Romanian theater has been seriously
affected by the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, so much so that it
had to find alternative ways to reach out to the usual stage audience.
Performances could no longer be held outdoors, so the online environment was
the support that enabled theater lovers to watch the actors on stage.
The day of September 21,
2020, 22:30, Bucharest Time, was another turning point in Romanian theater's
activity. We're speaking about the moment of the UNITER Gala's 28th
edition. Initially scheduled for the spring of 2020, the even was postponed
until the autumn equinox. In 2020, the UNITER Gala was held the southern
Romanian city of Craiova. It marked 170 years since the "Marin Sorescu" theater
had been founded in Craiova, and was venued by the outdoor Summer Theater in
Craiova's "Nicolae Romanescu" park. Radio Romania's Culture Channel offered a
live broadcast of the Gala, which could also be followed online, at www.tvr.ro and www.uniter.ro.
he main organizer and initiator of the Gala was the
National Union of Romanian Theaters, UNITER. It is a professional, apolitical,
nongovernmental and non-profit organization, which was set up through the free
association of creators in the field of Romanian theater. It was established in
February 1990, so in 2020 UNITER celebrated its three decades of existence.
Since September 10, 2020, UNITER has launched the video promotion of the
artists who were nominated for the awards. Of course, several nominations were
made based on the previous year's achievements, according to the regulations.
Since September 14, all viewers could support their favorites, casting their
vote on www.uniter.ro
It may have been the venue of the event, or the
restrictions that have been imposed in 2020, in other words, it was the triumph
of creativity over fear...all that put together bestowed a special power on the
UNITER Gala in 2020.
Theater critic and UNITER
member Oana Cristea Grigorescu:
"The UNITER Galas have succeeded to
change something, have rooted out that kind of conservatism in the way the Gala
has been organized in the last 20 years. Everybody sensed, first of all, a
reshuffle of the format, which occurred not only due to the fact that the event
was staged on outdoor premises, in Craiova...I believe all that was possible
especially because of the trust the organizers put in the two producers of the
Gala, stage director Bobi Pricop and stage designer Irina Moscu. An entire team
backed them and everybody sensed the life-giving wind for this event...And we
also fed ourselves with a dose of optimism provided by the way the Gala
unfolded - concisely, and in a clean manner. There was also something else,
maybe the most important aspect. Some of the welcome speeches of the awardees
tackled an important issue. In Romanian culture, at least formally, but mainly
from an organizing point of view, there is a rift between the independent
artiss and the artists coming from subsidized institutions. The rift is false,
and the welcome speeches at the UNITER Gala focused on the very specific idea
whereby it was about time we found administrative solutions to support the
deserving independent artists. That should be done in such a way as to
acknowledge their contribution to the diversity of theater stage. At the end of
the Gala, the president of UNITER and the manager of the National Theater in
Bucharest, Ion Caramitru, pledged that solutions would be found to support
independent theater. And that is a point of strategic importance. It is a type
of cultural policy UNITER vowed to implement henceforth."
The 30th edition of the National Theater
Festival in Bucharest was held over November 22 and 29, 2020. The event was
also a premiere. We followed it online, at fnt.ro. The three personalities who
stage-directed and provided the selection of the program had a clear-cut
intention: that of setting up a dialogue between the aesthetics of yesterday's
creators and the present-day artistic quest. Radio Romania is one of the
event's traditional partners, hence the label of the festival's; special
section, FNT ON AIR. One of the event's three driving forces was provided by
Maria Zărnescu, an associate professor with Bucharest University of Drama and
"Each of the posted events will be
there for 48 hours, they will be available for revisiting if somebody so
wishes. It is, so to speak, crowded, since we wanted to revisit the festival's
past, its three decades, that is. And we sometimes discovered remarkable acting
recitals. And that, in close connection with the actor-stage
director-playwright three-way relationship. When the stuff we discovered was
shorter, we put all that together in a special section, labeled 'The Great
Actor's Art.' The section lays emphasis on actors who are very popular with the
Romanian audience, yet all the creators involved in the artistic pursuit are no
There were, of course, noteworthy international guest
performances presented as part of the FNT, Festivalul National de Teatru/the
National Theater Festival in Bucharest. Added to all that were the "pandemic"
productions, such as ZOOM BIRTHDAY PARTY, based on a text by Saviana Stănescu,
directed by Beth Milles (SUA) or POOL (NO WATER) by Mark Ravenhill, a project
carried by Radu Nica, Andu Dumitrescu and Vlaicu Golcea.
Romania's stage artists were genuinely capable of
finding solutions to analyze the present and their condition, in forms that
would keep them connected to society, to its problems. Stage artists were also
capable of coming up with solutions, simpler or more complex. Some of these
solutions have already proved their feasibility. Perhaps they will make the new
landmarks in Romanian performing arts as well.