19 May 2012,  Articles




This is how, more than a century ago, Caragiale entitled the routine meant to introduce a new theater company.

The National Theater Festival borrowed this optimistic catchphrase to announce the opening of its 22nd edition.

In the footsteps of its illustrious patron spirit in AD 2012, a great fan of the contraries, the NTF is attempting to reconcile the many contradictory faces of Theater: its public face, the show, as well as its secret reverse, the creative lab; the stage lights and the fascination of the backstage world; the strictness of a conference and the colloquial “chat with artists”, the bustling present and the gentle look back on the worlds of yore.

Workshops, open rehearsals and readings, conferences, documentary film screenings and exhibitions, round tables, divans and book launches… For ten days, the National Theater Festival will show multiple faces, all in the name of joys that we would like ever renewed: the joy of watching, the joy of listening, the joy of talking.

The NTF will be anything but misanthropic / not even on the evening Molière’s Misanthrope will be on stage!



Table of contents

This evening, at 17.30, passersby and spectators will be welcomed in front of the Bucharest National Theater by an original “dust jacket” of the Festival: the Harlequin Cart, which takes its name from the statuary group created by the sculptor Ioan Bolborea that stands guard on the BNT esplanade. Four of the members of Antagon theater AKTion company from Germany, joined by four Romanian actors, will give life for a half hour to characters from Caragiale’s world: Rică Venturiano and Ziţa, Zoe and the Inebriated Citizen, Farfuridi and Brânzovenescu will walk among the members of the audience. Well-known situations will be presented by jumping and somersaulting actors on stilts.

The flying feeling, but especially the feeling of detachment from a conventional way of reading Caragiale, will be completed by the inaugural show of the 2012 edition of the National Theater Festival, this evening, at 18.00, on the stage of the Grand Hall of the National Theater.

Can our famous playwright be deprived of his words, of the flavor of his lines, which are now part of our folklore? Can Caragiale’s world be danced to? If it can, what rhythms would befit the Miticas and Master Leonida, Goe or Cațavencu? How about the Mitzas or the grave figures in Injustice? Gigi Căciuleanu answers these challenges with a great challenge of his own: Ta Ra Ta Tam, a choreographic theater show after I.L. Caragiale, in which you will recognize themes from Beethoven, Bizet or Enescu’s works, but also exotic contemporary sounds.

Formed under the direct influence of two of the most fascinating stars of 20th-century dance, Miriam Răducanu and Pina Bausch, an artistic director, choreographer, pedagogue, and recipient of many prestigious awards, among which the Special Award of the Theaters’ Union of Romania (UNITER) (2010) and the ROMAinDANZA Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), with an international career, for more than ten years the director of the National Ballet Company in Santiago de Chile, Gigi Căciuleanu animates, seduces and leaves deep marks in the spirit of the artists he works with. Now on the stage of Bucharest National Theater the young dancers, choreographers and actors Ioana Marchidan, Ioana Macarie, Ramona Bărbulescu, Vanda Ştefănescu, Rasmina Calbajos, Lari Giorgescu, Cristian Nanculescu, Istvan Teglas, Adrian Nour, Alexandru Călin, Ştefan Lupu become genuine dance-actors and expressive performers in an electrifying show under the guidance of Gigi Căciuleanu.

It is also about Caragiale that the other four shows in the section dedicated to the playwright speak, in ways that are either similar or as different as they may be: the living tableaux with a period touch imagined by Mihai Mălaimare for A Lost Letter, a show under the stylistic brand of Masca Theater, or the unusual retro-style dramatization with metaphysical accents by Alexandru Dabija, at the Little Hall of the Bucharest National Theater / a perspective that seems closer to Cristi Juncu’s expressionist reading of Caragiale’s only drama, Injustice, coming from Toma Caragiu Theater in Ploiești, than Mircea Cornișteanu’s A Stormy Night staged at Marin Sorescu National Theater in Craiova, filtered through the aggressiveness of the present day.

Caragiale’s plays and prose will accompany every evening the National Theater Festival thanks to the traditional NTF On Air section. Eight heritage recordings, as well as recent performances, will be broadcast by Romania Cultural radio station, beginning today with Carnival Stuff, directed by Gavriil Pinte (an award winner at the UNITER Award Gala in 2011), until Sunday 4 November, when the memorable A Lost Letter directed in 1952 by Sică Alexandrescu will be aired.

From the nocturnal regime of Caragialean productions to the daytime range of debates about the great author and his works, i.e. about us… The NTF invites you Monday 29 October at 12, to the heart of the city, in the bright, warm space of Bastilia bookstore in Piața Romană, to a round table dedicated to eternal “burning issues of the day”. Four exceptional personalities of Romanian culture, indisputable leading experts in their professions, four persons with impeccable moral profiles, four people of spirit will discuss about The Land of Caragiale. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, political scientist, university professor, essayist and playwright; Ştefan Cazimir, literary critic and historian, university professor, founding member of the Free-Tradist Party; Vintilă Mihăilescu, psycho-sociologist and cultural anthropologist, university professor; Florin Tudose, MD, university professor, psychiatrist will attempt to answer our eternal puzzler: How could Caragiale remain for decades, and now for centuries, always our contemporary?

Last, but not least, Wednesday 31 October at 10.30, another charming space, recently “conquered” by the National Festival, Serendipity Teahouse on Dumbrava Roşie St., will start hosting the seven Divans, beginning with the question Caragiale in his year / showiness or irreverence? The stage directors Mircea Cornişteanu, Cristi Juncu and Mihai Mălaimare, invited to the NTF with shows based on Caragiale’s plays that will undoubtedly stir the zest for dialogue of the theater people, audience members and chat lovers who will step into the teahouse. Initiated in 2011 by Alice Georgescu, the NTF Divans / Chatting with the Artists is a series of morning meetings whose protagonists, practitioners of the stage involved in the selected shows, are invited to tell about their art, make confessions, and bring forward other topics for discussion, in a distinguished yet laidback atmosphere filled with Oriental aromas.

Till the great surprise at the end of this edition, when Caragiale’s characters will again invite us to a theater hall, we wish you to enjoy every show and event in the National Theater festival!


This weekend 

NTF recommends

Sunday 28 October

11.00 Löwendal  Foudation The world we live in, the stages we play on… / a dialogue Ion Caramitru – Dan C. Mihăilescu

Two charismatic personalities in a brilliant conversation about theater, life, and whatever else exists between them.