Current Repertory

Twenty years in Siberia

after Anița Nandriș-Cudla

Twenty years in Siberia

after Anița Nandriș-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

12 Jul 2020 (Amphitheatre) 21:30

Sala Amfiteatru

50 lei

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„20 Years in Siberia” is a show about the destiny of a peasant woman from Bucovina, who was the author of one of the most important testimonials about the ordeal from the Soviet Gulag. Aniţa and her entire family were also among the 13.000 Romanians from the north of Bucovina, who lived the terror of deportation in June 1941. She lived through the regime of famishment, disease and hard work in a very harsh environment, managing to bring up her sons and return to her native land together with them in 1961. Her memoir book was printed only after 1989, in Romania, at the Humanitas publishing house and was awarded the „Lucian Blaga” Prize of the Romania Academy. It was translated in various languages of International circulation. „After such a book, any inferiority complex we have as a nation should disappear”, Monica Lovinescu assessed.

Brought on stage at the NTB, the story gives shape to a show which rouses the benumbed consciences and unveils the terror of communism. It is an invitation to discover the true magnitude of this rod of the twentieth century, upon which today many project a sweetened and nostalgic vision.

In the dramatic interpretation of Amalia Cioran we will discover a simple peasant woman, endowed with a writing fluency and a spontaneous way of telling a story, which makes the talent of many renowned artists fade. Without being heavy-laden with hate or imprecations and without ever pronouncing the word „communism”, Anița/Amalia attunes her thoughts and experiences to an exceptional artistic performance, which reveals „the decidedly aristocratic stature of the Romanian peasant”, as Ștefan J. Fay said.


Translated by Chira Manuela Cristina

MTTLC, University of Bucharest

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Amphitheatre 21:30 Buy tickets
: Amalia Ciolan                     

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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