THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY

„Amza Pellea” Hall

Translation: Dragoş Alexandru Muşoiu

Directed by: Dragoş Alexandru Muşoiu

Decor: Andreea Simona Negrilă

Costume: Elena Gheorghe

Music: Tibor Cári

Directed Technical : George Dulămea

Blower: Ramona Popa

Premiere date: 15 Martie 2017

Duration: 180 min with break

Genre of the show: Dark Comedy

**show not open to the public under 18 years of age

Synopsis

In a setting reminiscent of Dr. Caligari's office, the characters in The Elephant in the Room or The Vibrator Play discover unexpected meanings in their romantic lives... and beyond. Doctor Givings, a self-proclaimed scientist and Thomas Alva Edison worshipper, experiments in the area of repressed sexuality through the electrical impulses of a device he built. Nothing but a vibrator sends shivers down the spine of Mrs Daldry, a patient brought in by her husband, Mr Daldry, a man of conservative principles, who finds himself smitten by the doctor's wife. Mrs Daldry is suffering from hysteria, and the diagnosis is made quickly and effectively by Dr Givings. Treated with the miracle vibrator, either by the doctor or by his nurse, a woman of... philosophical temperament, Mrs. Daldry returns to the woman Mr. Daldry knew in his youth, but she falls in love with the vibrator and demands increasingly frequent sessions. With such scientific successes, Mr Givings neglects his wife, but takes the time to find his daughter a nanny, as Mrs Givings doesn't have enough milk to feed her. Mrs Givings sees her life as a failure: her baby is breastfed by another woman, and the doctor is more concerned with his inventions than her needs. As a result, she takes matters into her own hands: she enters her husband's office, a sacrosanct space she had previously been denied, and discovers... the vibrator. It's only a step from there to the comical situations that cascade. The show's heroes, who are joined by Leo, a "defective" artist treated by Dr Givings himself, do so with the nonchalance of puppets handled by a sarcastic demiurge. The dawn of electricity has made itself beautiful!

Chronicles:

"It is to the credit of director Dragoș Alexandru Mușoiu to have transformed this modest play into a brilliant performance. He had the remarkable idea of betting on the polyphony of voices. He has constructed memorable scenes, like the one in which all the characters come alive to the melody of Mozart's March alla turca. His most original intervention was to abolish the difference between painting and model. The character Leo, after his rectal massage, regains his desire to paint and takes the telluric black woman Elizabeth as his model. He paints her as a Madonna, but not on canvas, but on her body, which he holds in his arms as if it were his own painting. And the fact that the negress is not black, but painted black, is an interesting one, reminiscent of Chris Ofili's famous Madonna, which caused a scandal by being painted partly with elephant dung. It's a mystery how a piece with no scale can be the pretext for an over-the-top performance. Let's not try to understand, but to enjoy."

Adrian Mihalache, SpectActor, nr 1/2017

 

"The premiere of Sarah Ruhl's "The Elephant in the Room" or "Vibrator Play" at the National Theatre in Craiova is a good opportunity to re-evaluate the artistic and managerial potential of the theatre in Banie, which is about to reinvent itself. Sarah Ruhl, the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning American playwright, is not a frequent name on Romanian playbills. Dragoș Alexandru Mușoiu hasn't reached the stage of consecration either, after a remarkable debut on the same stage (Breaking). Choosing the play with the original title In the next room or Vibrator play, renamed Elephant in the room, the young director takes another step towards defining his preoccupations in the direction of an art theatre with intellectual stakes, aestheticizing in the best sense of the word thanks to the stylistic consistency of his approaches (...)

The cast is a great support for this exciting show in every way. Claudiu Beonț as the doctor, a sort of museum-pumped Faust, cleverly juggles the reality and fantasy of his condition, creating a character whose butaphoria is effectively exposed in the finale when he demonstratively removes his wig to throw himself naked into his wife's arms. Cerasela Iosifescu adopts an affected behaviour (she moves and speaks like a puppet), a sign that the doctor's wife is the first to suffer the effects of her altered condition as a woman. The actress achieves a beautiful creation here. To the other characters, the director assigns caricature masks that the performers personalize through their demonstrated ability to animate puppets on stage, as in the case of Julia Lazăr-Bleonț, the lady in love with the vibrator, and the young man with youthful charm, Vlad Udrescu, a picturesque figure as an imaginary painter disputed by the sentimentally amputated women. Ramona Drăgulescu also makes a reference appearance in the speechless role of the nurse, Angel Rababoc plays an inconsistent salonard character from an emphatic attitude, Alina Mangra, the doctor's strange assistant who contributes to the derision of the "scientific" procedure (minus the frequency and realistic exaggerations of the use of the vibrator)."

Doina Papp, Between technology and nature, Adevărul.ro, March 28, 2017

 

Dragoș Alexandru Mușoiu has the merit of having addressed a challenge to the audience in Banie, introducing them to a bolder, more non-conformist text by a young theatre writer. Who, according to her own confession, reproduced in the playbill of the performance (written by Nicolae Coande), was inspired in the writing of In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play by events that took place in the 19th century. Dragoș- Alexandru Mușoiu's second considerable merit is to have put together what is called a flawless cast. Or close to it. The performances of Cerasela Iosifescu (Mrs. Givings), whom I find again in great form, Claudiu Bleonț (Mr. Givings) more disciplined and more applied to the role than ever in recent years, Iulia Lazăr (remarkable, first of all, by mimicry, with science in Mrs. Daldry), Angel Rababoc (commendable by the superrateratrality of the composition of the role of Mr. Daldry), Vlad Udrescu (expansive, devourer of spaces in Leo), Ramona Drăgulescu (Elizabeth) and Alina Mangra (Annie). Finally, I can't help but notice the credit that the new management of the Marin Sorescu National Theatre in Craiova (general director - Alexandru Boureanu, artistic director - Vlad Drăgulescu) gives to young directors. This season alone we have seen three productions here that deserve attention, by Alexandru Istudor (The Other Country), Andrei Măjeri (The Bloody Wedding) and now Dragoș-Alexandru Mușoiu. To more!

Mircea Morariu, The Praise of Electricity, Adevărul.ro, March 24, 2017

 "The young - and promising, it must be said - director has cleverly employed various comic devices in his show, which has a notable unity despite the multiple mannerisms or meanings addressed. There are throughout the performance elements/moments of ostentatious theatricality, others of absurd mechanicism, melodrama etc... In the Next Room is a well-made show, beyond its minor flaws - all correctable. A raunchy comedy with a savoury subject matter, underneath which hides a little drama. A winning bet for Dragoș Mușoiu and a new opportunity for acting virtuosity for the actors from Craiova."

Claudiu Groza, From the dawn of feminism: a story about femininity, Tribuna, 1-15 April 2017

 

"Just as Sarah Ruhl has taken on a subject that is still taboo, Dragoș Mușoiu has the merit of installing the naturalness of orgasm in a performance that includes the audience in the story. It is fascinating how an immersion in the late 19th century is perceived as a public acknowledgement of a truth that, officially, no one dared to assume...

Claudiu Bleonț is very convincing when he reproaches himself for mixing up plans. On the other hand, the story of the Givings family, a recipe for success in the performance of the two great actors, brings another layer of the play's ideas to the fore: how do we choose our couples in life? Cerasela Iosifescu, with the most homogeneous, in altitude, acting in the show, gives a perfect portrayal of the spouses and underlines the above question."

Marius Dobrin, The unfinished lines of human threads, SpectActor, no. 1/2017

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