Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gala Star Day 3

Ciprian Mistreanu performed an original work which is described on his website as:  "Welcome to museum-prison Rahova!  Today we present the brutes!  Four sentenced to hard labor for life in prison Rahova jailed for crimes they confess to regrets or as something on the agenda. Four sentenced to hard labor for life in prison for Crimes or I Something on the agenda.

Pity, disgust, compassion, or perhaps a perverse sort of admiration. Pity, disgust, compassion, or perhaps perverse sort of admiration. Deep disgust and censure. Deep disgust and censure. Fear and rejection. Fear and rejection. Listen to your story. Listen to your story." (directed by Catalin Chirila). 

The setting in the small studio theatre was very simple a chair in the middle of an area roped off by red velvet cords and posts.  In this elegant setting, Mistreanu was dressed in a tuxedo-like costume with his hair slicked back and a three day growth of beard.  It seemed like he was supposed to play three different characters with small costume changes, but it seemed that he was only playing three characters.
I never saw much difference either vocally or physically.  I fault the director with this.  It was also far too long at 90 minutes.  And it wasn't only the language barrier, as several other of my Romanian actor friends had similar comments.  However it was commendable that he was doing original work.  Perhaps a re-write is in order.  I'm not the only one who felt that way, as I checked out other Romanian blogs as well.  So it wasn't just the language.

Next up was Radu Botar in "Bufonul Regelui" (Fool King) based on William Shakespeare and Victor Eftimlu.  This was a masterful physical and emotional performance in which he took various scenes from Shakespeare's plays ("Hamlet","Twelfth Night", Falstaff  from "The Merry Wives of Windsor", "Henry IV", "Romeo and Juliet", "How You Like It", Shylock from "Merchent of Venice; plus a text from a great, ancient Romanian playright: Victor Eftimiu, from his version of "Mephisto".

Botar wanted the piece to speak to both the past and the present.  This is probably one of the best solo shows that I've seen where the actor is also the director and playwright.  He tells me the idea came from the spirit of Yoric in Hamlet, who he thinks is Clown of Kings.  And in his words the show deals with "the political lies and the end is an invitatition"  for the public to speak out and say NO. 

He started the show by speaking from within a box which could be thought of as a coffin that was placed up left where the theatre had a trap.  Then the box opened and there was a hand, then a skull, then Botar.  It was obvious this was a very well trained actor in physical theatre as there was a great plasticity to both his body and face.   Botar has amazing energy and I was throughly enertained without knowledge of the language.

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