The Marin Sorescu National Theatre celebrated the Ion D. Sîrbu Centenary in 2019, in honour of one of the most important Romanian writers of the 20th century, Ion D. Sîrbu, by staging the performance Adio, Europa!, adapted from the novel of the same name, directed by Bogdan-Cristian Drăgan
A black truck. A man caught in the blinding headlights of history. Candid. Olimpia - a woman who understands everything and wants to save him. But is rescue possible in the 20th century, the century of all possible atrocities? Can you live among buffoons and turncoats? The world of Isarlâk... where everything is possible and nothing has consistency. A show in which "Farewell" can also mean a promise: you will never be forgotten. The Marin Sorescu National Theatre celebrates in 2019 the Ion D. Sîrbu Centenary, in honour of one of the most important Romanian writers of the 20th century. Our institution pays homage to the unique intellectual and writer Ion D. Sîrbu, staging the performance Adio, Europa!, adapted from the novel of the same name, directed by Bogdan-Cristian Drăgan. A reminder of history as farce and tragedy at the same time.
"Whenever a text is staged for me, I suffer like an idiot father, trembling when his son recites, or when his beautiful daughter is proposed to by a beardless zootechnician."
Letter to Virgil Nemoianu, vol. Crossing the Curtain, Ed. de Vest, 1994
Born on 28 June 1919 in the multi-ethnic colony of Petrila, the son of a Romanian miner from around Bradului and a housewife who had come to Banat from Bohemia, Ion Dezideriu Sîrbu had a troubled life, deprived of freedom (prisoner in a camp during the Second World War, political prisoner during the communist period). A graduate of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at the University of Cluj, with a doctoral thesis supervised by Lucian Blaga, the future writer was a member of the famous Literary Circle of Sibiu, a defender of left-wing ideas, frequently sent to the front, only to be arrested in 1957 for "failure to denounce". He was tried and sentenced to one year in prison. In 1958, after serving his sentence in Jilava, he was arrested again for the crime of "conspiracy against the social order" and sentenced to 7 years' correctional imprisonment and 4 years' correctional ban with suspension of rights. Imprisoned in Gherla until 1960, he will be held in the labour camps of Stoenești, Strâmba and Grindu until the end of his imprisonment. He was released in 1963 and in the summer of 1964 he came to Craiova where he was employed as literary secretary of the National Theatre. Here he performed 14 plays based on plays written during this period, coordinated the "experimental conferences", and retired in 1973 due to illness. In his troubled life he ironically considered himself a "multilaterally traumatised Robinson" (Lucian Blaga called him with bitter humour "an athlete of misery", alluding to his years at the front and his miraculous return to civilian life). He wrote his work in an often inclement Craiova, under the watchful eye of the Securitate and numerous informers (from the theatre, radio, the magazine Ramuri, the newspaper Înainte and... the pub Cocoșul de Aur!), but it was also here that he found the support of several friends and, in particular, of his wife, the incomparable Mrs Elisabeta Sîrbu - the character Olimpia in the novel "Adio, Europa!" He passed away on 17 September 1989, on the very day of the premiere of "The Ark of Good Hope", directed by Aureliu Manea, based on one of his best-known plays. The change of political system was anticipated by the writer in his diary, published posthumously. His novel "Farewell, Europe!", also published posthumously, was considered, along with his extensive correspondence and diary, a revelation of drawer literature written in the communist era, one of the exceptional Gulag novels. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Ion D. Sîrbu, Whose was I to support ?, the author's word in the program book of the show "Ark of Good Hope", premiere September 17, 1989
"I thought that some cities or towns were built starting from a small industry, workshop, factory. Our Craiova - in my opinion - was built as a settlement, a city, a municipality, expanding and rising, with its National Theatre as its main nucleus. When I came to Craiova, in 1964, who was I to rely on? I am a professional of dialogue (I believe in the dialectical virtues of dialogue more than in the primary laws of logical judgement), I have served, all my life, as a simple soldier in the army of His Majesty the Romanian Language: who was I to rely on, as an art, a value, a calling, if not on this old institution of culture of the Word, which was, which is and which remains for ever and ever, the Theatre?!
I learned my craft on the theatre stage, I learned my art at the theatre performances, I will learn a bit of eternity also from this old national theatre, which may remember my name after I am gone. I kneel, as after a battle, before its eternal curtain and pray to the goddess Thalia not to forget me and not to urge me...
With best hopes,
Ion D. Sîrbu
Craiova, July 1989”
"... the performance began at 10.30 p.m. and ended at midnight, after which, having passed into the day of the writer's birth, a glass of champagne was festively and symbolically clinked; the audience followed with bated breath the adventure of Candid's life - a spectral Sîrbu, who conveyed messages beyond time, from dictatorship to free contemporaneity.
These are the first impressions: coherence, reconstruction in actuality (as only Shakespeare succeeds without fail); truthful characters, so much so that they seemed to have migrated from the historical time of the novel, becoming alive, actual."
Horia Dulvac, A Balkan Shakespeare. A Caragiale with a killer laugh, SpectActor no. 2/2019
"Angel (Rababoc) seems destined for the role of Candid (Desiderius). And not just by the randomness of his surname but by the expression often present on his face, with an innocent light in his big eyes, a smile spreading across his face. His warm, harmoniously timbred and well-controlled voice, when he speaks to everyone, with friendliness, fits too. Candid in Bogdan-Cristian Drăgan's staging appeared, at the first performance, quite different. Very well calculated this step of a premiere scheduled late in the evening to end just as Ion Dezideriu Sîrbu's hundredth birthday began."
Marius Dobrin, Desiderium, SpectActor nr. 2/2019