Current Repertory

The Nouveau Criminals

by Edna Mazia

The Nouveau Criminals

by Edna Mazia

Translation: Etgard Bitel
Ion Caramitru
Assistant Director:
Patricia Katona
Light design:
Chris Jaeger
Florin Fieroiu
Florilena Popescu Fărcăşanu
Costumes Assistant:
Corina Boboc
Călin Țopa

Premiere: 07.03.2019

Duration: 2 h 30 min / Pause: Yes


100 lei

70 lei

50 lei

20 lei (cu reducere pentru elevi, studenţi şi pensionari)

Show not recommended for minors under the age of 14.


With The Nouveau Criminals, the successful Israeli author Edna Mazia offers you the opportunity of a five star encounter, with characters which shall attract you to the saraband of events which you shall not escape unless you let laughter envelop you and lead you towards relaxation with no way back…

You shall cry with laughter at the challenges faced by the „nouveau criminals”… The humour and wisdom of an honest family of our days shall persuade you that it is worthwhile confronting fate even if one becomes its toy, even if the whole world has gone mad and ... even if „everything is but ...a great brothel”!!!

Edna Mazia (born on July 24th 1949, Tel Aviv, Israel) Drama author, writer, screenwriter and theatre director. She graduated from the MA studies of philosophy and theatre at the Tel Aviv University, where she later taught creative writing courses. At the Kameri theatre of Tel Aviv, she directed the plays of her best friend,  Anat Gov: Best Friends, Lysistrata 2000, Oh God, House Husband, Warm Family.

Her rich activity in the theatre field was preceded by some film scripts written for Israeli director Amos Gutman. With the play „Mischakim Bechatzer Ha-achorit” (Games in the Backyard, 1993), a docudrama inspired by a group rape case which has shaken the country, from the kibbutz Shomrat – 1993, followed by „Sipur Mishpahti (A Family Story, play in two acts, Or Am Publishing – 1997), and by „Hamordim” (The Rebels), play in two acts, Or Am Publishing – 1999, inspired by the political activity of her parents, Edna Mazia conquered her fame as a playwright well anchored in reality and she earned major awards and distinctions.                              

Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 


Photo Florin Ghioca

Dorina: Virginia Mirea Arie: Andrei Finţi
Anca: Alexandrina Halic Bambi: Teodora Mareş
Ylai: Silviu Biriş Sarit: Afrodita Androne
Naomi: Ileana Olteanu Sigal: Aylin Cadîr
Diana Sar
Miki: Cosmina Olariu Șimșon: Daniel Badale
Haim: Răzvan Oprea Client: Mihai Verbiţchi
Șlomo: Alexandru Hasnaş Roy: Viorel Florea
Police Officers: Alexandru Popescu
Nicoleta Tase
The Young Boy: Aris Bănuţoiu
Hava Nagila interpretation: Emy Drăgoi

"The Nouveau Criminals" is the type of show whose recipe contains all the ingredients of certain success: a mixture of humour and tenderness, sensational actors, a seductive story since the very first retorts, a directorial vision that relies on performers, but also on an engaging pace and surprising proposals. (...)

But, undoubtedly, "The Nouveau Criminals" is Virginia Mirea's most glorious show. Unique actress, she acheives here a fabulous score, energetic, comic-dramatic, filigree, and magistral. Dorina is a strong and frailmater familias, an explosion of vitality, magic, delicacy and courage. " 

Razvana Nita, Acta est fabula - When Life Gives You Lemons ...  

"The show The Nouveau Criminals stands out through an accuracy that does not only signify the clarity and sobriety of the scenic construction, but also the truth of the text (built in the manner pièce à thèse). The merit of the stage director, Ion Caramitru (assistant director Patricia Katona), can be found in the ambience suggestions (the interpretation of the song "Hava Nagila: Emy Dragoy), but especially in exceptional acting performances. Nuanced and discreet, the directorsthrow a moralizing glance and launch interrogations about family, couple, adultery, prostitution, love, success in life / success, and prompt the modern spectator to seek their own truth. "

Madalina Dumitrache, Bel Esprit - The Irresistible Chaos of Passion - "The Nouveau Criminals"  

"Without exaggeration at all, I confess that the show represented a true artistic "delight". "The Nouveau Criminals" performed with great success in Tel Aviv at Cameri Theatre (with the famous and talented actress of Romanian origin Sandra Sade as lead actress) promises to become the "hit of the year" in Bucharest, on the stage of the National Theatre.

With a team of exceptional actors (...) in a delicious and ingenuous direction by the incredible Ion Caramitru and in a wonderful translation by Etgard Bittel, the play "The Nouveau Criminals" on the stage of the National Theatre of Bucharest enjoys an infallible recipe for success.

