Entries tagged with “theater”.


M-am simtit in acea seara dintre putinele petrecute in scurta mea vizita bucuresteana de acum cateva zile, ca transportat si transfigurat in timp cu vreo patru decenii si mai bine in urma, in anii de vraja in care Liviu Ciulei impreuna cu o cativa colegi regizori de mare talent, profunzime si curaj si cu o echipa de actori care aduna impreuna unii dintre cei mai mari actori ai multor generatii ale scenei romanesti de la Clody Berthola trecand prin George Constantin si Stefan Iordache pana la Florin Pittis si Ion Caramitru, creasera la Teatru Bulandra unul dintre centrele de greutate ale teatrului lumii. Incerc sa evit cuvintele mari si voi spune doar ca in acei ani am vazut pe cele doua scene ale Teatrului Bulandra – cea din Gradina Icoanei si cea de langa Podul Izvor multe dintre cele mai bune spectacole de teatru cu care am fost si voi fi binecuvantat vreodata.

 

sursa http://agenda.liternet.ro/articol/18952/Mihaela-Marin/Galerie-foto-Omul-cel-bun-din-Seciuan.html

sursa http://agenda.liternet.ro/articol/18952/Mihaela-Marin/Galerie-foto-Omul-cel-bun-din-Seciuan.html

 

Revederea cu spatiul din Gradina Icoanei este intr-un fel pentru mine o calatorie in timp. Uitasem de adancimea scenei. Imi amintesc spatiul ca multi-functional si flexibil ca pozitie a scenei – ‘Elisabeta’, ‘Furtuna’, si altele cred, mi le amintesc cu scena in mijloc. Acum insa se revine la configuratia ‘proscenium’ si la sala in panta, ceea ce aduce actorii mai jos de ochii majoritatii publicului. Intr-o perioada in care fragilitatea constructiilor in care isi joaca de multe decenii spectacolele teatrele romanesti de traditie, sala din Gradina Icoanei nu este – sper – amenintat acu vreo relocare sau inchidere, desi foierul si caile de acces tare ar mai putea beneficia de o renovare. Pentru mine a fost parca un motiv in plus de nostalgie, dar indisponibilitatea unui program de sala pentru un spectacol de o asemenea tinuta cum este ‘Omul cel bun din Seciuan’, care se joaca de mai bine de un an, si care a apucat deja sa fie premiat cu un important premiu al anului teatral care a trecut, a adaugat un element ne-necesar de reamintire a timpurilor de restriste.

 

sursa imaginii http://stiri.tvr.ro/happening-marca-andrei-serban-la-muzeul-de-arta-contemporana-din-capitala_33641.html

sursa imaginii http://stiri.tvr.ro/happening-marca-andrei-serban-la-muzeul-de-arta-contemporana-din-capitala_33641.html

 

Nu l-am cunoscut niciodata personal pe Andrei Serban, dar am totusi cu el o intersectie biografica interesanta. Prin anii 60 invatam in particular engleza de la aceeasi profesoara – Doamna Ghinopol, fie odihnita, o femeie cu o biografie franta de o condamnare politica, singura ei vina fiind ca in anii imediat de dupa razboi lucrase la Biblioteca Americana. Eu eram un baietel in pragul adolescentei cand dansa imi povestea despre perechea de prieteni – un tanar regizor extrem de talentat, si un critic de teatru pe masura – care ii sunt elevi si de care era extrem de mandra. Cativa ani mai tarziu numele lui Andrei Serban si George Banu incepeau sa faca istorie in teatrul romanesc, si apoi in teatrele lumii. Engleza invatata de la profesoara noastra comuna a fost suficienta pentru a-i permite lui Andrei Serban, ajuns in lumea cea mare in 1969, sa frecventeze studiile cu Peter Brook si apoi sa realizeze in 1971 prima sa punere in scena importanta in Statele Unite, cea cu ‘Medeea’ la teatrul ‘La MaMa’ din New York.

