Current Repertory

The Welkin

by Lucy Kirkwood

The Welkin

by Lucy Kirkwood

Translation: Andrei Marinescu
Gelu Colceag
Assistant Director:
Magda Catone
Liliana Cenean
Ştefan Caragiu
Sound design:
Călin Grigoriu
Lighting design:
Bogdan Golumbeanu, Laurențiu Iordache
Roxana Colceag
Technical Director:
Marcel Bălănescu

Premiere: 04.10.2022

Duration: 2 h / Pause: No


50 lei

30 lei (cu reducere pentru elevi, studenți și pensionari)

"The Welkin" is a show that has the energy of a thriller, the tension of a court drama, the irreverent humor of a smart black comedy and the deep force of vulnerability. Lucy Kirkwood manages to turn a suspenseful story about a death sentence in eighteenth-century Britain into a relevant and acute commentary on today's society, prejudice, inequality, discrimination and the struggle for power. Her play is a plea for those who are still unseen and unheard. At a time when women were defined only by their role as mothers or wives, when Sally Poppy is sentenced to be hanged, “a jury of matrons” is assembled in a small British town. The verdict of guilt had been given, but it depends on the matrons whether her sentence will be death or deportation, if it is found that the accused is pregnant. This was the only court in which women had the right to decide.  

The play offers an effervescent debate about guilt and moral responsibility, about justice and life and death decisions, about laws and seedlings to be weeded, about rights and teething children, about divinity and healing ointments.

In a dynamic of pros and cons, the discussion about Sally's pregnancy turns into a passionate discussion about roles in society, then and now, all under the pressure of an angry crowd shouting their desire for blood and show of death.

Through the stories of some women who live their truth to its fullest, between the welkin and the earth they work hard, between the absolute and the daily burdens, real, brave, imperfect, bold and surprising characters are brought on the stage of TNB who, with humor, emotion and intelligence, overturn preconceptions, prejudices and makes us look more closely at each other.

Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu


Photo Florin Ghioca

Sally Poppy: Aylin Cadîr
Alexandra Sălceanu
Elizabeth (Lizzy) Luke: Tania Popa
Charlotte Cary: Ilinca Goia Emma Jenkins: Mirela Oprișor
Sarah Smith: Erika Băieşu Sarah Hollis: Medeea Marinescu
Judith Brewer: Raluca Petra
Magda Catone
Helen Ludlow: Ana Ciontea
Kitty Givens: Rodica Ionescu Hannah Rusted: Carmen Ungureanu
Peg Carter: Brânduşa Mircea Mary Midlleton: Raluca Petra
Victoria Dicu
Ann Lavender: Lamia Beligan Mr Coombes: Marius Rizea
Mr Willis: Mihai Calotă The Judge: Daniel Hara
Mihai Munteniţă
Lady Wax: Marcela Mateescu

"The author is a star of world drama, born in 1983, adorned with all kinds of awards after her debut on London stages in 2008, as the theatre's exceptional program informs us at length. This alone fully justifies the play's inclusion in the repertoire and motivates the great director Gelu Colceag to show his muscles and all his skill in a series of scenes that overload the actresses - 13 of them. True moments of individual and collective performance at the same time!

The scenic movement (Roxana Colceag) is directed with the utmost scrupulousness, enhancing the effort of a cast that is totally dedicated to the eternal feminine.

The costumes (Liliana Cenean) dress the characters almost symmetrically with the fashions of the 1600-1700s, the differences being only of social class, and all the technical accessories, the apocalyptic tricks (sound design: Călin Grigoriu, lighting design: Bogdan Golumbeanu, Laurențiu Iordache, technical direction: Marcel Bălănescu) and the set (Ștefan Caragiu) contribute to the construction of a wide-ranging, solidly constructed, inventive performance that holds the audience's attention primarily thanks to the creative effort of the performers who open and close the show, complementing each other for two hours without a break with fiery dialogues and ample monologues, to which are added subtle silences, as well as songs.

