“I believe I focused my attention towards theater not only to escape from the grey reality of the daily life, but also because I had a dream. I was like any average child in search for for the extraordinary, for the miraculous. Since I was young, I had a certain restlessness, which I did not get rid of even to this day. But I also had an intituition that on the other side of the curtain there is something different from all that I had known before. I did not understand the subject of the play, but something had fascinated me. Although it was impossible for me to define this something, once the curtain was up, I was like if I had fallen into a trance, and at the end of the show, I was still under the hypnosis, I did not want to go off the spectator chair without the promise that I would return again.”
“Andrei is mad about the stage! He is irresistibly attracted!” my Mother used to say. I did not even understand the meaning of the word irresistible, but of course, I said to myself that it must mean something.
One day, it was in 1956, I have found out about the revolution from Hungary(…) (page 25 of Andrei Șerban’s autobiographical book entitled “O biografie” published by Polirom)
I interrupted my translation here as Hungary is a link word between the two texts. What a strong connection – the Romanian director first theater improvisation to his latest staging at the Bulandra Theater from Bucharest. How sometimes our lifetime seems to be a carousel in which either we ride our opportunities or either we get knocked down by missing them. It is a great opportunity to take part into a show like Carousel. Since the entrance you are welcomed by the actors in vaudeville costumes. You feel embraced by their positive shine and with the help of music you step into the colorful world of the Carousel, and to uncover each and every of its shades I think we should ride it more than once. Tonight I go for the second time to see the open rehearsals, which are to me the greatest summer present theater has to offer its audience, who is eager to be moved and moulded by this ephemeral art.
Before starting my way to the theater, I give a quick look to some historical data of the play, who inspired Andrei Șerban and Daniela Dima to create a free stage adaptation at Bulandra Theater. Carousel was inspired by the play Liliom written in 1909 by Ferenc Molnár, a Hungarian author who migrated to the US to escape the persecution of Hungarian Jews during Second World War. Liiliom was translated into English in 1921 and it was firstly staged on Broadway under the name of Carousel. More about the play’s historical map you can here here.
About last night’s open rehearsals proposed by director Andrei Șerban to the audience from Bucharest, I can only say that the show, which is a work in progress, made me feel both amazed and saddened at the same time. Those bright colors, that happy Italian and French music, those lovely dance moves were there only to cover those horrible things man does to himself and to the ones that love him.
During the break between the acts I jotted down some thoughts, which are actually questions I ask myself:
How much do you have to do for other and how little you have to do for yourself?
If you play all the other’s roles, who is to fill in for youself?
If everyone else goes on with what they do, what makes you stand still?
The name Iulia in Romanian has a different sound with a every person pronouncing it, which means it is a name for methamorphosis, for bearing sufference and giving kindness in return. To sing while your heart breaks… This perhaps can be a test of the Carousel…Let’s see for tonight what the theater has prepared for us.