Andrei Serban a fost in Romania si in acest an si am avut ocazia sa-l vad intr-un interviu televizat. Pare mult mai tanar decat cei 72 de ani pe care ii are astazi, si tineretea sa nu este doar fizica si ci spirituala, si pare sa vina in mare parte din interior. Seamana mult fizic cu Paul McCartney, unul dintre cei doi supravietuitori Beatles, dar isi poarta varsta (foarte apropiata) mult mai bine decat acesta. Dar inainte de toate pare a fi in plina forta creativa, si ‘Omul cel bun din Seciuan’ la Teatrul Bulandra este o excelenta dovada.

 

sursa http://www.danasota.com/omul-cel-bun-din-seciuan/

sursa http://www.danasota.com/omul-cel-bun-din-seciuan/

 

Andrei Serban descifreaza textul lui Brecht dintr-o perspectiva contemporana care combina politicul cu umanul. Personajul principal, tanara Shen Te din Seciuan, este pusa la proba de zei, asa cum se intampla intotdeauna in teatrul lumii de la clasicii greci incoace. Este ea ultimul om bun de pe suprafata planetei, cea a carei bunatate poate salva omenirea, macar in ochii zeilor? Ea se va stradui, dar sunt oare suficiente bunele intentii in lumea in care traia Brecht sau in lumea in care traim astazi? Inactiunea este condamnabila din start. Actiunea insa are de multe ori consecinte neasteptate si contrare intentiilor, lumea este construita stramb si oamenii sunt manati de interese meschine, cel care actioneaza in numele binelui este folosit, furat si manipulat iar actiunile grupurilor sociale protestatare nu numai ca nu dau rezultatele asteptate dar se intorc impotriva celor care ar trebui sa beneficieze in urma lor. Putem discuta desigur daca intrebarile puse de Andrei Serban in mod destul de explicit despre protestele sociale de acum cativa ani si ‘primaverile’ de tot felul care s-au transformat repede in toamne reci si ploioase prevazand ingheturile iernilor, sunt puse dintr-o perspectiva personala conservatoare. Eu cred ca ele intentioneaza sa genereze o discutie intre spectatori si in mintile si sufletele acestora. Si asta este bine – este unul dintre scopurile teatrului bun, care poate fi politic fara a fi propagandistic.

A trecut vreo jumatate de secol de cand Andrei Serban epata burghezia proletcultista a Romaniei anilor 60 cu un ‘Iulius Cezar’ in stilul teatrului Kabuki, despre a carui moarte lenta, in ‘slow motion’, s-a scris si s-a discutat enorm. In spectacolul de acum am putut descoperi sau redescoperi aceeasi maiestrie a alegerii formei care pune in cea mai buna si mai expresiva forma continutul. Remarcabil este si faptul ca alegerea este facuta dintr-un registru larg de traditii si tehnici teatrale, care sunt combinate intr-un ansamblu de joc actoricesc, muzica, miscare, costume perfect integrate. Si in plus spectacolul distreaza. Teatrul este o arta si o forma de divertisment, si nici unul dintre marii regizori ale caror puneri in scena am avut sansa sa le vad nu omite aceasta – de la Brook la Ciulei, Pintilie, Andrei Serban sau Purcarete. ‘Omul cel bun din Seciuan’ combina elemente din teatrul antic, ‘commedia dell’arte’, circul, baletul modern, costumele orientale, cabaretul perioadei lui Brecht si un fond muzical inspirat dar evitand sa devina dominant. Am remarcat o singura nota stridenta, in parodierea vorbirii evreiesti a unuia dintre personajele negative – o tipologie etnica nenecesara si de gust indoielnic dupa parerea mea. Altfel este de admirat realizarea unui spectacol unitar si consistent care nu ar fi fost posibila fara o perfecta sincronizare a tuturor componentelor spectacolului, fara o munca sisifica si perfectionista la nivelul ultimului detaliu. Rezultatul este spectaculos. Intreaga echipa de actori joaca la nivelul marilor echipe de actori ale Teatrului Bulandra pe care le-am vazut cu decenii in urma. Nu pot sa nu mentionez numele lui Vlad Ivanov (actor urias si pe scena si in film), Ana Ularu sau Rodica Matache, dar facand asta simt ca fac o anumita nedreptate restului echipei, caci toti au fost excelenti.

