Third day


Job based on Joseph Roth novel, directed by Lisa Nielebock, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany

Somehow the story is more attractive and dynamic than the visual side of the project. We hear the sad history of a sick Jewish boy and his family, told by seven actors in a linear way, with no moral or thematic accents. We are expected to orientate on our own. So much misfortune on this family? Why? What is the sin they are paying for? (the father asked that question).

A generous doctor offers a free hospital care for the boy abroad. There are chances for Menuchim to be cured. The father, a poor religious teacher, refuses this offer because he expects God to help them and also because in this foreign hospital his son would live with strangers, with children who are “no-Jews”, and would not learn the words of God.

Years later the family migrates to America, abandoning helpless Menuchim in Russia (not a very religious act anyway). Released from the religious control of his father, Menuchim is taken by the doctor and gets completely cured. He even develops a musical talent and becomes a famous musician. Later, when all other members of the family are gone, he finds his father in America.
We see how exaggerated religious indoctrination and cultural isolation could limit, harm and destroy human lives (inside a homogenеous group of people). While in Armin Petras’ “Nathan the wise” we saw rivalry and hostility between different religious groups (Jews, Christian and Muslim), here we see how the rigid religious principles destroy family from the inside, arriving to the rejection of God by the father.

[At one moment of the performance characters tried to explain to each other if fancy American cars are gift from God or from the Devil. It describes their incapability to analyze the world out of their basic religious notions. Even today many people think that way and are ready to kill a woman who is driving a car just because “religion says” (where?!) women should not drive.]

In the heart of the night – Lear episode, directed by Gavriil Pinte (Regina Maria Theatre, Oradea) is a living project that connects theatre both with nature and urban culture.

I couldn’t believe my eyes – we stood in the cold night in the courtyard of a factory (Remarul) and the stage was built in the yard - in the open air. How could someone cause this to the actors? Does the audience need to go through the risk to get sick? To go to theatre is supposed to be a safe activity... Or maybe the organizers of the festival thought it was May while it’s actually November... How did no one think that at 10 p.m. the temperature is under 0ºC…?!

It turned out that this unfriendly cold night was the main actor.

The night was a probation, a multilevel challenge.

This is the night of Lear – when he reveals the truth of life through the ritual of knowledge. At the beginning Lear is the priest of this ritual, as he is crossing the stage slowly and ceremoniously with 3 magical object in his hands (symbolizing the 3 parts of his kingdom he is prepared to offer to his daughters). Later it turns out he is sacrificed as a victim of his own ritual (he believes it is a ritual of generosity while it is a ritual of knowledge).

This is the night of the actors – they must declare their unconditional love for the theatre and to transcend the material limits of the body. They are expected to ignore the penetrating cold, to accept it as they accept the stage design or the text. Cold is a part of the performance. I can testify that the actors coped brilliantly with this trial. Barefoot Lear stepped calmly on the ice cold rails (there is a railway passing through the stage)… the actor Şerban Borda did not flinch.
This cold night challenged also the audience – could we abandon our expectations for comfort when in theatre?
It took me some time to understand what was happening – but for sure it was not a mistake of the organizers...

Aglika Stefanova-Oltean

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