The book written by actor-poet Dionisie Vitcu is both a reference book (extremely useful in researching the history of “Vasile Alexandri” National Theater from Iasi, and beyond), as well as a creed. A creed of an outstanding servant of the theater, aware of the ephemerality of the stage performance, and by publishing his book, an opponent of passage of time going into oblivion, an investigator of the deep relationship between individual and collective history. The 300 pages contain a lucid inquiry of the self, in its exemplary artistic becoming.
This text in front of you is the translator’s review, a case study, but also a deep analysis of tragedy Menelao (una tragedia contemporanea) written in 2016 by Davide Carnevali. The playwright sees în Menelaus an anti-hero with aspirations of a hero: recently returned after an exhausting fight, the king of Sparta finds himself sliding into an existential crisis which throws him into an endless depression. The plot follows the journey and the devastating consequences of a psychosis generated by post-traumatic shock caused by the war which the Spartan king survived… Without a doubt, the Italian’s writing method slightly touches the unconventional. Right after the list of characters, before the Prologue, the playwright himself carefully places a stage direction which can be seen as a statement, stating the fact that the acronyms and the temporal incongruities must be considered what they are...nothing! The concept of time does not exist in tragedies, just a glimpse which passes at the same time with the epiphany, or which can expand to the horizon of an end which doesn’t take place, for all eternity.
The performance SnowShow, created by Russian artist Slava Polunin, had its premiere in Moscow in October 1993. It won Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and was nominated at Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. Currently, this performance-event has world tours periodically.
The contemporary art can be characterized by the hybridization of the expression forms, by the impressive blend of antagonistic signs and concepts. SnowShow consists of at least two spectacular forms: theater and clownery. There can be observed many overall compositional elements specific to clownery (the characters’ costumes, the expression of the relationships, the artist / audience ratio, the construction of the sequences). Likewise, the dramatization of the theme, the philosophical conceptualization, and the characters’ existence, the presence of various emotions, the placement of laughter and other clown-related motifs in the background are among the aspects indicating the fundamentally dramatic structure of the performance. The initially perceived individual anxiety and the singular nature get general, multiplied proportions. SnowShow is, perhaps, a recontextualization of Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
Sorana Ţopa’s Journal, whose manuscript was donated by Mrs. Lucreţia Angheluţă to “George Enescu” National University of Arts, is not just an unsettling testimony of the qualms that marked the actress’ life, but also an essayistic guide, which can lead us to ourselves. The fragments we have chosen – dated October 31st 1971, November 5th 1971, November 9th 1971 and November 14th 1971 – help us understand that she lived under the sign of empathy; her angsts were generated by the worry for others and the deterioration of man’s relationship with nature. The events of the day go through the filter of reflection on human destiny, seen as a journey between self and ego. Her pages are a plea for a life lived in harmony with oneself and others, an invitation to abandon frivolity, egoism, and to re-establish non-negotiable value axes (“It means not allowing yourself to trade with them”); a return to the natural matrix. But how many of us are able or willing to do this?
I am reading and I am shaken by the actuality of her words, of her vision on (ir)responsibility, survival, humanity; and all these starting from our attitude when we suffer from... “a trivial flu”. I have the feeling that I’ve opened a window into time, to receive a deep warning signal about a trap swallowing us: “An almost bestial, animal-like attention – regarding physical survival, this we know, yes, and we fully feed it. But God forbid the winds of the unforeseeable blow and stir deeper than the surface the murky waters of our consciousness, as our attention doesn’t instantly grow in a significant way! Do not stir dead waters – is a book title that would have tempted me at some point.” Questions spring from between the lines, with the sound of shards.
Sorana Ţopa’s Journal shows us a broken mirror of our prejudices and nothingness, it urges us to feel the smell of “self-awareness”, to accept that life cannot be lived from the outside, or in pieces. Reading her testimonies and confessions must be done in the key of responsibility and accountability, of recovering spiritual dimension.
Sorana Ţopa remains a still insufficiently known actress; perhaps the road to understanding the thoughts she laid on paper is longer than it seems, the vibrations are on another frequency, and the meaning... different. Comments can only push us even further away; “the cinder of words can hurt”. Perhaps the silent, interiorized, multiplied reading will draw us closer, giving some meaning to the liquefied passage of time.
In the last years, the exclusive integration of advertising in the marketing mix has become a word-out manner of acting at an operational level. The autonomy of advertising in the management process has become inherent and, generally, closer to the area of communication than the other elements of the mix (price, place, product). The communication policies of an institution or company have separated more and more from the traditionally recognized marketing component. At the same time, in the case of Romanian theater (and, in general, in the cultural environment), but especially in the sector of independent theater, we can see a novel operational process, whereby not only the nature of the cultural service governs the media plan, but the reverse also applies. “Direct marketing” approaches seem to add an outer layer to the institutional communication segment and to dictate even an artistic-aesthetic direction to the organization.
The individual’s alienation, the dehumanizing relationship with the technological advancement, the communication crisis and the entire theoretical field targeting the current collective psychosis are now moving into a pragmatism which is brutal, cruel, and immediate. The pandemic concerns all of us at the same extent, each of us is directly affected; the enemy is reproducing itself and is felt physically, therefore consciously, on a global scale. It is a lesson about another way of “being”, we are challenged to survive to ourselves according to the principle which is so well-rooted in the world of the theatre: “play this, is you can!” But, “this time of isolation” gives something to us as well, not only does it take something from us. It is a good time for reflection. The vulnerability of the human being proves to be, at this point, above all, the sole meaning of the search. Deprived of its primordial element, the gathering, it requires a return to the sacred nature of the beginning. The contextual reassessment must begin from the actor. The indefinite suspension of the humankind’s right to social interaction is transformed, therefore, from a sign of clinical death of the theatre, into a thorough working formula. We are not launching this hypothesis with the intention of establishing postulates, but we are rather trying to make an anticipative exercise on the edge of a hole, which if ignored, can turn into an abyss.
Analyzing the range of problems that arise from the correlation between the content and the form of a performance, we conclude that most of them are generated by a lack of knowledge and the wrong attitude to the theatrical methodology inherited from the great reformer of the stage - K.Stanislavsky, especially to his latest discovery - the method of active analysis. It uses the method of physical actions as a practical application tool and includes, both theoretically and practically, the whole process of converting a play on the stage, thus helping us find its stage equivalent in an organic way.
It is totally wrong to confuse a method that is so useful in the stage creation process, which is a well-proven technique and a way of conversion, with a variety of new theatrical aesthetics. Until now, except for the empirical mode of creation, there has been only one way of distinguishing a unique and an appropriate form that best reflects the content of a dramatic work – this is the method of active analysis.
This method implies the rational and emotional knowledge of the author’s idea in his work, the knowledge of the thought that goes through every scene and every phrase in it, as well as the emotional attitude generated by this thought towards the events and the characters.