Current Repertory

The Just Assassins

by Albert Camus

The Just Assassins

by Albert Camus

Translation: Marcel Aderca
Mihai Măniuțiu
Mihai Măniuțiu
Adrian Damian
Luiza Enescu
Mihai Dobre
Technical Director:
Andi Tuinea

Premiere: 22.10.2022

Duration: 1 h 30 min / Pause: No

30 Sep 2023 19:00
04 Oct 2023 19:00

50 lei

20 lei (balcon, cu reducere)

With The Just Assassins (1949), Camus wrote not only about yesterday's world, but also about today's world where individuals who kill in the name of ideals and beliefs are convinced of the "just nature" of their deeds.

What is "just" and what is not? Can crime be legitimized for political purposes? asks the author of "The Rebel", who does not shy away from reflecting on the issue of terrorism, violence and terror in a modern dramatic text that retains the qualities of a Shakespearean tragedy.

February 1905, Moscow. A group of young people belonging to the Revolutionary Socialist Party organize a terrorist attack on Grand Duke Sergei, the Tsar's uncle, a despotic figure of the time. The conflict of the play is between two opposing concepts on the revolution: extremist terrorism (personified by Stepan) - who sacralizes the death of the adversary and the martyr - and terrorism carried out by "delicate" killers (Kalyayev with Dora) - who love beauty and hate tyranny, ready to kill in order to build a world where no one will ever kill again. The revolutionaries cannot love in this life if they want to accomplish their plans. So the two young people can only fulfil their love in death, like Romeo and Juliet.

Fighting against all forms of extremism, choosing the man and not the concept, linking revolt to measure, Camus denounces the nihilistic temptation of the pure revolution. On the stage of the National Theatre from Bucharest, the performance The Just Assassins, directed by Mihai Maniuțiu, puts Camus' work under the sign of gratitude towards the world and the plea for love and life.


The Just Assassins by Albert Camus is an unsettling, multi-faceted piece that combines in a fascinating alloy: fire and ice, in the same magical rhetoric of the stage. A play about love, about an impossible love. A play about the mystical, poisoned illusions of terrorism. A play about the irretrievable loss of innocence. About sacrifice and violence. About hope and moral catastrophe. About the crime that turns the "righteous" into their own murderers. About beauty and horror. About the way history wrongly transforms and shatters destinies.

I would not have had the courage to set off on all these forking paths, to finally come together in the most intense and painful centre of the labyrinth, where enlightenment is equivalent to tearing, if I had not been accompanied by these dedicated, full of grace and wonderful actors and their "flying machines": Marius Manole, Raluca Aprodu, Marius Bodochi, Mirela Oprișor, Maia Morgenstern, Ciprian Nicula.

We look forward with excitement and confidence to meeting the public.” Mihai Măniuțiu

Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu


Photo Marius Donici

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Ivan Kaliaiev: Marius Manole Dora Dulebov: Raluca Aprodu
Stepan Fedorov, Skuratov: Marius Bodochi Varia Annenkova: Mirela Oprișor
The Great Duchess: Maia Morgenstern Aleksei Voinov: Ciprian Nicula

"Mihai Măniuțiu's performance raises the question of tragic consciences rather than justice. "The Just Assassins" are in reality condemnable, but no less affected by tragedy, being nevertheless human, even if with "justice" in their arms. The cause (ideal or illusory?) or life? That is the question! A performance of great scope and artistic performance on many levels, The Just Assassins is a significant achievement."

Horia Gârbea, Neuma Magazine, issue 11-12/2022 - Assassins without silver money   

"Adrian Damian has perfectly understood Camus' text and in perfect harmony with Mihai Măniuțiu's directorial vision has built a set that gives the feeling of a crushing and oppressive temporality. The stage (small, because the show is played at the Pictură Hall) becomes huge, precisely because it is very well thought out from a scenographic point of view. Harsh shades of grey, objects devoid of personality, cold and still, the distances between objects seem huge, since the characters seem lost. Moreover, Măniuțiu has made very clever use of this play of volumes, using it to convey the basic idea: the rightists are cold people, they shy away from touch, they have no sentimental outpourings except when it comes to the revolutionary cause; (...) A performance worked with great care for every detail, a performance designed like a mechanism whose functioning depends on each individual cog. It is Măniuțiu's winning bet that yes, today it is possible to play theatre without making aesthetic concessions". 

