The NTB Conferences on DVD

20 June 2020

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101. Dialogue with Mihai Șora 18 June 2020
Video-streaming The first conference of the National Theatre in 2018 shall take place on 21st January, from 11.00 a.m., in the Studio Hall and shall be held by philosopher and essayist Mihai Șora. The conference shall be entitled: 101. Dialogue with Mihai Șora. About the Conference Over time, Mr. Șora has held further two conferences at NTB, but this time, at the incredible age of 101 years, he opted for a special meeting with the audience of the National Theatre of Bucharest. The conference shall commence with the projection, in premiere, of a film, a portrait-documentary with a duration of 45 minutes, followed by a dialogue with the audience. The being Mihai Șora is a profoundly (and authentically) dialogical one, very seldom encountered in our culture. Or, a film (where Mihai Șora is the main character, of course) has precisely this purpose: to introduce the audience into the so complex, unusual and atypical territory of this silent, piercing, humble philosopher, whom one gets to know only after years, days, entire hours of patient and careful vicinity… And one can – to a certain extent – „share“ him with others, with those people who do not have the time, occasion or privilege of always being around him. About Mihai Șora Born on 7th November 1916, in Ianova, Timiș County, Mihai Șora is a philosopher and essayist. Since 2012, he is an honorary member of the Romanian Academy. After high school studies in Timișoara, he would pursue philosophy studies at the University of Bucharest (1934-1938). There, he had Nae Ionescu and Mircea Vulcănescu as professors, among others, and Mircea Eliade as a teaching assistant at the seminar, for three years. Scholar of the French government, he arrived in January 1939 in Paris, where, under the guidance of Jean Laporte, he wrote a PhD thesis on La notion de la grâce chez Pascal / The notion of grace in Blaise Pascal’s works. The menace of the Wehrmacht’s vertiginous advancement made him leave Paris in June 1940 and, after long wonderings, he settled down in Grenoble (1940 – 1945), because there Jacques Chevalier, „an inveterate Pascal follower” was practising, according to his own words. In this period, he conceives his first book, Du dialogue intérieur, an essay of metaphysical anthropology, published later, in 1947, at Gallimard Publishing. During wartime, he participated in the antifascist French resistance and afterwards he became a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, from 1945 to 1948. Not grasping the true tragic dimension of the de facto occupation of Romania by the Soviet Union, he returned to the country in the fall of 1948, with the intention to return to France, but it was too late. The border had already been closed and at the same time, Romania’s opening towards the West for almost 20 years. However, due to his youth and his obvious and outspoken apolitical attitude, he was not hindered from doing intellectual work. He worked as an expert advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1948 – 1951), then as a head of department at the Foreign Languages Publishing House (from 1951 to 1954) and editor in chief at the State Publishing House for Literature and Art (1954 – 1969), where he had the outstanding editorial merit to be the founder of the new series Library for Everyone. Mihai Șora is a founding member of the Group for Social Dialogue, of the Civic Alliance and the Romanian Phenomenology Society. He translated from Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Reveries of a Solitary Walker), Jean-Paul Sartre (No Exit), Benjamin Fondane. He was awarded the Writers’s Guild Prize for The Salt of the Earth (1978) and for The Leaf of Grass (1998). After December 1989, he was a Minister of Education in the first temporary democratic government, led by Petre Roman, and the sole minister who resigned from the government, as a sign of protest in the aftermath of the miners’ riots from 13-15 June 1990, refusing afterwards to hold any office in the state apparatus. In 2016, he was bestowed the „Star of Romania” National Order to the rank of Knight.   Works: Du dialogue intérieur, 1947, Paris, Editions Gallimard; Romanian translation About the Inner Dialogue. Fragment from a Metaphysical Anthropology, Humanitas, 1995; 2006; The Salt of the Earth, Cartea Românească Publishing, 1978; Humanitas, 2006; To Be, to Make, to Have, Cartea Românească Publishing 1985; Humanitas, 2006; me&you&him&her or generalised dialogue, Cartea Românească Publishing 1990; Humanitas, 2007; The Leaf of Grass, 1998; Croquis and Evocations, 2000; Do We Still Have a Future? Romania at the Beginning of the Millennium, interviews, Polirom, 2001; Common Places, Universalia, 2004; The Moment and the Time, Paralela 45 Publishing, 2005   Translated by Simona Nichiteanu