Un spectacol de mare tinuta, demn de traditia acestui mare teatru.

The Web site in Hebrew of the Beit Lessin Theatre has under the name of the theater an addition which translates like ‘the most Israeli possible’. This is probably kind of a slogan meant to attract audiences and it certainly does, as Beit Lessin is nowadays one of the most popular mainstream institutions of its kind in Israel. It is not necessarily a good thing in my eyes. Israeli when connected to theater unfortunately means for me a very strong tendency to compromise when it comes to the artistic level of the staging, an acting style which in most cases resembles vaudeville or TV satire whatever the genre or the subject, and especially a way to bring reality to stage which targets mostly cheap entertainment and avoids asking questions or raising too touch or in a too tough manner the social or political questions of the day. A very bourgeois approach.

 

source http://www.netoartnet.co.il/Magazine.asp?Article_Id=1075

 

Things are different when it comes to Hanoch Levin – a playwright, director and writer that I just start to discover. Levin seems to have been for the first part of his career the emblematic opposition figure, questioning all the slogans and slaughtering all the holly cows of Israeli nationalism and religion. He later focused on the more human dimension of the Israeli social fabric, the life of the small people, their weaknesses and personal conflicts. His writing is a combination of human drama, sarcasm and comical relief, his heroes live in a double cage, with dreams broken and movements constrained by the chains of the social conventions and the limitations of their own characters. The language is something in between Chekhov and Ionesco, expressed in a beautiful Hebrew, specific to Levin, articulated and somehow outdated.

 

(video source תיאטרון בית ליסין )

 

It is actually the second time we see Melakhat Hahaim (The Labor of Life). The first time it happened maybe 25 years ago, by the time we were new in the country and we were going to our first theater outings here. I do not remember how we chose Beit Lessin but this was the first theater we subscribed to, maybe because it was the most Israeli :-) This play may have been the first Israeli play we have ever seen, we remember very little of that version that is now considered a ‘classic’, it was acted by Yossi Banai and Tiki Dayan, and we must have laughed at the comedy moments, but I doubt we understood then all the details of the text. I now enjoyed it differently, as I could appreciate the sharp but yet compassionate look the author took at the life of couples, at the dichotomy between the fear of loneliness and the compromise of mediocrity, at the acceptance of the unavoidable physical decay, and at the fact that not all dreams can be achieved, eventually most prove to be broken. Levin’s text and the acting of Sasson Gabai made the performance more than acceptable despite the mediocrity of the rest including staging (Roni Pinkovitch) and sets. Hanoch Levin deserves more than what the most Israeli theater can offer today.

This is maybe one of the most unusual texts about a theater performance that I have ever written. It is not only about Shakespeare’s masterpiece, not only about the staging (and I have great references to compare with, starting with Laurence Olivier’s 1955 version in film or the classical staging in the 60s with the Romanian actor George Vraca on stage), but also about the atmosphere of the performance. The play is now staged at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv, together with Richard II which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Both kings are played by the same actor, Itay Tiran, the uncontested star of the younger generation of Israeli theater actors and both performances are directed by Arthur Kogan. 

 

source http://www.calcalist.co.il/consumer/articles/0,7340,L-3575873,00.html

 

The performance today in Tel Aviv had two parts of classical Shakespearean theater and one surrealistic interlude. Seconds after the first part ended with the crowning of king Richard one of the actors returned to stage and announced ‘Do not go to any other place, stay here, this is the safest place’. The Hebrew word he used has a double meaning of defended place and bomb shelter. Many of the spectators laughed at the joke, but some other opened their smartphones to learn that we were experiencing the second rocket attack alarm on Tel Aviv from Gaza in the last 24 hours. That hall of the Golda complex, two levels under the ground is really also the bomb shelter for the whole theater, the sound of the alarm sirens does not get there, but the theater staff is trained to direct people to that hall in case of an alarm. At the end of the break we were told that in case of another alarm the performance will be interrupted, and the people with seats in the balconies are asked to descend to the safer stalls level.

