"Zholdak is a great director of actresses. They constitute a veritable gallery ranging from Viața cu un idiot at Livada de vișini, of the Madame Bovary and Nana at Rosmersholm. Here he reveals a unique performer, Costinela Ungureanu, whom he conducts alternating everyday behaviour and lyrical impulses, giving her an immaterial, particularly fragile dimension. Everything in her play attests to the power of her passion for the extension of the sea and the need for love, for extreme dedication. We follow Elida's depression and her desire to free herself from the family environment that suffocates her. She is stirred by the call of the sea as the ultimate chance of survival. Such an actress exceeds the power of words to convey the richness of her play. A poem would be necessary. How I loved Zholdak's Elida..."
George Banu, "The Impact of Excess - Sculpture and Theatre", Dilema veche, 3-9 March 2022
"The performer in this show is Costinela Ungureanu (Ellida). With an all in faith in the director's proposal, she allowed herself to become the stage expression of Andriy Zholdak's brutal will. It doesn't seem to have kept anything to itself; there are no reservations, but a constant four-hour pulse of an energy that fuels every scene, every squirm, every word rattled like heavy wheels under which the bones of consciousness creak. It's intense and powerful performance without a safety net, where control is not a focus, but the fluidity of these states pushed to the violent extremes of artistic expression. The madness of the character, the madness of the director and the madness of the actress enclose in a mystical-blasphemous triangle the incandescent spirit amidst the sea-symbol."
Realizarea Costinelei Ungureanu în rolul Ellidei este imposibil de evitat, fiind un parcurs plin de forță și ludic. În fiecare moment tânără actriță jonglează între mai multe măști, de la figuri umane până la figuri animalice (delfin ori vultur, specifice formelor sirenei). Procesul ei de descompunere este prezentat potențat și agravant cu fiecare moment care trece. Prezența ei pe scenă, timp de mai bine de trei ore, arată o anduranță și asumare de necontestat. Ellida ocupă întreg spațiul prin agitația sa extatică, un animal în cușcă care aleargă disperat în spațiul mult prea strâns pentru el. Sensibilă, îndurerată, înnebunită, Ellida urlă a libertate în fiecare moment, încearcă permanent să-și convingă stăpânul să o elibereze.
Octavian Szalad, “Când o sirenă plânge, o lume e pe cale să dispară” – Teatrul Azi nr.3-4, 2022
"The staging of this text at the National Theatre of Craiova arouses controversial reactions and disturbs a certain type of audience that finds itself in the story and does not know how to overcome the situation. Used lately to online and short performances, averaging somewhere around 1h 30 min, and having a power of concentration during these types of performances, they found the show long, repetitive and out of step with what is usually broadcast or what is seen in the auditorium. The four hours, with intermission, are unevenly divided in terms of the number of actors on stage as well as the set.
At first glance, the objections can be justified: the actors are all present only in the first part, the set design is not the happiest - from certain angles it doesn't look the same, but this psychological show is built on a perfect recipe that makes it extraordinary. A careful, in-depth analysis of all the elements shows that the show follows the structure and grid of dramatic conventions exactly according to a well-established, difficult algorithm, and the result is visible: a modern show created with the help of these small imperfections. The composition of such a performance takes as its point of reference a series of precise rules, of a certain structure and a certain type of behaviour, but only to be broken and to complete a contemporary artistic act."
Georgiana Ene, Metropolis Newspaper
"Costinela Ungureanu (nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award at the most recent UNITER Gala, for her role as Alexandra in Dan Coman's "Heart and Other Meat Preparations", directed by Radu Afrim) is astonishing in her capacity for effort, concentration, speech, silence, singing, dancing, gesticulating, running, hugging, running away. Zholdak's imposed triad seems to have been dynamism - sexuality - communication beyond the stage."
Mihai Brezeanu, LiterNet.ro
"The Lady of the Sea goes beyond the boundaries of a theatrical performance, it becomes a symbol, a metaphor of man's thirst for HOME. The Woman of the Sea is a universe in itself, in which music, scenery, actor, light will materialize things that are not actually tangible. And this is precisely where the fascination it exudes comes from."