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May 11, 2021

Eugene Ionescu iconic play opens National Theatre Festival

At Odeon Theatre from Bucharest, on the 100 year celebration since the birth of famous playwright Eugene Ionesco, the company Les Intempestifs from Besancon, France, presented “La cantatrice chauve” in the opening of the 19th edition of the National Theatre Festival (FNT). The performance, directed by the famous Jean-Luc Lagarce, is the only foreign production in this year’s edition, with support from the French Institute from Bucharest. “La cantatrice chauve,” the first play written in French by Eugene Ionesco is part of the dramatic current of absurd theatre, showing the deterioration of the human race and of the inter-human relations. The play’s first onstage performance was in May 1950, at Theatre des Noctambules, being directed by Nicolas Bataille. After 1957, it was played at Theatre Huchette, becoming one of the most frequently played performances in France and receiving the distinction “Moliere d’honneur” in 1989. In Bucharest, in the interpretation of the company Les Intempestifs, the show counted on three coordinates: the absurd present everywhere in Eugene Ionescu’s work, the bizarre coincidences presented along the whole play, and the interactivity which culminated at the end of the show with cues addressed to the audience. The cast of the show “La cantatrice chauve” includes: Mireille Herbstmeyer (Mrs. Smith), Jean Louis Grinfeld (Mr. Smith), Elizabeth Mazev (Mary), Emmanuelle Brunschwig (Mrs. Martin), Olivier Achard (Mr. Martin), Christophe Garcia (the firefighter captain). The setting of the show is signed by Francois Berreur, a former assistant of Jean Luc Lagarce. The show was applauded by the audience which filled up the Odeon Theatre hall. In the show’s young audience, some VIPs were spotted, journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu, and the minister of culture Theodor Paleologu among them. Upon the end, some young people probably unfamiliar to Ionesco’s work, were discussing in the foyer with perplexity, “Still I don’t understand where the bald singer is,” a good sign the absurd of Eugene Ionesco’s work has done its job once again.

Today’s National Theatre Festival schedule

UNATC, 11 AM – Three day presentation with Richard Schechner

Carturesti, 4,30 PM – Theatre Magazine launch edited by Yale University

National Theatre, Big Hall, 7 PM: Krum (directed by Cristian Theodor Popescu) performs National Targu-Mures Theatre

National Theatre, Atelier Hall, 6 PM: Three Sisters (directed by Ada Lupu, performs National Theatre Mihai Eminescu, Timisoara)

Odeon Theatre, 9 PM: The Tempest (directed by Cristi Juncu, performs Toma Caragiu Theatre, Ploiesti)

Bulandra Theatre, Izvor Hall 7 PM: La cantatrice chauve (directed by Tompa Gabor, performs national Theatre Lucian Blaga, Cluj)

National Opera House, 6.30, 9 PM: Skating with Lucia (directed by Radu Afrim, performs Andrei Muresanu Sfantu Gheorghe Theatre)

Elvira Popescu Hall, 10 PM: Tooth of Crime by Richard Schechner movie screening

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