Roger Vitrac: Victor, or Power to the Children

Hungarian Theatre of Cluj (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
November 25 20:00 - Horizons

Duration: 2h
In Hungarian with Romanian and English subtitles.
Available: 24 hours
Age recommendation: 14+

Hungarian translation: József Vinkó

Victor, nine years old: Áron Dimény 
Charles Paumelle, Victor's father: Zsolt Bogdán 
Émilie Paumelle, Victor's mother: Emőke Kató 
Lili, Paumelle's maid: Csilla Varga
Esther, six years Old: Csilla Albert 
Antoine Magneau, Esther's father: Ervin Szűcs 
Thérèse Magneau, Esther's mother: Andrea Vindis 
General Louségur: József Bíró 
Madame Ida Mortemart: Imola Kézdi
Doctor  The Mute Lady/ Maria, maid: Levente Molnár

Set and costume design: Dragoş Buhagiar
Music composed by: Vasile Şirli
Musical consultant: Katalin Incze G.
Director's assistant: István Albu
Set designer`s assistant: Petre-Tiberius Trifan
Set designer`s assistant: Vladimir Iuganu
Stage manager: Petre-Tiberius Trifan

Avantgard trends and surrealism firmly reject traditional genres. In principle, they reject theatre as well, because for them it means nothing other than a commercial enterprise that serves the needs of civil society. However, they do not refrain from using the means of theatrical expression occaisonally. At the same time, they consider it unacceptable if someone is interested in theatre more seriously and for an extended period of time.So, Monsieur Roger Vitrac had been an outstanding member of the surrealists until he started writing plays. He even founded a theatre, together with Antonin Artaud and Robert Aron. They established Théâtre Alfred Jarry which functioned from 1926 to 1930 and which was the most revolutionary theatre of the first half of the twentieth century. As a consequence, the surrealists excluded Vitrac from their group.

Despite this exclusion and excommunication it's undeniable that the Vitrac play, Victor or Power to the Children, presented on December 24, 1928 is a surrealist drama, or at any rate it is permeated too much by the stylistic characteristics of surrealism.

If we look at the cast of the play, it may seem that we are dealing with a boulevard play very common in contemporary Parisian theatres at that time. However, when we discover that the main hero, Victor, who is celebrating his ninth birthday, is five foot eleven inches tall, we start to suspect that we are being presented with something other than a realistic representation or imitation of bourgeois life. Already in the first scene there is a series of provocations as Victor manipulates the maid and breaks a valuable Sèvres vase. He also accuses her, saying that she provides sexual services for her employers. The illusion of bourgeois life and values falls into decay in minutes, and the image of this world turned upside down is emphasized by the conversation between maid and child:

 "Victor has gone mad. A child does not behave like this."
VICTOR: "There's no child here. There never has been!"

We are faced with a ruined world lacking values and where adults quote long passages from the Larousse Encyclopedia. They all speak at once and behave like children. We are not surprised that Victor plays at riding horses with General Louségur who was invited for dinner; that parents give vent to their sexual desires and cheat on each other in front of their children; that it's Ida, a lady who accidentally wanders off and breaks wind, who induces real emotions in Victor; that everybody becomes confused after her departure; that human behavior is unpredictable; and that the functioning of language contradicts the rules of the common wit.

Everything suggests the trademark of surrealism: that life in fact is just a dream, a hallucination, hypnosis.

Silviu Purcărete
 was born in Bucharest, in 1950. He graduated from the Institute of Theatre and Cinematography of Bucharest. He worked at Piatra Neamţ, Constanţa, Bucharest, and since 1988, at the National Theatre of Craiova. In 2007, he directed J.W. Goethe's Faust at the Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu, a performance that was remarkably successful at the 2009 edition of the Edinburgh Festival. 
He has worked in theaters located in England, Austria, France,Norway, Portugal, Hungary, as well as at the Bonn, Cardiff, Vienna,Essen Opera Houses. In 1996, he became the director of the LimogesNational Dramatic Center, where he produced several performancesand where he created a school for young actors. He was named Commander in the Order of the Star of Romania, and was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, in France. He won the Hamada Foundation's Critics' Award and the Award for Artistic Excellence at the Edinburgh International Festival (1991), the Best Foreign Performance Award at the Montreal Festival of the Americas(1993), the Peter Brook Golden Globe Award for Best theatre direction(1995), the Critics' Award at the Dublin Theatre Festival (1996), the Special Prize of the Jury at the International Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk (2006), the UNITER Award for Best Direction (1993 and 2005), and the UNITER Award for Excellence (1997 and 2010 – alongside the team with whom he collaborated for Faust at the Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu).

"Eurothalia" European  Theatre Festival, Timișoara (2014)
National Theatre Festival (FNT), Bucharest (2014)
Budapest, Hungary (2014)


The performance received the award for Best Performance of the Year 2013 from the UNITER (Romanian Theatre Union).



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