Current Repertory

Twenty years in Siberia

after Anița Cudla

Twenty years in Siberia

after Anița Cudla

Sorin Misirianțu
Sorin Misirianțu
Sorin Misirianțu
Light design:
Cristian Simon
Scene director:
Ionescu Adrian Stefan
Organ operator lights:
Niculescu Andrei, Istrate Andrei
Octavian Vasile, Sidorof Dorel
Video Projection:
Boicescu Florin, Simon Constantin

Premiere: 16.01.2015

Duration: 50 min / Pause: No


50 lei

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

Show created within the Programme "The Trial of Communism through Theatre"

Dramatic Monologue by Sorin Misirianțu after the Book "Twenty Years in Siberia. Memories from Life” by Anița Cudla

“Twenty Years in Siberia” - A show about the destiny of a Bukovina peasant, author of one of the most important testimonies about the ordeal lived in the Soviet Gulag. Anita was deported with her three sons to Siberia, to the Arctic Circle, during World War II, after Northern Bukovina had been occupied by the Soviet Union. Separated from her sick husband and mother, whom she would never see again, she survived the regime of starvation, disease and work in an extremely harsh environment, managing to raise her three sons and return with them to the native lands in 1961. Her memoir was printed only after 1989, in Romania, at the Humanitas Publishing House, being awarded the "Lucian Blaga" Prize of the Romanian Academy. It has been translated into several international languages. "After such a book, any inferiority complex of ours as a nation should disappear." (Monica Lovinescu)

A show that awakens numb consciences and exposes the terror of communism. An invitation to discover the true dimension of this scourge of the twentieth century, onto which many project today a sweetened and nostalgic vision.

In the interpretation of a strong drama by Amalia Ciolan, we will discover a simple peasant, but with a fluency of writing and a naturalness of the story in front of which the talent of many well-known writers fades. Unburdened by hatred or curses, without ever uttering the word "communism", Anita / Amalia tunes her thoughts and feelings in an exceptional artistic performance, which reveals the "clearly aristocratic stature of the Romanian peasant" (Stefan J. Fay).


Amalia Ciolan about the show

“I received the book by chance, from a dear friend. I read it breathlessly. I could not believe that the character told so simply everything she had suffered in life. The images unfolded, during the reading, in my mind, frame by frame, and at the same time I was overwhelmed by the most different sensations. As I went through the story, I was convinced that I would have to talk about Anita as well.

That is how I started. Her soul told me all this, and I began to recompose entirechapters of her life into small pieces. That is the only way I could bring her huge creature to life in an hour of entertainment. Luckily, I was supported and helped in my endeavour by director Sorin Misirianțu, my former colleague, who immediately empathized with the subject. I hope that our work will be atribute to all the people who have suffered innocently, through suffering, faced with history”. Amalia Ciolan


Sorin Misirianțu about the show

“20 years in Siberia - pain, hope, despair, detachment, will, struggle, purity of soul, purification through suffering, freedom, divine light. Let us learn to love and forgive those who have caused us suffering. To increase our vibrations, to evolve spiritually, to be reborn. I hope you enjoy this show. Amalia Ciolan is a special actress. I cherish her a lot!


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

The beauty and grandeur of this life story lies in the fact that it does not have absolutely anything thesistic in it. Aniţa does not politicise, she does not dogmatise, she is a soldier in the service of her family’s survival. And here she succeeds, telling us the story in the end. And when Aniţa grows weary, Amalia Ciolan takes over, another messenger left to narrate the story. And she tells it without any breathing space between her and Aniţa – no pea grain can fit between Amalia and Aniţa.

The show is disturbing, moving and extremely motivational. Not like a personal development book teaching you in three steps how to become your own guru. Moreover like a butterfly able to fly on an icy north wind.

Ivona Boitan, Personal blog – Anița Nandriș Cudla, Mother Courage of Romania 

"We are witnessing a media show creating a suggestive atmosphere, tensely emotional, a foundation of messages and symbols with a fertile semiotics. Amalia Ciolan achieves an honest and poignant assumption of this particular destiny, her creation being a pious curtsy to a unique, powerful, inspiring destiny.

The show is part of the programme „The Trial of Communism through Theatre”, as far as I know one of a kind in the Romanian cultural landscape.

I would wish my parents and/ or professors to take their teenagers to see this show, to explain them that life is not only entertainment, vulgarity and the ability to get by; that existence implies measure, decency, compassion, education, solidarity, character".