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Matei Visniec: Festival d'Avignon, theatre capital of the world 17 June 2020
Video-streaming  On Sunday, 8 January 2017, 11.00 a.m., the Small Hall of NTB shall host the first conference of this year, held by Matei Vișniec: Festival d'Avignon, theatre capital of the world About the Conference „The Festival d’Avignon is the most important of France and one of the greatest in the world. Since 1947, it became a true international cultural legend, inspiring many other cities. Each July, in the city of Popes on the shore of the Rhone, a kind of cultural pilgrimage unfolds, the theatre being its foremost dimension, but not the only one. This festival is also a social and political phenomenon (as it turns into a debate forum), and a touristic and economic one, as well as a genuine show market. Since 1990, I have never missed a single year in Avignon (where I also had systematically staged plays in the unofficial OFF section). I was, somehow unwillingly, the witness of an evolution, of an exponential growth of the festival, as nowadays, its posters feature around 40 shows in the IN section and over 1300 plays in the OFF section. This festival is a fascinating cultural and human adventure, often placed under the sign of avant-garde and challenge, worth telling.” Matei Vișniec The conference held by Matei Vişniec shall be illustrated with images from the documentary film „Matei Vişniec – King in Avignon”, a TVR Iaşi production from 2015 produced by Andreea Știliuc (film-maker), Relu Tabără (image), Dragoș Brehnescu (editing). About Matei Vișniec Matei Vişniec is a poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, member of several creative associations of Romania and France. He was born on 29 January 1956 in Bucovina, at Rădăuţi, fabulous city divided in two (cemetery included) by a railway representing for the author the axis of symmetry of the universe. The town is amply described in the novel published by Matei Vişniec at Cartea Românească and entitled „Pass-Parol Cafe”. His mother, Minodora, was a nursery school teacher, his father, Ioan, was a clerk. He made his poetry debut in the fourth grade, when he versified a fable by La Fontaine. Later on, he discovered in literature a zone of freedom and he nurtured himself with pages from Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Poe, Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Nichita Stănescu and many other writers, not contaminated by Socialist Realism. He liked very much the Surrealists, the Dadaists, the fantastic stories, the absurd and grotesque theatre, the oneiric poetry and even the Anglo-Saxon realist theatre, in short, almost everything except the „official” literature of the Communist regime. He studies philosophy in Bucharest and becomes very active within the 80’s generation, being a founding member of the Monday Literary Circle. He believes in cultural resistance and in the capacity of literature to overthrow totalitarianism. He especially believes that theatre and poetry may denunciate the manipulation of man through the „great ideas", as well as the brainwashing through ideological speeches. Before 1987, he becomes known in Romania through his purified, lucid poetry, written with acrimony. From 1977, he writes theatre plays massively circulating in the literary milieu, but which are banned from the professional stages. His prose remains however ‘on shelf’, as well as the novel „ Pass-Parol Café”, written in 1982/1983 and only published after the fall of Ceauşescu. In September 1987 he leaves Romania with a tourist visa and arrives in France where he applies for political asylum. He starts writing in French, works at from 1988 to 1999, and then he starts working for Radio France Internationale. He becomes a French citizen in 1993, but also keeps his Romanian citizenship. As of 1987, since he has been living in France, his plays have transgressed the borders and his name has been on posters in approximately 40 countries. His plays are published at the Actes Sud - Papiers, Lansman, Espace D’un Instant, Non Lieu Publishing Houses. However, Matei Vişniec is also the author of a prose which some critics consider atypical. A first novel, “The Pass-Parol Café”, written in 1983, has only been published after the fall of Communism. “Panic Syndrome in the City of Lights” was one of the most appreciated novels of the year 2009, receiving the award of the Observator Culturalmagazine. Matei Vişniec has further published, in 2010, the novel „The Release of Mr. K”, written in 1988 in the first year of his Parisian exile, which he waited for over 20 years before sending it to be published. The novel „A Merchant of Novel’s Beginnings” was awarded in 2014 the Augustin Frăţilă prize. He received in 2009 the European Award of The French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers for his entire activity; the “Jean Monnet” Award for European Literature in 2016 for the novel „A Merchant of Novel’s Beginnings” (Jacqueline Chambon Actes Sud Publishing). In Romania, his books were distinguished repeatedly with the Writer’s Guild Drama Award (most recently in 2015), the Drama Award of the Romanian Academy, the special UNITER Award for the Most Enacted Romanian Contemporary Playwright (2016). 