Thus, with an important international playwright, an exciting text, a star cast and a strong direction, the National Theatre ends successfully this 2022 season."

Dinu Grigorescu, Rinocerul Magazine – The Welkin, at NTB  

"Two years after staging "Guilty. Not Guilty. ", a show based on the long trial debate in the famous "12 Angry Men" (the script signed by Reginald Rose, dramatized and performed over the years on many stages around the world, written for Sidney Lumet who shot the famous film of the same name in 1957, after which Nikita Mihalkov signed, half a century later, the Russian film "12" in 2007), Gelu Colceag comes to the stage of the National's Atelier Hall with another dramatic trial by dozen, from Lucy Kirkwood's play (which premiered in the UK in 2020) "The Welkin".

Twelve women who measure their individual strengths and freedoms one by one in an attempt to establish a unanimous verdict, each striving to participate decisively in the deliberations, putting their best foot forward and seeking to keep their most unsuspected secrets from this curious and unforgiving audience (to whom they will yield, naturally, one by one), in the hope that she will soon return to the business from which she has been wrested and which awaits her quietly to be completed as soon as she decides Sally Poppy's fate.

A colorful picture of women hanging on the wall of history, even a dramatic one, which will be admired in decades to come, as an encouragement, by women who will find justice only because other women before them managed to change something for the better, when the opportunity arose, in their own kingdom, now painted in the hopeful colors with which comets cross, less and less reluctantly, the celestial vault."

Luciana Antofi, Blog - Sometimes it's hard to look at the Sky and not believe in it: Justice and Vulnerability on The Welkin at NTB 

"The Welkin (well translated by Andrei Marinescu) thus combines the construction of a "courtroom drama" with the formula of social theatre, exposing, directly and indirectly, the unseen costs on women of patriarchal societies (in which we still live, especially in Romania, where men are the clear majority in politics and in all the leading positions, in all the ministries, town halls, institutions, in the Romanian Academy, in all the theatres and artistic councils, in UNITER and the rest of the artistic unions, with women as the executors who often have to do their work).

The revelation of the show, however, was not the performance of these veterans of the National Theatre of Bucharest, whom I expected to play very well, but Aylin Cadir, playing the condemned Sally Poppy, a savage of a woman to whom many of the jurors hold a grudge for petty thefts and various immoral acts. I mean a sort of Eliza Doolittle who met a devil, not Pygmalion. I have often noticed Ayline Cadir's scenic presence, originality and charisma on the stage of the Bucharest National, and I have always thought that she is an actress with promise."

Alexandra Ares, Liternet - Witch speech, The Aunts of feminism and many female troubles - Aylin Cadir shines on The Welkin  

"Most of the time, you leave the theatre in a state of mind, and that's what happens when you linger among the last spectators who leave the Atelier hall of the National Theatre from Bucharest, after the performance of "The Welkin". You feel overwhelmed with questions, but you can also feel wonder and admiration at the same time. Yes, it's worth spending two brilliant, brave, bold and intelligent hours. The performance by the predominantly female cast is a credit to the author, but also to the stage director who has made the most of the potential of the artists in the cast.

...Gelu Colceag was not content with capturing the tone, the British air, and accommodating it to today's tastes, but he overdid the thriller and enhanced the talent of the stage presence.

... The heroines face the spotlight, presenting their "personal files" to the public by themselves. Kirkwood's writing quickly and deftly differentiates them, as class, wealth and fecundity distinctions shift power around the group. The stage setting recalls the aesthetic of an 18th-century Dutch painting; initially, the jurors emerge from the darkness and seem to choreograph fascinating tableaux on the small stage.

Gelu Colceag's staging illustrates the fine understanding of the text, the discretion and the weight of the directorial means. Not far from our metropolitan bubble, "The Welkin" at the National Theatre in Bucharest imposes into circulation a text to which the entire team will certainly ensure a long (artistic) life."

Mădălina Dumitrache, Bel-esprit - Archaeology of female grief - "The Welkin"  


Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu

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