By: Marin Sorescu
Directed by: Ilie Gheorghe
Duration: 55 min
Iona, a tragedy in four paintings by Marin Sorescu, is the work about which its author states: "I feel like saying that Iona is me... Iona is man in his human condition, in the face of life and in the face of death." Over time, the play enjoyed a great success, both in the country where it was directed by famous names such as Andrei Şerban and Radu Penciulescu, and internationally, being mounted on stages in France, Finland, Italy, Poland , the United States, Switzerland, etc.
The show conceived and performed by Ilie Gheorghe was staged at the Craiove National Theater in the 1994-1995 season and since then has recorded numerous tours, being brought before thousands of spectators from all over the country, as well as from abroad. He was presented in Singapore in 1995, in Stockholm in 1997 and in Rakvere, in Estonia, in 1998. In 1995, Ilie Gheorghe won the Critic's Award of the International Association of Theater Critics - Romanian section, for the best actor of 1994 , for the role of Iona from Marin Sorescu's Iona.
After the premiere of the monodrama, Marin Sorescu declared: "I am an old admirer of the actor Ilie Gheorghe. In Iona he made an extraordinary show. I think it's the most beautiful show with Iona that has been made so far." After more than twenty years since its premiere, the show, praised even by the author of the play, is being revived on the Craiova stage, in the 2016-2017 season.
"In an archipelago hall, at the National Theater in Cluj, Iona was played, an exceptional text and a remarkable one-man show supported by the actor Ilie Gheorghe (...). An acting demonstration, strong and full of nuances, in which we rediscovered the power of the word and the divine way of speaking, broadcasting, rolling on stage. (...) Iona sits at taifas with the world, with him. He philosophizes deeply, in a seemingly simple poetic language, parodic, sarcastic, with a sometimes comical effect, practically giving birth to fear. Fear of life? Fear of death? (…) In Ilie Gheorghe's performance, Iona 'dialogues' with his own skeleton as a sign of death. With understanding and dark humor. (...) Ilie Gheorghe's recital highlighted both the actor's art and the genius of the playwright Marin Sorescu. Impeccable. The energy of the text and that of the actor both seemed inexhaustible. (...) Ilie Gheorghe identified with Iona. Like Sorescu."
Marina Constantinescu, Literary Romania, December, 1996
"From the darkness, from a pile of enormous bones, rises a human being, illuminated by an enigmatic ray. It's like a birth from a cosmic egg. This being that speaks to us has an archetypal root and therefore a generality of symbol. It is Man who will face his existential condition. At the same time, it is a mythical creature, its name and extraordinary events come from the Old Testament. (...) Iona finds, with astonishment, that no one is free and in complete control of himself. And that truth, freedom, self-renunciation cannot be found until the end, except through the supreme sacrifice of man. (…) In the conception of the high-class actor that is Ilie Gheorghe, the poses of the hero in this monodrama - which conquered several stages of the world and today has two simultaneous performances, here, in Timisoara and Craiova - were sensitized. He values finely, both with vigor in affirmations, with virile lyricism and skillful emphasis, the contingent and the transcendent aspects in relation to the real. It gives substance to the ontological drama. (…) The tension of ideas and the so studied theatricality of the staging, the value of the unique interpretation and the scope of the staging constitute the data of an artistic victory of the National Theater of Craiova."
Valentin Silvestru, Rampa, nr. 21, 1995
"Ilie Gheorghe has long asserted himself as the pinnacle of his generation. This time, through Iona, he painted one of his most juicy artistic canvases."
Marian Popescu, Literary Romania, January, 1997
"The king-word won its place on the stage at the performance conceived and performed by the Craiova actor Ilie Gheorghe, who, intoxicated by the text of Marin Sorescu, Iona, with an impeccable diction supported by the ability to transform the word into a state and support idea, offered the public a performance (applauded to no end) of traditional school and theater resistance, necessary to always be included among the desired national theaters."
Florica Ichim, Free Romania, December, 1996
"A rich, refined show, orchestrated, conceived and performed by Ilie Gheorghe, a real 'state house with its head in its hands, in the middle of its soul'."
Natalia Stancu, National Courier, March 1995
"Through Ilie Gheorghe's voice, crystal clear, strong as a bell, Sorescian words become 'living beings'. The feline suppleness of the performer, the vitality of his game make the collapse of the hero on the night of death dramatic"
Ludmila Patlanjoglu, Store Exclusive, February 1995
"Just as he knew how to draw his roots from the eternity of his native village and return religiously to where he finds the ancestral strength to always start over, in the most difficult but also in the happiest moments, the same way the great actor remained faithful to the Craiova theater, regardless of the fame he gained over time on all the meridians of the globe, regardless of the temptations encountered along the way, regardless of the notoriety of the directors he worked with. Ilie Gheorghe is a tree of strong essence with roots deeply fixed in Romanian spirituality and with branches spread avidly towards universal culture."