Amazing situations, dizzying twists and spicy incidents, delicious happenings and entanglements, inherent clashes between generations, spiced up by the hilarious retorts of a senile grandmother, all directed by Ion Caramitru's sensitive wand turn under the eyes of spectators into a well-rounded show of excellent quality ".

Doina Meiseles, 7.3.2019 • The Weekly Journal, Israel  

"The subject chosen is shocking, with upheavals, with a retort of savory humour and witty substratum, all about a family of ordinary people, wealthy at some point in the past; Dorina, the core man of the family, is struggling to earn money and chooses a suprising... solution. (...)

Virginia Mirea’s "debut" is hilarious; having the experience of the past where the actress has proven the science of playing comedies or drama, she minutely deciphers Dorina’s profile, the woman obsessed with the family’s financial crisis, but ingenious in finding rescue solutions that are however morally questionable. Virginia Mirea lives intensely every moment that Dorina undergoes, with sincerity in the manifestations and constant care to support the various relationships with the demands of the family - the mature children and the husband, but also the "guests" in the flat, the external reactions being doubled by the suggestions of the character’s inner states, emotionally exposed at the end of the performance. Another surprise of the show is caused by Alexandrina Halic in the grandmother's character possibly afflicted withAlzheimer's; with delicacy in her expression, with emphasis on the grandmother's possible illness, the actress humorously emphasizes her slick attitude towards her relationships with those around her." 

Ileana Lucaciu, Spectator - Comedy Offer ... with a Moral   

"The actors with whom Ion Caramitru has embarked on the road have, indeed, a working material that they can use to their heart’s desire, the measure of personal talent and, of course, the directorial rigours. Heading the bill, Virginia Mirea is honoured with a role matching her personality; and in turn, she honours her debut on the stage of the National with a touching, warm and amusing performance at the same time. Without much talk, she is sympathetic and credible, aiming straight for the soul of the spectators she manages to touch and entertain at the same time. "

Bogdan Burileanu, Liternet - Prostitution and Punishment ... Nouveau Criminals   

"A light play, with a strong message , a vaudeville, and NTB is also located on the boulevard, a show that must be seen at all costs. A premiere that, we are certain, shall have a longer career.

The show Nouveau Criminals by Edna Mazia, directed by Ion Caramitru from the National Theatre, features a special programme brochure, because it is illustrated by Horatiu Malaele."

Denis Dinulescu, The Ink Jar - Premiere of Nouveau Criminals by Edna Mazya at the National Theatre   

"Virginia Mirea plays an exceptional role in Dorina! "Nouveau Criminals" is a delightful evening show, from the category of those who transport you into the characters’ adventures and, in the end, you are actually returning happier. Not because the people were out of trouble, but because you had a more than interesting inward journey!"

Eveline Pauna, Blog - Nouveau Criminals   

"The actors are brilliant. In the role of Dorina (the house mistress), Virginia Mirea performs a tour de force, with special vocal inflections, with movements on many levels of the soul, which always put her in the spotlight. Devoted to comedy, the actress performs in a touching way, whereas the drama, the paradox of the situation, the hilarious moments abound and confer devilish rhythm to the play.

"Caramitru's directorial vision focuses on classicism without frivolity, although he enacts frivolity!" The director does not shy away from the length of the play, shortening it, but assuming it and rendering it dynamic through alert rhythms. The actors' performance is directed to detail and spicy details tell us about typology. There is a refined chaos. Nothing is excessive; it is exactly as it should be.

The play and the show are condemned to success!

Dinu Grigorescu, The Radio Theatre Magazine - Humour in the Good Tradition of Jewish Drama  

"On a bench in the park, she meets Naomi at night , a prostitute, who attracts her into an adventure that is incompatible with the nature and conceptions of the gentle Dorina. And here is the source of the comic in this - basically - sad life story, in the situations arising from the awkwardness of Dorina becoming a criminal in her own house, unlawfully changing her purpose. How Virginia Mirea, (...) performs this transfer of identity for the sole purpose to save her family from financial disaster is both charming and full of meaning.

The actress’ comic range is extensive. Her humour is special, endowed with spontaneity, but also with subtext-controlled outbursts, melancholy pensiveness, worthy of a lyrical comedy. This includes the ending, where we witness her resigned in an inmate uniform, of the faultless guilty, who forces the others to rediscover the true Dorina. (...)

Fabulous in the performance of the venerable Alexandrina Halic, invited in the show, Anca remains one of the most lovable characters of the show through the ineffable steam brought to the stage by this vaguely amnesiac granny, off-beat, full of quirks and anachronistic coquetry".

Doina Papp, Truth - How TheyBecame Criminals and Who Are They ...  