Răzvana Niţă, – Who is Delivering Us from Evil...  

"The transposition of the shattering memories of Aniţa Nandriş in a one-woman show (enacted by Amalia Ciolan) simply made the stage of the National Theatre available to the events unfolding on the stage of history, which almost excluded the issue of art, meaning search for beauty, remaining obsessively, the mere search of the means of conveying some incredible truths, intense to the point of tears.

I tried to imagine what this show would look like with a single character, almost detached from material strings, on the podium inside the cell of the Sighet Memorial, and I have succeeded: it would be like a victory where history would be defeated and transfigured through art".                                           

Ana Blandiana, Observator cultural - Ion Caramitru and the Trial of Communism  

"Amalia Ciolan’s interpretation is fraught with drama, sometimes pathetic, in the good sense of the word, and it could not be otherwise, as the life of Aniţa Nandriș-Cudla has been a string of tragedies, which she resisted out of faith.

“Twenty Years in Siberia” is about the past, but also about the future and about the only right path: the path of survival, beyond hatred, beyond curses, the path of those living without accepting, but also without forgetting.

Instead of a conclusion, I take a bow here. This may not be the most fraught – with emotions – show in town, but it is clearly – I am writing this quite bluntly!– the most necessary of all".

Andrei Crăciun, Metropolis Newspaper – The Most Necessary Show at the National  

"In an hour minus a few minutes, the Media Hall of the new National Theatre is invaded by the years of the Bolshevik terror: one experiences their sufferings alongside the ones who passed away. The authors of this show succeed in reviving a patch of Eastern inferno, in few words and with minimum material, turning this show into a true indictment of murders which shall never be judged by a real court, as it happened in Nürnberg. This might be a weak consolation to those who suffered, losing their loved ones in the Bolshevik inferno, but for the spectator it is a plea of a different nature than that of the prosecutors: more powerful and authentic, thanks to Amalia Ciolan’s exceptional interpretation".

Nicolae Prelipceanu, Theatre Today no.4-5-6 2015 – A Glimpse of Soviet Inferno at NTB  

"With balanced dramatic tension, without giving in to the sin of melodrama, restraining gestures and tears, Amalia Ciolan persuades. She persuades us of the almost unhuman trials which the character has experienced (even without the concrete story details, which might have confirmed the horror), she persuades us of her faith, the spiritual milestone which has given her the strength to win, to fulfil her vocation.

The support of director Sorin Misirianţu can also be traced in the scenography of the show – simple, but expressive through suggestion (...) The field and blue sky of the Heaven at home – in contrast with the hell fire and smoke from Siberia. Or the bird caught in a wire, clinging with its claws, just like Aniţa, to a destiny… And repetitive tunes, sending chills up one’s spine."

Maria Zărnescu, Yorick - „Twenty Years in Siberia” – A Tribute Show   

"Even if pathos dominates the show, the performance of the actress resembles a ski contest, in which she subtly avoids any exaggeration or, worse, ludicrousness. And this coming from an impeccable acting technique, a technique which she can hide, and from a powerful mastery of emotions which she is revealing to the audience".

Tudor Sicomas, Revista Teatrală Radio – The Most Beautiful Plea for Freedom  

"It is unbelievable how a single actor can express so many states of soul and situation, to bring back to the present the tragedy of a destiny and a people. (...)

In the highly dramatic performance by Amalie Ciolan we discover the nobility, votive wisdom, but above all the dignity of the Romanian woman, bearing the moral and Christian values. Amalia merges with her heroine in pain, hope, despair, will, struggle, soul cleansing, purification through suffering, freedom, divine light. Both teach us to be strong and worthy by forgiving those who have caused us suffering.”

Maria Toaca, Bucovina’s Dawn - Free, victorious, Aniţa Nandriş returns home and from Bucharest  


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu

Presented at the Romanian Athenaeum, in partnership with IICCMER and the Memoria Cultural Foundation, October 2017

Presented at the ”Major Gheorghe Pastia” Municipal Theatre of Focsani, December 2017

Presented on the stage of the ”George Ciprian” Theatre of Buzau, September 2017

Presented on the occasion of the Memory Day, in partnership with the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and the Resistance, at the Sighet Memorial, May 2015

Selected within the framework of the National Theatre Festival– 25th edition, October 2015


Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

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