2016 Overview: Matei Vişniec’s have been translated into over 30 languages. Some of his plays have been enacted in major European theatres: Rond Point Theatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Stary Theatre of Cracow, Piccolo Theatre of Milano, Royal Theatre of Stokholm, Young Vic Theatre of London, National Theatre of Istanbul, Maxim Gorki Theatre of Berlin, Teatro Stabile of Catania (Sicily). Since 2006, his plays have been staged at a pace of one every two years by the Kaze Theatre of Tokyo. Numerous shows based on his plays were produced in Brazil, after É Realizações Publishing House from São Paulo started in 2010 to massively publish his plays (around 20 to date). After the fall of Communism, in 1989, Matei Vişniec becomes one of the most enacted authors in Romania, with shows produced on all national stages (Bucharest, Iaşi, Cluj, Craiova, Timişoara), as well as in countless other cities. Numerous radio plays produced by the National Theatre Live. Recent publications in Romania: - At the Cartea Românească Publishing House: The Spider in the Wound(theatre), 2007; The Hole in the Ceiling(theatre), 2007; The Human Trashcan. The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War(theatre), 2007; The Pass – Parol Café (novel), 2008; Panic Syndrome in the City of Lights(novel), 2009; The Release of Mr. K. (novel), 2010; Preventive Disorder(novel), 2011; Dinner with Marx (poetry), 2011; Word Cabaret (theatre), 2012; A Merchant of Novel’s Beginnings (novel), 2013; The Man from Whom the Evil was Extracted(theatre), 2015; Shoe Loves, Umbrella Loves (novel), 2016 - At the Paralela 45 Publishing House: The Town With a Single Inhabitant(poetry anthology), 2005; A Paris Attic Overlooking Death(theatre), 2005; The One-Winged Man(theatre), 2006; How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients (theatre), 2007; Just Imagine that You are God! (theatre), 2008; Occident Express & About the Sensation of Elasticity When Walking Upon Corpses(theatre), 2009; The Man in the Circle(short theatre anthology), 2010 - At the Humanitas Publishing House: The Chekhov Machine & On the Frailty of Stuffed Seagulls (theatre), 2008; Love Letters to a Chinese Princess (poetic prose), 2011; The Trial of Communism through Theatre(theatre), 2012; The Balkan Trilogy & Migraaaants (theatre), 2016   Translated by Simona Nichiteanu
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Ion Caramitru: The Limits of Expectation 16 June 2020
Video-streaming The exposé is based on the conference held in 1992 in the House of Commons in London and was designed to express the respect and gratitude for the families of those who fell in the Revolution and the revolutionaries. The conference retains the structure of the one from the beginning of the last decade, but it is updated, compared to nowadays and emphasizing the idea that nothing has changed since then and until now. "If I look and remember my existence since I opened my eyes to life, more logically, more concretely - I have been in an eternal expectation. I was expecting something that, most of the time, was not being fulfilled, or was being fulfilled with shortcomings, or was leading to a horizon of more and more dramatic expectations. I waited when I was 7 years old - two days for my sister to return from a militia search, I waited two months for my mother to return after she was arrested with my father, and I have waited for two years, for the first time, after he returned from the first confinement. And again, I have been waiting for my life to change, for things to change, obviously, for the world to take on a more significant, more vivid outline, for the sky not to be leaden, but blue… ”. Ion Caramitru   Translated by Simona Nichiteanu
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Ilina Gregori: When was the 19th Century? Eminescu and Modernity 15 June 2020
Video-streaming  On Sunday, June 14th, at 11 o'clock, the Black Box Hall will host the conference When was the 19th Century? Eminescu and Modernity, held by Mrs. Ilina Gregori."What does the good God expect from the one who did not live his life due to the circumstances that humiliated and sacrificed it?"With this question - rhetoric, in fact - Alexandru Dragomir, the exceptional philosopher, but without writings, was recently justifying the tragic balance of his life. Forced by circumstances, he had decided to sabotage through solitude and silence the Romanian culture that was „created” around him – so false and so ill-founded, that any participation in the activities that kept it operative, was in the eyes of the philosopher an unforgivable