International Conference of Doctoral School for Theater and Performing Arts and the Research Center of The Faculty of Theater at the George Enescu National University of Arts
Interview with Professor Ciprian Huțanu, PhD – the Director of Godot, Staged at George Enescu National University of Arts Iași
I have known Professor Huțanu since the first year of college and, although he wasn’t my professor, I have always admired the glimpse in the eyes of his students when they talked about rehearsing with him for exams or shows. Recently, when I found out that he was staging a show after a text by Samuel Beckett, I dared to approach him in order to “question” him about my favourite author, who is also the subject of my PhD research, as to say, a serious matter.
This is how I came to discover a passionate man, director, teacher and actor, who mingles these three hypostases naturally, with diffidence. A generous man, who has permitted me to lift up (with shyness from me, of course) the frail curtain of the creation laboratory behind a difficult show, as to the nature of the animation theatre, implying technical rigors, and also to the aesthetic of the approach. I was permitted to attend rehearsals, to ask questions, to discuss, debate, to have doubts and, more importantly, to receive answers from the man behind the curtain, the one who thought and felt the Godot. Below there is a fragment of an interview – part of my PhD study – and, maybe a subjective mirror of the rustle reflected between the spectator and the creator.
We are witnessing a paradigm shift regarding the theatrologist’s position in the Romanian theatre environment. While, until recently, theatrology meant cultural journalism, this definition is no longer sufficient or attractive for secondary school graduates. Romania’s higher education offer has changed increasingly in the last years, in the attempt to keep up with the requirements of the labour market; the solution was provided by the area of cultural management. Every last faculty in this sector covers the new direction of study and research. This article seeks to investigate the existing educational offers, which should allow an understanding and a new complete image of the theatrologist in Romania; in our opinion, this image will have an increasing impact on the national theatre community, shaped, of course, by the new directions of study.
The article is an attempt at applying the concept of counterfactuality, typically employed with reference to narrative forms, to the analysis of visual culture, particularly to theatre photography. The material for case studies is provided by the works of Polish photographers who redefine the function of this form of photography. Typically, photography is seen by theatre historians as the prime form of theatre documentation, and therefore treated as subservient to the needs of theatre studies as an academic discipline. Contrary to that, the photographic projects analysed in the present paper (particularly those of Ryszard Kornecki and Magda Hueckel), although made in theatre during performances, have been produced and distributed as autonomous art forms which neither represent nor document theatre productions. In the analysis of these projects, I employ Margaret Olin’s concept of “performative index”, which describes the relationship between the image and the viewer as a dynamic creation of meaning. With reference to this theoretical framework, I argue that counterfactuality of theatre photography is a strategy of turning this medium into an autonomous form of art.
This article surprises some thoughts and ideas about the volume Teatru pentru publicul tânăr – 3 texte (Theatre for Young Audiences – 3 Texts), published by Editura Timpul, in October 2018. This book contains texts signed by three young playwrights, Mihai Ignat, Selma Dragoş and Andrei Ursu, who wrote plays for youths “of all ages”, as Oltiţa Cîntec warns us in the Preface. The plays are part of a residence program, a partnership between three institutions in Iaşi, and are extremely different as genre and yet contemporary. My review follows exactly these aspects and a personal interpretation of the messages, situations and characters.
Any celebration is, or it should be, an opportunity to meditate on what is being celebrated. Otherwise, the celebration remains merely formal and inconsistent. What is the meaning of one hundred years of Romanian theatre? A sum of fulfillment and unfulfillment, of satisfactions and dissatisfactions, a whole set of faces which can describe a history in a pleasant way throughout time. In the next lines we are trying to place ourselves at today’s end of history in a troubled present which must be questioned. What has become of us, those who are applauding the centenary of our theatre? What is missing and what are our dissatisfactions? We shall let other people make the bows while we assume the discomfort of the discourse on unfulfillment.
The present article aims to demonstrate, starting from a textual and spectacular sample of four texts and performances on the stage of Sibiu, the extent and development that the theatre for young audiences has had in the Romanian theatrical field in recent years. Starting from some general features of this theatrical subgenre, we aim to highlight the close connection between the theme, the character’s construction and a certain type of awareness, of therapy through theatre, operated through this artistic formula. At the same time, our attention focuses on two performances based on the texts of Elise Wilk (Paper Airplanes and Green Cat), an adaptation for the stage of Eleanor Estes’ book, The Hundred Dresses, and a performance created by Yann Verburgh, The Rules of the Game.
During the first world war, the city of Iasi played the role of the ‘wartime capital’ of Romania. Besides the political-economic structures, The National Theatres of Bucharest and Craiova moved temporarily to Iasi, leading to Iasi being a cultural capital as well, a reputation which it has kept even to this day. In the interwar period, Romania blossomed culturally unlike ever before, a true intellectual, cultural and artistic revival under the influence of the currents travelling through European stages.
In spite of the laurels earned, the name of Sorana Topa is too little known. Formed by the Iasi theatre school, noticed and hired by the national theather of iasi by Marin Sadoveanu, promoted by the previous directors of Iasi theatre, she is offered the chance to study in Paris along with her stage colleagues Aurel and Maria Ghițescu.
In this text, I describe a specific way of addressing the past in video games which are set in historical times but at the same time deliberately undermine the facticity of their virtual worlds. By grounding my argument in analyses of two blockbuster productions—Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, 2007) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, 2010)—I introduce and define the notion of “simulational realism”. Both games belong to best-selling franchises and share an interesting set of features: they relate to historical places, events, and figures, establish counter-factual narratives based around conspiracy theories, and—most importantly—display many formal similarities. Like most AAA games, Assassin’s Creed and Black Ops intend to immerse the player in the virtual reality and, for this purpose, they naturalize their interfaces as integral elements of reality. However, in the process of naturalizing simulation, objectivity of the past becomes unthinkable.
In my considerations, I situate this problem in two contexts: 1) of a cultural and epistemic shift in perceiving reality which was influenced by dissemination of digital technologies; 2) Vilém Flusser’s prognosis on the effects of computation on human knowledge. According to Flusser’s theory of communication, history—as a specific kind of human knowledge—emerged out of writing that was always linear and referential. Consequently, the crisis of literary culture resulted in the emergence of new aesthetics and forms of representations which—given their digital origin—dictate new ways of understanding reality. As history is now being substituted by timeless post-history, aesthetic conventions of realism are also transformed and replaced by digital equivalents.
Following Flusser’s theory, I assert that we should reflect on the epistemological consequences of presenting the past as simulation, especially if we consider the belief shared by many players that games like Assassin’s Creed can be great tools for learning history. I find such statements problematic, if we consider that the historical discourse, grounded on fact, is completely incompatible with the aesthetics of sim-realism which evokes no illusion of objective reality.
There has been a constant interest in Shakespeare in the last twenty years among playwrights, critics, directors and actors. The revival of Shakespeare studies, the multitude of interpretations, theatre productions, research studies of doctoral type have been not just a reconsideration of texts, but also an attempt to modernise them. These findings and many other reflections on Shakespearean theatre and an amazing diversity, on which it had been founded, are the result of the doctoral research done by Antonella Cornici on the Shakespearean soliloquy and its diverse Romanian stage versions appeared in performances between 1990-2015.