„About dogs. Stories with dogs. Monologues for dogs. Conversations with dogs. Poems for dogs. Today we went to a dog shelter near the city. With all the actors. Documentation for roles. A few hours of tenderness offered to the dogs in the shelter. Too few. Photo shoot. Filming. Hopes given to dogs. And finally, abandonment. Each to his own. At the evening rehearsal, however, nothing could be worked on. Something of the actors had remained at the shelter.” (Radu Afrim, during the rehearsal period)
"dog with man. dog without man" is a show that amplifies all the feelings in the recesses that you rarely bring to light. After this encounter with a canine main character multiplied into many mirrors of his humanity, you feel less human, you, with all your merits, mannerisms, clever procedures and gadges coming out of your pockets. And when you wash away your shame along with your hands and face, you take heart and rinse away at least a few of the layers of synthetic skins you've diligently glued over your feelings and you're not so afraid of your dreams, your powers, your anxieties and your weaknesses.
dog with man. dog without man has something of the road through / to hell from Apocalypse Now. The hell of (human) loneliness, the hell of (canine) availability ending up bloody. Maybe that's too harsh a diagnosis, maybe other viewers saw it differently.
It's not a comfortable show at all. Neither to watch nor to play. Not so much the set design (Irina Moscu), discreet & fair, nor the video projections or animation (Cristian Niculescu), nor even the pregnant sound universe (the director, of course) induce the above sensations. It's primarily the text (Afrim's style of dramatisation gives enormous preference to words, from the original novel, almost nothing is cut, everything is spoken) and, of course, the acting. Once fragile, Afrim is unusually brutal here.
No matter how powerful the images of the dogs from the shelter in Craiova embracing the actors in photographs projected on the white wall in the depths of the performance space at the beginning of the show, no matter how impressive the cadence of the steps of the old dog that softens the light in the final episode, nothing equals the harshness of the words, the meaning of the silences, the intensely abrasive character of the gestures (choreography: Flavia Giurgiu) and the voices of the actors.
Mihai Brezeanu, Liternet.ro
“At the National Theatre in Craiova, Radu Afrim makes "dog with man. dog without man" a show that showcases the strength of a band that I would dare say has coagulated over the past few years. There are moments that have me unsettled. Which left me in awe of Afrim as a director, as a writer, as an artist who brings to the fore impeccable actors like Vlad Udrescu, Alex Calangiu, Claudiu Mihail, a new register for Romanița Ionescu, a recital by George Albert Costea, a new positioning of Tamara Popescu and Iuliei Lazăr. The Hermit by Radu Tudoran can always be a great show in its own right. Jewels are also Ochiuc by Dan Coman, Fragil by Simona Goșu, The night between the years by Radu Afrim. I saw this nearly four-hour performance with a full house, as full as the restrictions allow, where no one seemed to breathe, a fantastic fluid kept the actors and audience in a trance and I find this "together" the meaning of theatre. Afrim's actors are seduced by his proposal and give themselves to it without any reserve, right to the end."
Praise of light or something from the year 2021 (II)
România literară nr. 6/2022
"At the National Theatre in Craiova, Radu Afrim plays "dog with man. dog without man" a performance in which he highlights the strength of a troupe that I would dare to say has coagulated in recent years. There are moments that disturbed me. Which left me in awe of Afrim as a director, as a writer, as an artist who brings to the fore impeccable actors like Vlad Udrescu, Alex Calangiu, Claudiu Mihail, a new register for Romanita Ionescu, a recital by George Albert Costea, a new positioning of Tamara Popescu and Iulia Lazar. Radu Tudoran's Hingherul could always be a great show in its own right. Other gems are Ochiuc by Dan Coman, Fragil by Simona Goșu, Noaptea entre ani by Radu Afrim.
I saw this nearly four-hour performance with a full house, as full as the restrictions allow, in which no one seemed to breathe, a fantastic fluid kept the actors and audience in a trance, and it seems to me the meaning of theatre, this "togetherness". Afrim's actors are seduced by his proposal and give themselves to it without any reservation, right to the end."
Marina Constantinescu, Romania Literary Magazine, No. 6/2022