Strindberg Year in the NTF / a centennial in ten days
2012 marks a hundred years since the death of one of the most prolific, original, stirring writers for the stage of the 20th century.
Although often staged in Romania, in the absence of a translation program and critical studies, until recently much of the Swedish author’s work remained almost unknown to the local theatrical milieus / a good reason for the National Theater Festival to highlight the Strindberg Year as a central axis: by bringing in top productions of the last season, but also through a series of related events laid out on several levels (pedagogic, theoretical and editorial), part of the ample Strindberg program initiated last year by UNITER.
The three “chamber” performances in the 2012 / Strindberg, forerunners, successors section of the NTF have already been on stage: Miss Julie, a well-known play by the Swedish playwright, directed by Felix Alexa (on his first collaboration with the Hungarian State Theater in Cluj); the no less known Hedda Gabler by the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen, “read” in Strindbergian key by Andrei Șerban, and Eve of Retirement by the Austrian Thomas Bernhard, for the first time interpreted in a Romanian key by Christian Papke at Timișoara’s National Theater. Surprising at first sight, the mere association of these titles and names may itself generate a topic for debate about the artistic heritage of the Swedish playwright born in 1849, a contemporary of Caragiale’s.
The performance section was accompanied in the current edition by projects submitted by UNITER under the title August Strindberg / a century of (re)reading.
After the happening inspired by the playwright’s last play, The Great Highway, presented at last year’s edition of the NTF, the stage director Ana Boariu and the graphic artist Oana Rill, together with their special guest, the composer and percussionist Francesco Agnello (France), presented on Wednesday 31 October the reading / installation / performance Marriages, in which the actors Anca Androne, Gabriela Iacob, Cristian Iacob, Vlad Logigan, Ioan Mihai Cortea and Elena Păun brought on the stage of the Very Little Theater excerpts from the plays Easter, There Are Crimes and Crimes, Lucky Peter’s Journey, Sir Bengt’s Wife, and again The Great Highway.
A constant presence in repertoires around the world, Strindberg’s dramatic works continue to nurture both the imagination of stage directors and theoretical reflection a century after the author’s death. This can be also seen at the international conference taking place today 2 November at 15 at Bastilia Bookstore (Piața Romană 5). Under the heading August Strindberg / a century of (re)reading, the following will deliver lectures: Elena Balzamo (France), translator and literary critic, corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sweden; Margareta Sörenson (Sweden), theater and dance critic, editor, vice-president of the International Association of Theater Critics; Carmen Vioreanu, August Strindberg’s translator into Romanian; and the stage director Ana Boariu.
The conference will be followed by an important editorial event: the launch of five volumes including 12 plays by August Strindberg, for the first time translated into Romanian by Carmen Vioreanu, a fine expert on the Scandinavian linguistic and literary space, professor of Swedish language and civilization at the University of Bucharest, initiator of reading performance projects based on Nordic drama, herself a playwright and stage director. The series is published by UNITEXT and includes the following: Volume I: Master Olof,Volume II: Lucky Peter’s Journey and Sir Bengt’s Wife,Volume III: To Damascus (I, II, III),Volume IV: The Saga of the Folkungs, Gustavus Vasa and Erik XIV,Volume V: Advent, There Are Crimes and Crimes and Easter.
Another event that marks the centennial of the Swedish author in Romania is taking place on Saturday 3 November at 15 at the I.L. Caragiale National University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Arts, where the NTF invites the audience to the reading performance of Lucky Peter’s Journey, a study coordinated by Vladimir Anton, featuring 3rd-year Acting students from the class of Prof. Adrian Titieni, PhD.
Also tomorrow, an exceptional project of UNITER and the NTF under the sign of Strindberg will come to an end. For almost two weeks (more exactly from 23 October), at the Old Court Museum, in the heart of Bucharest, the stage director Cătălina Buzoianu conducted an in-situ workshop dedicated to the “philosopher creator”, as she likes to call Strindberg, whom she knows better than any other Romanian stage director after many incursions into his works, beginning with the play The Stronger, discovered in her student years, followed by memorable shows based on his plays, such as The Pelican at Levant Theater (1995), The Dream at Lliure Theater in Barcelona and the Sitges International Theater Festival, Spain (1998), The Ghost Sonata at Little Theater (1999), and The Father at Bulandra Theater (2004).
More than 200 young artists from all over the country / students, master’s students, actors, stage directors and set designers / signed up for the workshop whose object of study is the play To Damascus, considered by the stage director “a nostalgic remembrance from my artistic childhood”, “a fabulous, touching text” which she has often explored without finding the occasion to stage it. “I am trying to discover now what I would have done then, but in a different way”, because “the workshop is not for me, but for the others”, says Cătălina Buzoianu, an artist whose well-known pedagogic calling has been confirmed year after year at the Directing department of the Academy of Theater and Film in Bucharest.
After working long hours in groups scattered across the Museum, thus outlining the many places suggested by Strindberg, after passionately unraveling the meanings in the text and the relations between characters, the young participants are preparing now, towards the closing of the workshop and of the National Theater Festival, to reach the end of the road opened by Cătălina Buzoianu, a fascinating road which, in the company of the composer Mircea Florian and the video artist Darie Alexandru, will include the public presentation scheduled for Saturday at 12 in situ.
The August Strindberg / Selected Drama project is cofinanced by the European Commission for the segment including the translation of August Strindberg’s plays.
The August Strindberg / a century of (re)reading project is cofinanced by the National Cultural Fund Administration and is organized by UNITER in partnership with NUTCA, Bucharest Municipality Museum, and the Little Theater in Bucharest. Media partners: LiterNet.ro, Yorick.