Written by Samuel Beckett, directed by Silviu Purcarete
Radu Stanca National Theatre Of Sibiu (Romania)
Contemporary Urban Centre (20th November 2008)
On Thursday 20th of November 2008 at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre,
I sat next to my new friends - Amandine and Roland - who are both French
and English language speakers, and prepared myself for the performance
to start. I knew that there would be English subtitles so, I was very
happy that it was ‘meant’ for me to have an evening spoken
in Romanian, which Amandine later mentioned she found a very beautiful
My face felt relaxed and my back soft…I was very comfortable when
a young man opening gently pulled the red velvet curtain back.
Beckett’s story unfolded with a delightful performance, over an
hour and fifty minutes.
The minimalist and also, I thought, surrealist staging suited me perfectly
well. I found the sound and the light effects very good and generally
all details seemed so well found and effectively establishing the two
main characters with ingeniously simple and effective solutions. Through
symbolism the visual representation was intelligently matching the storytelling.
A continuous flow and metamorphosis of time integrated the two characters
as if they were born on the stage out of time and light. I thought Vladimir
(Gogo) and Estragon (Didi) were forever interesting and refreshing through
their style of acting. And all the visual and staging details were of
a specific importance and relevance: the clothing in general, the hats,
Gogo’s briefcase, Didi’s trousers with huge pockets filled
with a lot of crumpled newspapers, carrots and a vegetable peeler; the
dead suspended tree skeleton, the symbolic ‘moon’ and ‘sunset’,
Both were acting so naturally, it seemed that the characters were real.
Approaching the last gong of the performance (as the gong was present
all along), I was feeling in between spaces; Romania at one end, Liverpool
at the other and, there I was, suspended spiritually between them.
I didn’t know that Beckett could be so funny. But, since I remembered
that Romanians always have a great sense of humour, even during the most
difficult times in history, it was obvious (to me) that the acting - directed
by Silviu Purcarete, who has worked in Romanian and European theatre for
more than twenty years - was going to combine Beckett’s original
in its grimness with the humour, the softness and the soul that so characterises
Romanian theatre and culture.
The brilliant acting of Marian Ralea and Constantin Chiriac delighted
the audience, and for one moment I forgot about Beckett; I was there,
breathing, in the centre of a surrealist space, created simply from scaffolding
(as a ‘stage within a stage’), watching the sunset and moon
glow (symbolised by what seemed to appear as ‘diving’ spot
lights and a giant electric bulb)…
The silent and persecuted Lucky was played by young Pali Vecsei and the
cruel Pozzo by Cristian Stanca. The Boy, as messenger of God(ot), was
played by the very young Dan Mitrea.
The night’s ‘visions’ sequences, accompanied by live
music played by Sena Ducariu, Lacrima Stanescu and Aurel Tancu, reminded
me of the Shakespearean scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Silviu Purcarete’s theatrical work has been seen extensively in
the UK in Glasgow, Hammersmith, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Chichester, Bath
and London, and this year, Purcarete signed the stage production for Glyndebourne
Opera’s production of Love and Other Demons, composed by Peter Eotvos.
Waiting for Godot was successfully presented at the Contemporary Urban
Centre, as part of Romanian Connections, a short tour of the Radu Stanca
National Theatre Of Sibiu in Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture
The city of Sibiu - as Mr. Constantin Chiriac, director of Radu Staca
Theatre mentioned - has a “vibrant multicultural life” where
ethnic communities such as Romanian, Hungarian, German, Jewish and Roma
are living peacefully. The city has a long history and tradition in theatre,
the first purpose built theatre in Sibiu being established in 1788.
Last year, Sibiu was - along with Luxembourg - the European Capital of
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