Nona Rapotan, BookHub - The frozen Holy Trinity - "The Just Assassins" at NTB  

"A complete success is Raluca Aprodu as Dora, who is - in equal measure - both troubled and troubling to truly communicate the appropriate sense of despair and hopelessness experienced by these revolutionaries. (...)

Fire and ice merge into an alloy that spreads the thrill of a dire foreboding. In this performance, only love/pathos and the icon become the only bright signs in a dark and frozen universe. The finale marks the steps of assuming the catastrophe; history seems to repeat itself - the stage director insinuates. Again, "salvation is in us!" seems to be the subtle warning and directorial suggestion of a disturbing staging.”

Mădălina Dumitrache, Bel Esprit – Fire under ice – "The Just Assassins"  

"Măniuțiu's performance is very appealing aesthetically, in a sober and balanced way, passionate and beautiful, classical and at the same time modern, with a small dose of the strange (in Act IV). Adrian Damian's scenography, Luizei Enescu's costumes and the same Adrian Damian's lighting design (assisted by lighting master Ionel Docan and lighting operator Valentin Sandu) are worthy of any stage in the world. (...)

Raluca Aprodu concludes this show with a stirring performance by a great actress. Bravo! (...)

Conducted with the sure hand of a veteran of the country's first stages, Mihai Măniuțiu's premiere brings Albert Camus back into the consciousness of new generations, even if in a slightly iconoclastic formula. The show launches big existential questions to the audience and leaves each spectator to draw his own conclusions."

Alexandra Ares, Liternet - Where evil is committed in the name of good - The Just Assassins  

"Ok are also the elegant costumes that the male characters wear in particular. They make them look as if they've just stepped out of the box. Luiza Enescu designed them. They're designed like those worn by Dostoyevsky's anarchist intellectuals. Educated in the great universities of Russia and beyond. Raluca Aprodu is excellent and will continue to be so, there are already the first indications that the actress will shine emotionally in the final part of the show. In Mirela Oprișor's play I didn't detect any trace of rhetoric or falsehood, Marius Manole is very good, no, not the slightest hint of fatigue, self-citing or mannerism, as has been hastily edicted by I don't know who, and Ciprian Nicula is exactly right. The actor captures the mixture of feelings, the enthusiasms, the enthusiasm as well as the fears of the young Voinov."

Mircea Morariu, Contributors - Murder and/or revolutionary action?  

"A poetry of revolt imagined by Mihai Măniuțiu in complicity with Adrian Damian and Luiza Enescu (a charming scenographic story, a visual of great value in itself, carried with skill and coherence in the costumes, which enhances the harsh lyricism of the narrative) on the stage of the Pictură Hall of the Bucharest National Theatre. The existentialist story behind an assassination, adequately twisted by Mihai Dobre, who carefully wraps in sounds the stridencies so that they never get out of hand (keeping the surprises of the ample acoustics to intelligently unify noises from different tumults), giving each of the characters the necessary time to premeditate, launch, accept and deepen their actions, all in the idea formulated by the Camusian heroes that even in destruction there is order, there is peace. (...) Pure, clear, limpid theatre, a dramatic joy simplified to its essence (...).

Măniuțiu's "Just Assassins". The most just. Those who are not sure they have the right to revolution, but are sure that honor is the last and greatest wealth of the poor. Those who kill to build a world where no one will ever kill again. Those who kill evil and are willing to perish with it. But not at once, because death in the act leaves something unfinished; one must also present oneself at the scaffold, take responsibility for the act, pay more than one owes, deliberately sacrifice a life, but die twice. For their conscience, for their cause, for their era. (...) Under the frosty gaze of the Holy Trinity, the lights of the chandelier that has fallen on yet another era are slowly going out in cold fringes: stop history, it's too cold...".

Luciana Antofi, Blog - Winter looms miserly over the revolutionary arms of the policeman: "The Just Assassins" who put divine justice to freeze   

"The Just Assassins - one of the most powerful and moving texts of contemporary theatre. (...)

