Current Repertory

No Matter How Hard We Tried

by Dorota Masłowska

No Matter How Hard We Tried

by Dorota Masłowska

Translation: Sabra Daici
Radu Afrim
Irina Moscu
Assistant Scenography:
Iulia Gherghescu
Live music:
Cezar Antal
Sound universe:
Radu Afrim
Light design:
Roxana Docan
Video artist:
Dimitris Palade
Technical Director:
Costică Lupșa
Sound design:
Călin Țopa
Eduard Ivan
Valentin Sandu

Premiere: 27.09.2015

Duration: 1 h 45 min / Pause: No


40 lei

20 lei (reducere pentru elevi, studenți și pensionari)

©Dorota Maslowska, 2009-2015/ALSA. First written for and performed by TR Warszawa and Schaubuehne Berlin, 2009

„I am not a fan of political theatre, as I have always made social theatre without adhering to any party of directors with left-side pain or right-wing pangs. No Matter How Hard We Tried is a deeply human play, containing the mixed thoughts of a girl faced with an “already solved” crossword on political issues. A crossword from a magazine found in the dumpster of history. There you can also find pain in kefir jars, bulk laughter, and organic emotion in 2 litre plastic bottles. And some paper planes from the Second World War.
A warm thank you to the team for the unique moments during rehearsals.” Radu Afrim
Translated by Simona Nichiteanu
Photos by Florin Ghioca



Little Metal Girl, The Director: Dorina Chiriac Apathetic Old Lady, The Actor: Marius Manole
Halina: Liliana Ghiță Bożena: Natalia Călin
Monika and other roles: Istvan Teglas Uncle Maurycy: Cezar Antal
The Reporter and other roles: Florentina Ţilea


"One of the things defining Radu Afrim is linked to the way he uses the social component in his shows. Afrim refuses combativeness, the aggressiveness of directly expressed opinions, not because he would prefer their edulcoration, but because his vision on the subject, whichever it may be, does not limit itself to a political statement, but contains a vast perspective over the human condition. Afrim creates dense characters, whose inner worlds, rich in anguishes and beauty, surpass reality".

Oana Stoica, Dilema Veche – Afrimateca

"... They all illustrate the metaphor of the world upside down. A contradictory world for which contradiction is law. A way of living and a manner of use. Language sanctions this situation substantiated in each moment by facts.

... A show which in the first fifteen – twenty minutes does not allow you to find out any trace of logic. Not even the smallest shred of coherence. So incoherent seems to be the play as well. Afrim does it voluntarily, programmatically, deceivingly even more incoherent...

And yet, there is coherence. It appears in the text, it appears in the show as well. Almost every character duplicates, in a specific formula, the story of Poland and the „Polacks”. Dorota Masłowska knew how to organise the particular rebounds. Director Radu Afrim has found them amazing scenic equivalences".

Mircea Morariu, Adevarul - A Mega-Nightmare  

"Radu Afrim turns the challenging of dominant conventions in Romanian theatre, the ones of modern theatre in general into a profession of faith. And this distinguishes him also from the European directors to which he is sometimes compared and to which, indeed, he is related at the level of certain thematic preferences, of the visual dimension of enactments etc.

Based on a kind of clownish humour and, especially in the first part, on a profoundly theatrical acting (approaching commedia dell’arte) and on language idiosyncrasies (Halina speaks with mistakes and regionalisms, Bożena, the neighbour „fat as a pig“, wonderfully impersonated by Natalia Călin, is lisping, the travesty grandmother of Manole mumbles words excessively), the show exploits the comedy’s potential from grey to black of dialogues of a reality turned upside down".

Iulia Popovici, Cultural Observer – When all is well, although it is not. With Afrim  

"As Dorota Masłowska whips contemporary society through retort, the actors receive generous and special scores. They are the great achievement of the attractiveness of the representation. Radu Afrim models the actors’ performance, which he considers the main element in communicating his directing vision. The chore of the demonstration that the young generation lives in a confusing way today’s reality is the “Little Metal Girl”, ignorant of the past of the Second World War, which resulted in communism and brainwash. Dorina Chiriac achieves a true creation in this intricately built character. (...) Marius Manole also faces the interpretation of two typologies, being sensational in the “Apathetic Old Lady” and the “Actor”. These are two completely different compositions, surprisingly developed by this unique actor of our theatre".

