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May 22, 2022

Eugene Ionesco play – banned in Romania under heir decision

The Odeon Theatre in the Capital announced, this weekend, the decision delivered by the agent representing the famous Romanian-born writer’s heir. Following this decision, the multi-awarded performance “Ionesco – five short plays” based on Eugène Ionesco works, directed by Alexandru Dabija, will be presented for the last time on Sunday, June 27, as production rights expire on July 30, and the writer’s heir (who imposed using the French spelling of her father’s name) decided not to grant an extension. On hearing the news, director Alexandru Dabija commented, for “Adevarul”: “The decision to ban the show – for this is what the neutral phrase ‘denying extension of rights’ disguises – is a ridiculous answer to the natural question I asked when we were not allowed to present the performance in Paris, Madrid or Seoul: Why are we denied the right to perform the play abroad, but are allowed to play it in Romania?” The artist expressed his view on the decision: “The performance was denied the international career it was entitled to, but the money collected from Bucharest was not to be scorned. Now the play is no longer played as often, it is an old show, and the money is less, so we go back to moral rigour. It’s funny, just like everything that happened to this show whose success was just as doomed as the author’s success! They were worthy of appraisal, but not of fame.” The director of the Odeon Theatre, actress Dorina Lazar, who is part of the play’s cast, recounted, for “Adevarul”, that Marie-France Ionesco is “upset” with director Dabija because of a sentence the latter wrote in a festival notebook, saying that, as a young man, he couldn’t understand Ionesco’s dramatic texts, but that things had changed as years went by. The Romanian-born writer’s daughter took the comment as an injury to her father’s writings.

Lazar claims that this decision springs from “a personal reason, which affects the public and the art world.” The actress remembered that two years ago the Odeon troupe was unable to present the play during the Romanian Theatre Week in Madrid, as the playwright’s daughter had announced she opposed this “only a week before, after the posters had already been made.” The theatre director claimed it was impossible to persuade Marie-France Ionescu to change her mind, despite all efforts. “The play is a very important one for the Romanian theatre scene. I deeply regret this decision,” the institution’s official commented, adding that the entire cast was aggrieved by the decision. The play staged by Dabija at the Odeon in 2007 won numerous awards, including the Best Performance Award in the Romanian Comedy Festival (2008), the Best Performance Award in the Romanian Playwriting Festival (2007), and the National Art Award, granted by the Ministry of Culture and Cults (2008).

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