 

(video source cameritv)

 

There was no second alarm, and the second part as the whole performance was one of the best I have seen in the last few years on the scene of an Israeli theater. It’s much better than the pairing Richard II performance which I saw first, it’s a colorful and complex staging, with well drawn characters, which makes a good service to the Shakespearean text (well translated into Hebrew) and brings to life the bloody drama of power and human vice, of glory and moral decay. Itay Tiran is at his best, but so are also Eli Gorenstein (Sir James Tyrell as a professional killer and a lover of classical and opera music descended from Kubrick), Ruti Asersai, Elena Yaralova, Dudu Niv.

The play ends with the monologue of the Earl of Richmond which is to become Henri VII and start the dynasty of the Tudors:

Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days!
Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
That would reduce these bloody days again,
And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
Let them not live to taste this land’s increase
That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace!
Now civil wounds are stopp’d, peace lives again:
That she may long live here, God say amen!

The word England was translated to Hebrew as Eretz. And suddenly the words written by Shakespeare more than 400 years ago seemed so true and so actual. Almost like a prayer. Some of the actors and many people in the audience had tears in their eyes.

 

Was there a real Fiddler on the Roof? This question is being asked by viewers enjoying the well-known musical or the movie inspired by it, or admiring Chagall’s paintings. The historical figure behind the character actually existed, he was was a famous klezmer in shtetls of Russia in the second half of the 19th century and the source of inspiration for a now almost forgotten novel by Shalom Alechem. His name was Stempenyu. The novel tells about the life and adventures of a man whose two passions – for music and for women – marked his whole path in life. It was brought to stage on Broadway in the 1920s and is now being revived on the stage of the Cameri Theater, in an adaptation by Edna Maze (Mazya – I am not sure about the English transcription of her name).

 

source https://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2407

 

I did not read the book, but from what I read around the adaptation is pretty free, the authors having preserved most of the characters but focused on the first part of the story and changed the perspective on some regards. The Jewish world and Alechem’s characters come to life naturally and we recognize the prototypes and they all look immediately familiar, they are our family, our grand-grand-parents – the musicians and their nomad life, the book-keeping wife and the scrutinizing mother-in-law, the absent husband focused on his Torah studies neglecting his beautiful wife who strives foe another life, the student attracted by the modern life and socialist ideas and the hopeless orphan girl never daring to put in words her love for him. All become real on stage in a minimal setting, without too much story building, we there is no need – we have already read and heard this story many times.

 

(video source cameritv)

 

The directing idea is to use no live music in a story which is all around and among music (there is a very well played musical score but it’s a recording). Instead of singing the actors at some points dance or use pantomime, and this combination works very well, creating living pictures of life and characters which express their feelings and reactions not only in text but also or mainly in movement. Above all Yehezkiel Lazarov is excellent in the main role, combining his exceptional skills in both acting and dance. Stempenyu is the closest thing we can get to Yidish theater on the Hebrew stage in Israel today, it is realized in a modern and attractive way and is a performance I do recommend.

 

What is a rock musical? or a rock opera? I confess that I never understood exactly where are the borders of the genres, actually where the classical operetta ends and the musical genre starts. Maybe when it is staged on Broadway? :-) Now when do we add the rock adjective? (Is it an adjective?) This may be a little simpler – when electric guitars and maybe a rock band replaces the violins and the classical orchestra. Really so?

 

source http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4225723,00.html

 

All these questions and some more may be asked around the staging of Next to Normal (Kima’at Normali) at HaBima. The text is written by Brian Yorkey, and the music by Tom Kitt, and the play enjoyed great success on Broadway a few years ago, wining Tony Awards and a Pulitzer prize for drama. The story tells of a mother in an average American family suffering of bipolar disorder, her fall into insanity, the electric shocks treatment she is going through, the effects on her and on her family, the ultimate dismembering of the family fabric and of her personality. The music composed by Kitt fits well the developing personal and family drama on the stage. Both the musical and the dramatic awards seem justified.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osC-fw5SNNo&feature=relmfu

(video source Sasha Dolgof)

 

And yet the next question needs to be asked – is this the proper material for the national theater of Israel? Here the answer is even more complicated, as it would need a definition of what is fit for a national theater, and whether such a concept still exist in the conditions where such institutions face commercial viability criteria. I would say that shows like Next to Normal are not a guarantee for audience success, and the largest hall at HaBima was not full the night we watched the show (second day of Rosh HaShana, scheduled in conflict with the first night of the Champions League matches – I should mention).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN9lphN9t1Y