"The first thing I frantically enjoyed about ”Nouveau Criminals”, the most recent premiere of the ”I.L.Caragiale” National Theatre of Bucharest, was the lighting (light design: Chris Jaeger). After a series of shows – at other theatres – where the stage lighting was so … intimate that it was verging on blindness, finally have we been able to see (without ocular efforts) both the actors and the scenery. Then, I also liked grandmother Anca – an impressive creation by Alexandrina Halic. This senile old lady, who always wants to go home and who appears in the most inappropriate moments, contains the greatest dosis of humour in the comedy written by Edna Mazya and directed by Ion Caramitru. She does not frolic, she does not look ridiculous, but it is enough for her to cross the stage and the audience dies with laughter". 
Gabriela Hurezean, Muses and Arms - Premiere at NTB: Criminals, from Nora to Dora   

Virginia Mirea (former actress of the Comedy Theatre, who made her debut on the National Theatre stage in this role) has everything she needs to credibly impersonate Dorina in her sixties, especially naive bordering on tenderness and a natural gentleness  in speech and movement, alternating with small hysterical tantrums. Meaning the ideal background for comic effect, for the change faced by the heroine who acquires stability, confidence and courage, as her business grows and the feeling of her own usefulness increases.

"The Nouveau Criminals" is a tragicomedy about the failures and the struggle for the survival of each character, not only Dorina’s. And about the temptations that can ensure everybody a better and more comfortable life. "

Luciana Antofi, Blog - Vaudeville Show on the Grand Stage: "The Nouveau Criminals "of the National Theatre  

"(...) A painting at least bitter and far from being comic, don’t you think? And yet Ednei Mazya's text succeeds in extracting everything out of this dark and depressing cone and conferring it a brighter and more digestible note. The show of the National Theatre of Bucharest adds extra brilliance due to the exceptional enactment and the cast that honours Romania's first dramatic scene. Ion Caramitru, who signs the show's direction, proves to be a refined observer of human character, but also a balanced drama creator. The nuances and the finest subtleties of the actors' tones, which are clearly outlined by the director (it was also expected, given his mastery as an actor) can be noticed. 

Virginia Mirea, one of the stars of the Comedy Theatre, joins the National Theatre troupe and assumes the role of Dorina, the true family head of the Spector family. A strong Jewish woman, determined to do anything to save her family from a destitute fate, Dorina turns to subterfuge, lies and, ultimately, luxury prostitution. The refined and yet powerful performance by Virginia Mirea turns this role (along with Zoia in the "Zoika’s House") into perhaps the greatest artistic achievement. For nearly three hours, the actress charges herself with energy, reaching finally an acting explosion combined with an implosion of the character - aspects that emphasize the emotional character of this unforgettable stage evolution".   

Tudor Costin Sicomas, Radio Theatre Magazine - If we didn't laugh, we would weep   

"With a good intuition of the paths towards success and an inspired cast, with the knowledge of measure and of avoiding concessions to bad taste, director Ion Caramitru succeeds in levelling the team of actors of different ages and various layers of professional backgrounds, manifestly transmitting the joy of performance to almost each of them. From here, the moments of grace on stage and of contagious laughter in the hall, generated by the complex and exceptional performance of Virginia Mirea in the lead role, by the image of talent, of comic instinct stated at different ages by Ileana Olteanu, Diana Sar and Cosmina Olariu, alongside Afrodita Androne and Teodora Mares, or, as a pleasant surprise, by eighty-year-old Alexandrina Halic, or supported by the frequently engaging retort given to the stage partners by Silviu Biris, Andrei Finti, Alexandru Hasnas, Mihai Verbitchi and Daniel Badale".

Ion Parhon, Scrisul Romanesc, May 2019 – Three Bucharest Premieres  

"Edna Mazia sanctions through circumstance humour the routine marital relationships.  The relationships between parents-kangaroo and the children of the Y generation of our days, the young people eternally dependent upon mother’s and father’s allowance. But mainly, the temptation of easy money, achieved quickly, through illicit means. Beyond the ripples of laughter, the authoress gives the spectator food for thought".

Magdalena Bratescu, Gazeta Romaneasca, Tel Aviv, June 2019

"Ion Caramitru assembles a coherent show, authentic down to the smallest details, located at the liminal realism of writing, stirring both good mood and sadness. Relying on the actors, enhancing the virtues of each of them, he succeeds in poignantly highlighting the characters.

Virginia Mirea portrays Dorina with conquering variations of tones and mimics, offering disarming samples of honest performance, intensely lived, without theatricalities and useless complications, achieving a spontaneous role, of an acute emotional combustion.

... a show with nerve, pace, benefiting from the refined choreography of Florin Fieroiu, with a plot capable of maintaining the interest of those present in the hall".

Dana Pocea, Luceafarul de dimineata, April 2019 


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

Participation in the Romanian Comedy Week Festival in Brasov, 2021

Virginia Mirea - Best Actress Award - Romanian Comedy Week Festival of Brasov 2021

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