Is there any emotion left to be felt in the theaterhouse? I could not answer this question until yesterday evening as I took a ride in the Car(o)usel for the seventh time at Bulandra Theater in Bucharest. Theaterholic without a cure! Theater addiction is obviously one of the good things that can happen to you at a moment in life when things crush and you feel like crushing down with them.
Last night was so very special because the audience got the chance to see director Andrei Serban in the flesh to perform on stage along with the rest of the cast. How cool is that? Just tell me. One actor could not make it to the show and then the director chose to do his parts himself. Now that was an experience!! You cannot top that, as a theaterholic. It is more than you can ever ask for on hot summer June when everyone hates Bucharest and all the heat that comes from the ground. It is refreshing to witness your favourite play with your favourite director as an understudy.
There are certain shows that burn you out during the performances and at the end you don’t even want to return in the theater hall ever again. Some directors instead of showing love through their work with actors they show hatred and despise. How can one work with people if he or she does not love people? Not to mention working for people that come out of love and care to see a theater show. There is a kind of magical love story between the audience and the creative act that is born during a stage performance. And what kind of love story is that made of negative ingredients? Actors may be wizards that can turn pain into a beautiful act, but really how can you feel the positive emotions when the director wants you to feel exactly the opposite. Between the stage directors and the audience’s eagerness to receive something, the actors are caught in the middle and they have to satisfy both parts. Such a tough job! It is incredible how most of the members of the audience put the entire blame on the cast if they don’t like a performance, when that blame should be in fact divided.
Well, now, at the end of the season, I can forget about not so pleasant experiences in the theater hall, and I can return to the show that had my heart since the very first preview – Car(o)usel…
It is great when you can return to the good things in life. And witnessing the progressive artistic act is such a gift. Stop comparing movies to theater. Theater is a live act, while movies are recorded. I actually felt like in a live movie while attending this show, because from the very start you step into a world that through colors, music and dance makes you feel good. There is so much life inside the carousel that you cannot imagine there is room for any form of sadness or pain. When he switches his lifestyle to a common lifestyle, the performer of the Carousel, Liliom becomes depressed and starts being aggressive towards his loved one, Julie. And beyond her bitterness, Julie manages to find hope in starting a new life for her unborn child. And she is such a strong character. Pain only emphasized her kindness. Now, Liliom, because of his inner struggles of not leading a life of an artist anymore he causes turmoil everywhere around him and this turmoil does not end even after his final departure.
The stage props, the lights, the smoke all contribute to creating the present world and the after world with angels that make the law not the devils. It is interesting how the angels are entitled to decide upon your eternal faith, according to your deeds, and how the demons (they do not even appear in the show) are the last inevitable choice of the soul. Time may seem endless in the after world, but time does not stand still. You either have to make it up for your reckless actions either in hell or on Earth. Who does not serve the angels law are sent to burn and then they are taken out again, send to Earth to settle things down. What happens to Liliom when he is sent back to Earth? This is the first time in seven times in which I care about this character. I started to focus on him, because I began to think of reasons for his thoughtless actions.
The piano music played by Raoul Kushak has a very important role in emphasizing the tension between the characters. I did not notice its importance until last night. I wish there was a piano music to mark each particular moment that is part of the daily life too. The soft music turns thorns into roses. And the actor s energy in this perfomance with dance music and lines turn into roses of purest emotions. There is also accordion music involved. And I absolutely enjoyed hearing Cheek to cheek by Irving Berlin – one of the songs I gew up with.