(video source mgroupofficialpage)

 

How was the show? Not bad at all. Gathering a proper cast for a two hours of intensive acting and singing is not an easy task,  and all the participants get a good grade for the combination of their dramatic and musical performances. Only one of them is a pop star  (Harel Skaat) and I expected him to be good, but Ayelet Robinson was also remarkable in the lead role. Daniel Efrat’s Hebrew version of the text sounds very good in Hebrew, one would not say the play is translated. Director Hanan Schneer built a rather fluent performance, the musical score is well played by a group of musicians led by Nadav Rubinshtein, the only problem was with the sound, voices seemed strident at many moments, maybe a problem of acoustics, maybe the lack of experience of the sound engineers with the genre.  Overall Next to Normal was a pleasant surprise not only as a repertoire choice item.

 

 

The Israeli national theater Habima is back home in its renovated location in central Tel Aviv. The many years of wandering in temporary spaces, the problems with the building and funding seriously impacted the conditions of viewing and the level of the performances for the last few years. As a faithful subscriber I was waiting for the meeting with the old theater in the renewed building with the expectation of meeting an old friend I could talk only by Skype for a while. At last, that moment came last evening. I will begin with the building.

 

 

Unfortunately I could find more detailed information about the history of the building and the new project only in Hebrew, and very little about the history and the location in English. The overall impression is good, the renewal designed by sculptor Dani Karavan keeps the principal lines and ideas of Oscar Kaufman’s original International Style building raised between 1935 and 1945, but integrates it better with the neighborhood, and has an airy and spacy look. The underground parking provides a much better access than before, space for the cars of visitors of the halls in the theater and of the Mann Auditorium (the siege of the Philharmonic whose turn is now to be in renovation) and of the Helena Rubinstein pavilion of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The exit rush was far from the nightmare described in some other reports, but maybe we just were lucky with a less crowded evening. The HaBima complex pairs well with the Golda Center which is located less than ten minutes walk away, to give to Tel Aviv a second focal point of culture and recreation fit to the first (and only by now) great metropolis of culture in Israel. The interiors are also airy and elegant, the crowded and dark corridors of the old theater are gone, although I personally miss the gallery of portraits of the great actors – where are they now? The only darker nuance in the silver cloud is the theater hall itself, or better said the Maskin hall which seems to be the same as before renovation, including known problems like the tall balcony edge that preempts good viewing in the first rows of the balcony area.

 

source http://www.habama.co.il/Pages/Description.aspx?Subj=1&Area=1&ArticleId=15731

 

The play last night was The Beauty Queen of Leenane, by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, premiered in 1996, which enjoyed success on Broadway and East End as well.  It’s a black comedy, mixing realism and even naturalism inspired by the grim landscape and realities of country-side Ireland in the years before the industrial boom of the 90s, family drama, dark comedy and absurd theater. Although the themes are not necessarily among my favorites I enjoyed the mix and the balanced and well paced writing, as well as the professional direction (Hanan Shnir) and acting. The two central characters, mother and daughter, embraced in a relation of hate and disillusions were especially well played by Dvora Kider and Lilian Berto. HaBima is back home, and the theater needs to ger back the confidence of its viewers disappointed or skeptical after all the years of wandering in periphery theaters and of mediocre productions. Stagings like The Beauty Queen of Leenane are not breakthroughs but they can provide the building blocks of the solid performances well chosen from the world contemporary repertory which need to be bart of the re-building process.

 

This is a performance I was not supposed to enjoy. I am not a fan of light and feel-good comedies, moralistic and happy-ending. ‘Harvey’ is a light, feel-good comedy that ends well and tells a few things about morals in our world. Being sold fantasies always rises my suspicion, and this play written by Mary Chase sells one and it’s a big one, one meter and 93.5 centimeters to be exact, with rabbit years as an extra. Broadway successes make me cautions and this was a big hit being represented more than 1700 times on the 48th street between 1944 and 1949. Yet, somehow, the performance at the Gesher Theater works and I am yet to find out why.