What Mihai Măniuțiu has succeeded in doing with this text is that, by keeping it almost intact, both in terms of the original writing and as a temporal placement, he has emphasized its striking contemporaneity and universality. One cannot avoid or deny the fact that we are living in the midst of events that seem to merge with the elements Camus exposes in his play, and the director has done nothing but highlight these aspects and, at the same time, cloak them in the poetic mantle of a stage performance that one cannot erase from one's mind and soul. Of course he also had a great help from one of his main collaborators, Adrian Damian, whose scenography simply leaves you speechless."

Tudor Costin Sicomas, Republika Kritica - Time for change. Time for liberation  

"The stage will be filled with a special energy when Marius Manole's Kaliaev - an actor of formidable vibrancy - steps onto it. His emotional relationship with Dora is, indeed, something crazy, and Raluca Aprodu enters absolutely remarkably into this whirlwind of ideas and feelings, deeply contradictory (Marxist-Leninists would pour absurdity into their twisted and devastating dialectics). On the other side, the one of lovelessness, Maia Morgenstern brings a moment of sensitive drama to the role of the Grand Duchess, enhanced by the wisdom that gives her a chance to understand the drama of the young bomber, even if forgiveness seems impossible in the face of the horror and consequences of the crime."

Bogdan Burileanu, Liternet - The others... - The Just Assassins  

"The Just Assassins - NTB. Impeccable adaptation and direction by Mihai Măniuțiu, in a set of breathtaking beauty (Adrian Damian). The staging of philosophical ideas is aided by outstanding acting performances (Marius Manole, Raluca Aprodu) and a touch too remarkable (Maia Morgenstern, Marius Bodochi)".

Horia Ghibuţiu, Zile şi nopţi (p.145) - Top 10 Theatre Performances of the Year - The Just Assassins  

"The performance at NTB is a less complicated and more fluid adaptation of the original text. Although the play's title is theistic, and therefore less attractive, the entire performance is explosive and brings to the fore class performers, a renowned director, a geometric set design (...) a realistic storytelling although it pedals on the theatre of the absurd. The conspiracy is told trenchantly, the loves are simply displayed and the whole plot twist reveals no Brechtian or Ionian stylistic novelty, but a bouquet of ideas in action, in controversy. (...)

What a pleasure it is to watch the stars play!

Ms Maia Morgenstern creates a portrait that can never be forgotten."

Dinu Grigorescu, Rinocerul Magazine, issue 10-2022 - The spell of the theatre of ideas  

"... the sets by Adrian Damian, the music by Mihai Dobre and especially the costumes by Luizei Enescu, fascinate and captivate the audience. Moreover, the text is one that poses some rather pressing questions to the audience. One question that stayed with me long after the performance was: how far would you go in the name of good? And after all, where is this good when in order to achieve it you have to commit a crime?".

Andrei Bulboacă, Ficţ – The Just Assassins  

"The show at the Pictura Hall is a must-see not only because it awakens meditations on a Russia of the early twentieth century, but especially for its aesthetic quality. Especially at a time when, again, everyone is trying to understand Russia and its leaders. As the French say: à voir absolument!"

Nicolae Prelipceanu, Viaţa Românească - The Autumn of Theatres - The Just Assassins  

"On the occasion of the 105th anniversary of the Union of Basarabia with Romania, a tour of the national theatres of Bucharest and Iasi took place in Chisinau. The performance "The Just Assassins" (1949) was one of the highlights. (...)

However, I particularly wanted to see Camus and I think that most of the spectators who filled the hall of the Chisinau National Theatre to capacity on the evening of 29 March came not only for the team of actors who staged a famous text, but also in search of answers.

What are you willing to do, how far would you go to achieve your goal? Where do the roots of crime lie, the ambition to impose happiness in your own image on others? (...) A nihilistic mysticism, heralded by Dostoevsky's "demons", imitating Islamic fanaticism. To want, at all costs, to be right against the truth. To despise the truth of life, in its many facets, not to accept the human communion that can be fulfilled in love without exterminating difference - all this clearly completes a clinical record. And the doctor leaves himself waiting. At least the nurses do their job".

Vitalie Ciobanu, DW - The just and fanatics. A Russian Tale  


Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 

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