Ileana Lucaciu, Spectator – Everything Goes To Rack and Ruin  

"The most recent show enacted by Radu Afrim at the National Theatre of Bucharest, „No matter How Hard We Tried“, on a text of Polish writer Dorota Masłowska, is an excellent political parable talking about the destinies of some peoples run over mercilessly by the heavy plough of history. And as peoples consist of people, and the „basic cell of society“ is and has been, even before man’s downfall into sin, the family, the history of the – let’s say Polish – people (but it could just as well be the Romanian people) is analysed by the dimension of a family".

Gabi Lupu, Romania Libera – When All Men Were Polish  

"Everything is deceiving in the play written by Dorota Masłowska, and Radu Afrim takes the hallucination even further, in a post-apocalyptic space, in which the natural bears surrealist-absurd-kitsch-structuralist connotations. A mind-boggling stylistic cocktail and yet, paradoxically enough, pretty easy to grasp.

... on the stage of the I.L. Caragiale National Theatre of Bucharest, an exceptional show was born: ”No Matter How Hard We Tried”.

Gabriela Hurezean, Muses and Arms - "No Matter How Hard We Tried”, Excellent Even!

"In a surrealist and grotesque human landscape, Radu Afrim and his wonderful actors tell us a multi-temporal story, between „what has been” and „what will be”. (...)

As usual in Afrim’s shows, the actors are devoted partners of the directing design, in a complex endeavour, not at all handy, stimulating their creativity, intuition, the fair dosage and the expressiveness, the sensitivity and the freshness resources. A Radu Afrim project is machinery which does not work with any kind of fuel and at any temperature. Thus, quality engines are needed for the mechanism to spin. (...) There is one more thing to add. I realised that the star of Afrim’s enactments is the show itself, theatre itself. (...) Any show by Radu Afrim is a free fall, an extreme sport, a surprise package".

Razvana Nita, Revista Teatrala Radio – Spring Therapies against Winter  

"No Matter How Hard We Tried by Dorota Masłowska (National Theatre of Bucharest), directed by Radu Afrim, is, in my opinion, the first truly „successful" show produced by Afrim at NTB in the last years, offering the actors (to Marius Manole, for instance, but also to Liliana Ghita and Dorina Chiriac) surprising and remarkable acting possibilities. Radu Afrim has succeeded in finding the „recipe" of coherent incoherence, a language greeting on the run the realism dominating the Romanian stages, practically inventing itself from scratch, articulating itself from music, visual generosity and theatrical and acting conventions constantly overturned".

Iulia Popovici, Adevarul – Best Of… (My) Year 2015 in Theatre   

"In a completely different aesthetics does he frame other two premieres of his from 2015, this time in Bucharest: No Matter How Hard We Tried by Dorota Masłowska, at the National Theatre of Bucharest, and Family Affairs by Rosa Liksom, at the Odeon Theatre, both relying on a caricatural, Pantagruelian humour.

(...) in the show from NTB, the theme of war is dealt with on a surreal-comic note (Marius Manole’s comic potential is very well exploited in the role of the Grandmother, it seems that his resources are inexhaustible). A prolific and manifold year 2015 for Radu Afrim..."

Silvia Dumitrache, Cultural Observer - Theatre. 2015 On Stage   


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu

Presented within the festCO Romanian Comedy Festival, May 2018

Presented at the closing of the Stefan Iordache Theatre Festival, Caracal, April 2017

2 representations held on the stage of the Contemporary Theatre of Wroclaw, within the Polish Contemporary Drama Festival, December 2016

Presented within the National Theatre Festival, October 2016

Presented within the Contemporary Arts Festival, Sfantu Gheorghe, September 2016


Marius Manole - UNITER Award for Best actor in a supporting part for the roles Apathetic Old Lady, The Actor, 2016

Dorina Chiriac –UNITER nomination for Best actress in a leading part for the roles Little Metal Girl, The Director, 2016


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

Your browser is not up to date

Please upgrade to one of the following browsers in order to enter NTB website

Thank you for understanding! Google ChromeVersion 7+ FirefoxVersion 4+ Internet ExplorerVersion 8+ OperaVersion 4+ SafariVersion 5+
I agree

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to its use of cookies. Details

TNB I. L. Caragiale Logo