 

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il/he/

 

It may be that the need for goodness is so big that one almost automatically sympathizes with people who radiate goodness even if they happen to bring their oddities and the lack of fitting with the world around to their help. Elwood, the character that carries the play may be considered the a-normal but the norm and normality melt quickly under the charm of the text and of the lead actor Avi Greinich, whose performance is so convincing that we almost end by looking aside for a pooka or maybe puca (look into the Wikipedia explanation if you are curious) to keep us company after we step out of the Noga Theater in Jaffo. It’s even more remarkable to mention Greinich’s act as the lead role he entered in was played by James Stewart in the film version premiered in 1950.

 

(video source generic11281)

 

If the magic works this is certainly due also to the rest of the team of actors who all support the lead character. The performance cannot keep the pace for the whole duration of the show, and some repetitions and too much melodrama are visible in the second part. Maybe also the theater hall and stage are too big, I would have imagined the play better in a smaller theater, but then the hall was full on Saturday night, and this is good news for a theater that fought in the last few years with adverse economic conditions. Director of this version is Moshe Ivgy at his first run as a stage director. Actually I am not sure about this either, as his name is not mentioned for some reasons in the leaflet and program for the coming months, so there may have been some problems of a kind or another. Sets are very effective (again, no name mentioned in the program), and the overall impression is that feel-good theater does not necessarily mean bad theater.

 

The Caretaker is one of the first plays of Harold Pinter and his first commercial success on the British stages. Published in 1960 it was strongly influenced by the works of the masters of the absurd theater, especially Ionesco and Beckett. The story brings together a triangle composed of two brothers who take into their houses a homeless who becomes the turning point of their relations and actually of the whole universe of the three. The game of power between the two is played via the third character, in dialogs that combine wit, dry humor with emptiness and despair.

 

source http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/0024-D-65575-00.html

 

The performance at the Cameri theater has many premises to succeed. The cast (Itzhak Heskia, Alon Dahan, Oded Leopold) is well chosen and accurate in execution. The set designed by Eran Atzmon is one of the most inspired that I saw lately, with the post-war England rusty atmosphere being generalized to any post-apocalyptic world. And yet the performance never takes off, the text translated by Ehud Manor (which would be another potential plus) lacks humor and misses the British dryness and despite the original three acts being shortened to less than 90 minutes the show seems too long.

 

(Excerpt from the Clive Donner’s 1963 film of Pinter’s play, with Alan Bates, Donald Pleasance and Robert Shaw -  video source twelveangrymen)

 

Did Harold Pinter’s early plays or the whole theater of absurd from where he found the inspiration of that period lose relevance in the world we live in (which some may say is anyway governed by absurd, so why look for it on stage)? I would rather say that it’s mainly director Yossi Pollack’s failure in creating a performance that matches the expectations of the meeting between one of the greatest British and world playwrights of the 20th century and the best theater in town. Pinter and Cameri deserve a second better chance.

 

The 60s was the decade of hope in the history of Communist Romania. After the frozen 50s which had seen the pick of the repression but also the death of Stalin, the grip of the Communist rule seemed to slowly soften on Eastern Europe. Since the first years of the decade the Romanian leader Gheorghiu-Dej had set the country on what seemed to be an independent path from the Soviet Union, and when he died in 1965 the younger successor seemed for the first few years to continue on the same path. Culture seemed to renew the continuity with the tradition broken by censorship and the strict ideological rules of socialist-realism. Theater was one of the arts flourishing in this decade, especially in Bucharest, although extremely interesting theater was also made in Ploiesti, Piatra Neamt, Targu Mures. In cinema, for the first time a Romanian director received an important prize in Cannes. The name of the director was Liviu Ciulei, and he also was the manager of the ‘Municipal’ or ‘Bulandra’ theater, the best in Bucharest.

