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Cousin Shakespeare

Text: Marin Sorescu

Directed by: Radu Boroianu

Co-Director: Raluca Păun

Set Design and Masks: Sanda Mitache

The Choreography: Mirela Simniceanu

Music: Cătălin Ștefănescu

Publications and concept assistant: Conf. univ. dr. Marina Roman

Ethnography consultant: Acad. Sabina Ispas and Cristian Mușa (researcher at the Romanian Academy)

Clowns, Mary/Valy, jugglers, courtesans, tarabags, ghosts, mares, witches,

grops etc: actors and acting students (University of Craiova)

Cast:: Claudiu Bleonț, George Albert Costea, Marian Politic, Iulia Colan, Ramona Drăgulescu, Alina Mangra, Eugen Titu, Dragoș Măceșanu, Ștefan Cepoi, Nicolae Vicol, Claudiu Mihail, Cătălin Vieru

Duration of the show: 2h 17 min

Word of the Director

          There are still, there are still disturbing images in deep Oltenia, often forgotten or, worse, degraded by ignorance. I don't know if you have heard of or visited the cheerful cemetery in the village of Pietriș, Baldovinești commune, Olt county. The special trophies, in colours that immediately provoke joy - notwithstanding the need for the accompanying texts by Stan Pătraș from Săpânța -, for whose hypothetical realisation, today, two craftsmen, accomplished artists, still live and work, are unfortunately crowded with concrete crosses insensitive to the dramatic semantic difference. They, those troughs, will be for us a powerful element of imagistic accompaniment with multiple meaning. Here is another element of Oltenian mysticism. The ancient settlements of this territory were organised with their backs to the water, the water was not bagatelised, vulgarised domestically in its course as elsewhere. And I recall that Brâncuși, having arrived in Târgu Jiu from Paris to build the Endless Column, marked by the existence of a church nearby, and having reached the bank of the flowing Jiu, turned his back to it and to the symbols of water and laid the beginning of an Alley of Heroes, a Path of Meditation, in short, a Table of Silence, of first recollection. Of silence and prayer linking the mystique of water to the sacredness of the sacrifice for others, of heroes. The Oltene fountain is not only the common well with a well for watering the thirsty or the souls of toil, but often miraculously preserves a true environmental architecture that once designated the place where the ritual took place. The visual artists Cristian Floriganță and Florin Constantinescu are the ones who bring these archetypal patterns into the projections.

          Actors will wear, in the sense of commedia dell'arte or Elizabethan theatre, masks on their handles. The Shakespeare and Sorescu performers will each wear the mask of the other, choosing specific lines when, to emphasise the similarity, they will say the line for the other. As the other. The Shakespearean jester, the resonator of the whole, will lead the whole performance, taking over other characters from all the registers imagined by Marin Sorescu. The voice, however, remains separate. He's just Sorescu's backing voice. As the archetype of the Oltean of always and for the future, full of fun and trouble, wise and joking, full of meanings and sub-meanings, as the great actor and man of spirit Amza Pellea had invented that incomparable Nea Mărin from whom I wish to emerge the Sorescian Voicea. In my vision, the desaga becomes not just a symbol, but a separate character, the shadow and companion of Voicea. Besides, the archaic Oltean - and the Greek așijderea - walks proudly ahead, often whistling like a pagubă, but demurely and modestly behind him comes the wife with the shopping bags. At home, in privacy, the roles are reversed, the wife runs the household. This is the relationship between Voicea and his Desaga. The masks and interchangeability, the grouping of the characters into coteries and their choreography will double the meaning of the words and the video and photo images. Together with the exceptional choreographer Mirela Simniceanu we explained/superadded through danced movement (with folklorically inspired music by special Cătălin Ștefănescu!) the deep meanings of the Sorescian subtext.

          I will now describe the Bâlci or Iarmaroc, which is the symbolic place of the scenic action, in the same way that the photographs or films complement the poet's text. In this very colourful and ancient form of popular performance, the commedia dell'arte, the Elizabethan theatre and the first form of Romanian popular theatre with puppets or marionettes also originated. It is the ideal meeting place between tradition and the present, suggested, between Shakespeare and Sorescu. And set designer Sanda Mitache is, without a doubt, the most ingenious mask creator of the theatrical moment. The gag, like the special dedication to Apa Vie, puts it, as did the authors of the photographs and videos, under the sign of two exemplary sayings. The first belongs to the ethnologist and thinker Ernest Bernea, father of the great painter Horia Bernea: "Fountains are the eyes of the earth in which the sky mirrors its face." The second saying is by the priest Octavian Schintee: "The fountain must remain what it was from the beginning, a ritualistic, mystical object."


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