The 9th edition of the Undercloud International Independent Drama Festival opened on Monday evening at the Grand Hall of the Gabroveni Inn with “Nesomn” (Sleeplessness) directed by Arcadie Rusu.
“Undercloud is inviting you to relive the experience of a festival that sets focus on quality, innovation, openness and eventfulness. There are 41 experiences, shows from six countries – England, France, Greece, Moldova, Russia and Israel – workshops, masterclasses, conferences, and, for the first time at Undercloud, a unique exhibition called ‘Dadaist negation’. The exhibition will be open for the entire length of the festival in the main hall of the Gabroveni Inn. Spectators can see famous vanguard names such as Ion Tuculescu, Victor Brauner and Marcel Iancu. We also have special guests, including Pascal Bruckner, who will be world premiering a play written this year called ‘Christmas at the Palace’,” Undercloud official Chris Simion told Agerpres.
Among the shows to be mounted at the festival are “The Tragedian” by the Prodigal Theatre of London; “Voix dans le noir” (A Voice in the Dark), an adult puppeteering show by Eric Deniaud of Collectif Kahraba; “One Day We Will All Be Happy,” by the Meyerhold Centre of Moscow; “Istoria comunismului povestita pentru bolnavii mintal” (A History of Communism Narrated for the Mentally Insane) by the Eugene Ionesco Theatre House of Chisinau, as well as a dance show by Israel’s Control Freaks & More.
There are three main sections of the festival this year: competition, where 12 Romanian shows will run; guests from Romania, which includes renowned staged shows the presence of which at the festival is meant to encourage dialogue between consecrated artists and artists early in their careers; as well as guests from abroad.
The Undercloud competition jury will include professor and stage director Sanda Manu; stage manager Victor Ioan Frunza; director of the Metropolis Theatre House George Ivascu; theatrologist Octavian Saiu and actress Dorina Chiriac.
Stage designer Iuliana Vilsan will be in the jury to award the Dada Undercloud prize for the best stage design, while Chris Simion, director and chairman of the Undercloud festival, together with theatre critic Silvia Dumitrache and theatrologist Irina Ionescu will select the winner for the Undercloud Innovation Award.
Two special prizes will also be awarded this year. Thus, director Mihai Maniutiu, manager of the Cluj National Theatre House, will be presented with the Under Any Cloud Free Theatre Prize, while actor Alister O’Loughlin will receive an excellence prize for his performance in Prodigal Theatre’s “The Tragedian,” directed by Miranda Henderson.
Two of the Undercloud workshops will be conducted by guests from abroad: Alister O’Loughlin and Elena Kovalskaya, artistic director at the Meyerhold Centre.
One of the special guests of the festival is Razvan Vasilescu, for the first time ever at the festival. He will be playing in two shows in the Romanian guests section: “Creditul” (Credit), directed by Mihai Constantin, co-starring Serban Pavlu, and “Era OK si la 60!” (It Was OK even at 60), a one-man show about small miracles, pleasures, abandons and paradoxes in the life of a man who is daily describing the joy of living.
French writer Pascal Bruckner will be premiering a play written this year called “Christmas at the Palace,” a political situation comedy alluding to contemporary France which implications are valid for any context.
Undercloud unfolds under the aegis of the “Europe for Festivals. Festivals for Europe” European programme, an important international certificate awarded by the European Commission and the European Festivals Association, offering more than 40 Romanian and international stage shows.
Organiser of the event is the Undercloud Movement Association, with support from the ARCUB Cultural Centre of Bucharest City, co-funded by the Cultural Heritage Administration Fund (AFCN). It is a supporter of Bucharest’s bid to become a European Capital of Culture in 2021.