 

source http://theactingcompany.org/about/alumni/directors

 

For one decade the Bulandra Theater was the symbol of inventiveness in continuity, of courage and emotion on stage. Ciulei himself directed memorable performances that I remember until today – ‘The 12th Night’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘Leonce and Lena’, ‘Danton’. Each of his stagings were an event, he seemed to read every text in a different way anybody else had read it before, to discover secret meanings, to create a world of magic and beauty on screens. Actors became under his direction wizards and exceeded what they had ever believed themselves to be able to do on stage. He also brought aboard some of the best younger directors and mentored among other Lucian Pintilie, the other great name of the Romanian theater. The saga of the Bulandra theater is told in this article from Observatorul Cultural – http://www.observatorcultural.ro/Cu-ginduri-si-cu-imagini-Liviu-Ciulei-%287-iulie-1923-25-octombrie-2011%29*articleID_26083-articles_details.html

 

(video source magiclamp122)

 

After all promises of the 60s were broken and Romania turned back to progress and liberalization at the begining of the 70s, Ciulei was sacked from the direction of the theater and as many other creators he took the road of exile working for almost two decades exclusively in the West.  The New York Times dedicated to the Romanian director an obituary which pays respect to the man of theater and film and also provides more information about Ciulei’s career after he left Romania - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/arts/liviu-ciulei-daring-theater-director-dies-at-88.html?_r=2&hpw. It ends with the following:

“The most beautiful scene I have ever directed in my career is the last scene of ‘Padurea Spanzuratilor,’ ” he said. “We see a young peasant woman preparing the last meal for the man she loves who is sentenced to death by hanging — a man, a woman, bread, salt and wine, love, life and death.”

Unfortunately I could not find this scene on youTube. Yet I keep it in memory as many other of his creations, especially in theater. The unique magic of the true theater moments on stage continue to live in the heart of the viewers who shared them.


Bad things continue to happen to Habima, the national theater of Israel. The renovation of the historic building was supposed to be ready during the previous season, but it looks like even its inauguration is not sure for this season either. Exiled in improvised halls, most of them below the minimal technical requirements and/or suffering from access and parking problems, the theater seems to be in permanent improvisation mode. What is worse however is that they are making in many cases bad artistic choices.

 

Rami Heuberger and Ricky Blich

(source http://habima.co.il/show_item.asp?levelId=64420&itemId=216&title=&template=1&src=VF/ib_items/5915/pic16.jpg)

 

This is the case of the performance with Irish author Stella Feehily‘s ‘O Go My Man’ which is brought to stage here under the name ‘Monogamia’ (Monogamy) which I saw last night. Even from the title which brings in clear the anagram of the central theme of the play we are faced with one of the principal problems of the Habima choice – the Hebrew adaptation of the Irish author’s play. I confess not to be at all the fan of the Israeli habit of relocating plays in Israel, changing slightly the names of the characters and the seting, sometimes inserting local political jokes. At least the last outrage is spared to the audiences of ‘Monogamia’ but most of what at second thought must be a complex intrigue with a rich baggage of symbols is lost in the translation and localization of the action from Ireland to Israel. The symbol of Alice for example or the character of the Polish immigrant which provides the comic counterpoint are completely lost. In a country like ours where a real and intense conflict is far from being healed even the post-trauma situation of the main character is hard to accept.

 

Amnon Wolf, Dov Reiser, Ricky Blich

(source http://habima.co.il/show_item.asp?levelId=64420&itemId=216&title=&template=1&src=VF/ib_items/5908/pic9.jpg)

 

The audience reacted accordingly last night. I have seldom seen here a performance in theaters where actors are called back at the final applause only once. It would not have happened if the staging of the play did not make the close to two hours (no break) experience simply boring. I am sorry to say, but as much as I like Rami Heuberger as an actor, he is no stage director, maybe not yet. This is obvious starting with the casting, where some clear miscasts are immediately perceived beginning with himself in the main role. He seems to have aimed to copy Jack Nicholson’s appearance without Jack Nicholson’s sex appeal, so it is hard to understand how and why the character played by Ricky Blich (good casting here and maybe the best acting in the performance) falls for him. Why Dov Reiser accepted such a small collection of roles is hard to understand. It’s maybe the economy, stupid, as the actors at Habima were on strike for their unpaid salaries last week. The strike was cancelled a few days before the performance yesterday, but after seeing it I am almost sorry that it did not go on for a while.