specially reserved for the National Theatre Museum in its current premises was inaugurated on March 27, 2023, on the occasion of the World Theatre Day. The exhibition is complemented by innovative digital, visual and auditory elements, with a dress with train that belonged to Queen Mary of Romania at its center.  The concept that led to the creation of the exhibition "Queen Mary at the Theatre" aims to highlight important moments and personalities in the history of Romania. The exhibition halls of the National Theatre host the following exhibitions in December: In the Foyer of the Media Hall (wing facing N. Balcescu Boulevard) is exhibited, under the title Young Talents at NTB, a collection of works by the scholarship holders of the Margareta of Romania Royal Foundation, edition 2023. Fifteen young visual artists mark the end of the scholarship year with this large exhibition that will be open to the public throughout December. Recognized four times as the best Art and Culture program in Romania at the Civil Society Gala, the national Young Talents program creates equal opportunities for aspiring artists, giving them the chance to develop their potential, express their talent and fulfill their dream, regardless of their social background. Recently, the famous singer-songwriter and composer Nicu Alifantis celebrated 50 years of activity. A jubilee exhibition entitled Memorabilia - which will present posters, photographs, instruments, costumes and stage objects from all these years of activity that the artist has given to the performing arts - will open in the Rotonda foyer of the Small Hall of the TNB, on the eve of Romania's National Day. The exhibition will remain open for viewing throughout December. The public can also enjoy, on the occasion of Romania's National Day, the famous Guided Tours of the NTB, according to the following schedule: at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm. Participation will be free of charge, based on registration at the theatre's ticket office and online. Guided Tours will take participants backstage, through the sets and costumes, to the actors' dressing rooms. The guide, who will reveal to visitors some of the secrets of the largest theatre in Europe, Ionut Corpaci, will complete the experience with stories from the history of the National Theatre, which celebrates its 173rd anniversary this year, 50 years of which in the very heart of Romania, at the zero kilometer of Bucharest. The festive atmosphere will be completed by a luminous projection of the national flag on the 38.5 meters high tower of the National Theatre stage, which will be visible at various points in the center of the capital.   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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Oana Pellea, director and performer in "Silent Escape", a new premiere at TNB 18 November 2023
Actress Oana Pellea makes her directorial debut in Lena Constante's Silent Escape, and is also the performer in a disturbing performance that will have its official premiere on November 18, 2023, at the Atelier Hall of the National Theatre in Bucharest. A profound story about human resistance to the oppression of the communist regime in Romania, Lena Constante's book is the basis of a performance in which the great actress Oana Pellea (who also wrote the dramatization of the text) follows the life of the protagonist, a strong and independent woman who faces the difficulties and limitations imposed by the political system of the time. In "Silent Escape", the actress captures the character's inner struggle to find a way out of a harsh and rigid reality, highlighting the undeniable power of the human spirit to resist and seek inner freedom, even in the darkest moments. "Through a dramatization you can't 'play out' a human life! I find it indecent. That's why I want the performance "Silent Escape" to be a confession and not a play. My goal is not an acting performance, but a human experience shared with the audience! I desire that the text and the experience of a human phenomenon named Lena Constante reach the audience", says actress Oana Pellea. The actress confesses that for her it is "a duty of honor to share this life lesson with the public: how you can escape from the hell of living by plunging into the heaven within you! I invite you to a confession. The biggest disappointment for me would be: 'you have performed well'. I don't want to 'perform'. I don't want to be an actress in this play. I just want to humbly share with you the experience of this exceptional Spirit. That's all." Lena Constante was born on June 18, 1909. She studied at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, with Dimitrie Gusti as her teacher. It was during this period that she also met her future husband, the ethnomusicologist Harry Brauner. She was a well-known artist for her original tapestry works and for her folkloristic activity. In 1954 she founded the "Tandarica" Theatre with Elena Patrascanu, wife of the Minister of Justice at the time, Lucretiu Patrascanu, which led to her and Harry Brauner's arrest and sentencing to 12 years in prison. She was released in 1962 and in 1968, on retrial, both were found not guilty. Although a member of the Union of Fine Artists, Lena Constante was unable to exhibit her work for political reasons. On November 2, 2005 she departed this world. The performance "Silent Escape" will have its official premiere on November 18, 2023, at 7 p.m., at the Atelier Hall of the "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre Bucharest. The set design is by Vladimir Turturica. On the occasion of this premiere, Humanitas Publishing House will reprint the two volumes, "Silent Escape" and "Impossible Escape", available to the public at the event. The performance is made possible with the support of Banca Transilvania.   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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Silviu Purcarete stages the first ever production of "Gertrude" by Radu F. Alexandru 28 October 2023
Director Silviu Purcarete returns to the "I.L. Caragiale" National Theatre, after 11 years, together with his faithful team of collaborators - Dragos Buhagiar - scenography, Vasile Sirli - music, presenting the first ever production of "Gertrude" by Radu F. Alexandru. Attracted by the original idea of the play that illuminates new meanings of the tragedy of Hamlet, the prestigious director Silviu Purcarete, author of famous productions of Shakespeare's plays, accepts the new challenge and appreciates the text as "an impressive and moving piece of writing", "an extremely cynical exegesis of the myth", as he said in an interview this summer. Adding that he has never staged the great Will's famous play, he explains: "Hamlet is an enigma that I'm not saying I don't know how to solve, but I don't know how to penetrate it, through which door I should enter to find out what's there" (Silviu Purcarete, in the same interview recorded by Horia Ghibutiu for Rock FM). Through an almost cinematic cut and with purely theatrical means, in a minimalist setting, with the air of a psychological thriller, the production hides and reveals the reality, the dream but also the nightmare, the ineffable... From the perspective of playwright Radu F. Alexandru, the rewriting of the story of the enigmatic Danish prince Hamlet dispels many of the uncertainties of Shakespeare'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 of adultery, lies, murder and power. Painful questions lurk behind constantly moving walls... Who is the King's killer? Does he deserve punishment or forgiveness? Did the father kill the father? - are some of the questions that seek answers in an action where suspicious motives and moments of suspense intertwine. The author does not shy away from Shakespearean questioning, showing us the young Hamlet - with all his anguish - relentlessly searching for the truth. Critic Razvan Voncu calls the play "a masterpiece", considering it "one of the most daring lines given to 'Great Will' in universal dramatic literature". "In fact, it is a real battlefield, where there are no victims, because Shakespeare proposes a win-win relationship: any new interpretation can offer, as with the example we have chosen, an alert intellectual recital, based on a different narrative logic than the one already known - comments Pia Brinzeu in the essay " Hamlet differently", in Romania Literara magazine. For if you are intrigued by the mysteries of the Danish king's death, you have to try to solve them differently than Shakespeare did this "big-time". And set off with someone. Gertrude, for instance." The cast proposed by Purcarete, who opted for the "all male cast" formula, in which all the roles are played by male actors, is also surprising: Claudiu Bleont (Gertrude), Mircea Rusu (Claudius), Marius Manole (Hamlet), Alexandru Potocean (Horatio), Marius Bodochi (The Spirit), Paul Chiributa - actor at the "Toma Caragiu" Theatre Ploiesti (Polonius) and Lari Giorgescu (Ofelia). The choreography is signed by Florin Fieroiu. The first performances of Gertrude will take place on October 28, 2023, 7:00 pm (preview) and October 29, 2023, 7:00 pm (premiere) at Studio Hall. The next performances are scheduled for November 9 and 22, 2023, at 7pm.   Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 
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