„Diary of a Madman” with Marius Manole – as seen by an Asian tourist

His madness was pain.


The 12th of June 2015 was the last time the audience from Bucharest could see The Diary of a Madman starring Marius Manole at the Arcub Theatre. I was personally impressed by the presence of a group of Asian people and as am myself often mistaken with an Asian, I will write my perception of the show from the point of view of a foreigner.

As a foreigner, or better said, as a tourist in Romania, I do not know that Marius Manole works in both state theaters and private theaters. I do not know that he constantly has 3 different shows in 3 different theaters in one single day. I don’t even know how many years has he spent in this acting business, but I am interested in seeing a show that crossed the national fronteers to Moscow and Florence.

I enter the theater hall, I can hear the sound of the audience searching for their seats and the air conditioner running. The lights go off and the screen starts showing the surtitling. It feels like in the cinema, except that the action is happening live in front of my eyes. On stage there is the decor and a tall round man with a violin with musical scores in front of him. He is musician Alexander Balanescu as I find out from the theater booklet. What is the connection between the violin and the madman I was to find out later.

Actor Marius Manole appears on stage and along with him the world of madness is unveiled. But how is exactly is this madness? Who or what unleashed it? Does he own the madness or the madness own him? The suite of states and situations that the character passes through is quite a journey leading to the absoluteness and to nowhere at the same time.

Perhaps the character is too less to say here. There were many characters and above all they were made to come alive by this young Romanian actor named Marius Manole, who is first of all a human being with a voice that could raise a stadium. I will no further argue to what I saw last night. I would advise all foreign tourists to go and see The Diary of a Madman at Arcub this fall. Maybe they will see madness in a different light and maybe they will understand something more about themselves.

Another feature of theater actors is that they make their audiences empathize with their characters in stories that have passed the test of time, although a show does not have this priviledge.

Now,  after the show, I went online to search for more information on the history of the Diary of a Madman. I found out that it was written in 1835 as a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol.  According to Wikipedia, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol’s greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol’s works written in first person, follows diary-entry format.


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