guilt.But "what does the good God expect" from a brilliant man, who has lived only thirty-nine years, of which the last six cannot even be weighed with the units of measurement suitable for normal human life? In Eminescu's case, then, God should be content with little - if He is "good." And if such kindness and mercy have hitherto manifested themselves neither constantly nor clearly in the judgment of posterity, we must not lose confidence in the mercy of heaven, but only investigate more closely where those expectations we all know stem - maximum or downright immeasurable, if not even absurd - that have always and always imposed themselves in Eminescu's reception. How can we so easily forget the circumstances that distorted his life, the disease that "humiliated" and brutally abbreviated it?If that "God of culture" that C. Noica was talking about is not a simple figure of speech, such an exorbitant expectation could be attributed to him: Eminescu – the genius individual, the "complete man", moral and intellectual role model, "Soul" of the nation, "[its] better conscience". But Cioran also judges from above, from heaven, when it comes to Eminescu. Even in the years of maturity, with all the lucidity acquired in exile, even looking for challenge, offense, blasphemy, Cioran continues to believe that Eminescu saved the Romanian nation, deprived of any political or cultural merits, an "invertebrate" nation, lacking destiny, etc. In his youth, as we know, Cioran had claimed that Providence had expected more from its chosen one: as the Messiah, Eminescu had to project the virtues and triumph of his nation into the near future. However, Eminescu remained a prophet of the past, Cioran claimed, a true failure of the project of Romania’s modern "transfiguration".The disappointment of young Cioran, as well as the imputations of an Eugen Lovinescu, for example – in order not to recall but two moments of a rich critical tradition - they essentially look at Eminescu's deficit in relation to modernity, but can we still accept such an apology for modernity nowadays? How much more legitimacy did this secular religion have in the interwar period? But what did it mean to be modern in the second half of the twentieth century? How was modernity conceived in Iasi? What about in Vienna or Berlin? Which of these contemporary, interconnected and yet asynchronous environments decisively influenced Eminescu's relationship - theoretical, aesthetic, existential-emotional - with modernity? We propose some topics of reflection in this direction, aroused by the Berlin phase of the poet's biography. About Ilina Gregori:Graduate of the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Romanian Language and Literature.She made her debut with literary criticism articles during her student years.Present between 1966-1969 in the literary press, especially in the Luceafărul magazine, with numerous literary reviews, signed as Ilina Grigorovici.She pursued her studies (philosophy, Romanics, comparative literature) in the Federal Republic of Germany, where she settled in the early 1970s.Under the guidance of Professor Walter Biemel, she received her PhD degree in Aachen (completed in 1977), with a thesis on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and phenomenology of language (work published under the title Merleau-Pontys Phänomenologie der Sprache, in 1977, in Heidelberg, Carl Winter Publishing House).From 1976 to 2005, she was a lecturer at the Institute of Romance Philology of the Free University of West Berlin.Since 1977, she has published in synthesis volumes and specialized journals (from Germany, Holland, France) a series of studies, often from communications at congresses, colloquia, international symposia, about Eminescu, Caragiale (Ion Luca and Mateiu), Romanians writers in exile, etc.She translated into German (in collaboration with Heinz Hermann) Mircea Eliade's Memoirs (1987, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp).She collaborated with articles on Romanian literature at the Brockhaus Encyclopedia and the Kindlers Lexicon.The volume Rumänistische Literaturwissenschaft. Fallstudien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (2007, Heidelberg, Winter Publishing House) contains a selection of 20 studies in German and French, dedicated to modern Romanian literature.She returned to Romanian cultural life after 1980 with the volume The Only Essential Literature: The Fantastic Story. Balzac. Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. Pieyre de Mandiargues (1996, DU Style Publishing House).The volumes Literary Studies. Eminescu in Berlin. Mircea Eliade: Three Analyses (2002, Romanian Cultural Foundation Publishing House, "Titu Maiorescu" award of the Romanian Academy) and Do We Know Who Eminescu Was? Facts, Riddles, Hypotheses (2008, Art Publishing House) followed. Translated by Simona Nichiteanu
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