I. L. Caragiale National Theatre of Romania, Bucharest
premiere 27 April 2014, Main stage
Radu Nichita, Nina Cassian
180 min., with intermission
Ion Caramitru, Mihai Călin, Alexandru Călin, Ioan Andrei Ionescu, Vitalie Bichir, Mihai Calotă, Alexandra Poiană, Crina Semciuc, Istvan Teglas, Gavril Pătru, Andrei Finţi, Marcelo-S Cobzariu, Eduard Cârlan, Mădălin Mandin, Idris Clate, Ionuț Toader, Axel Moustache, Eduard Adam
"The Tempest" is considered the last of Shakespeare's plays and is often classified as a romance in which the author comments on family relations and reconciliation with mythical circumstances.
The Duke of Milan, Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, are exiled to an island after Prospero's brother, Antonio, seizes power. Years later Prospero, who possesses a certain spiritual power, comes to know that his brother is on a ship near the island with a group of friends and supporters, returning from his daughter's wedding. He starts a seastorm during which Antonio's crew falls into separate groups, each assuming for the others to have died in the storm. A series of plots - for gaining power or defeating a rival, ultimately for the same reason, leads Prospero to a winning position - outgrowing his spiritual aims, еnsuring a loving husband for his daughter, letting his island servants (Caliban and Ariel) free and forgiving his brother.
A comedy of illusion, a romance - a text about power and revenge, this play is beyond any interpretation. It reaches beyond the laws, known to men, it presents a fairytale about controlling nature and allying with nature, mastering the spirits and bringing love and forgiveness. Morfov's immersive staging is full of lively rhythm, humour, emotions, and music that echoes in your mind long after leaving the theatre hall.
A true lesson on the power of art and imagination.
"The Tempest is a specimen of the purely romantic drama, in which the interest is not historical, or depen-dent upon fidelity of portraiture, or the natural connexion of events,—but is a birth of the imagination, and rests only on the coaptation and union of the elements granted to, or assumed by, the poet. It is a species of drama which owes no allegiance to time or space, and in which, therefore, errors of chronology and geography—no mortal sins in any species—are venial faults, and count for nothing. It addresses itself entirely to the imaginative faculty; and although the illusion may be assisted by the effect on the senses of the complicated scenery and decorations of modem times, yet this sort of assistance is dangerous. For the principal and only genuine excitement ought to come from within,—from the moved and sympathetic imagination; whereas, where so much is addressed to the mere external senses of seeing and hearing, the spiritual vision is apt to languish, and the attraction from without will withdraw the mind from the proper and only legitimate interest which is intended to spring from within. [...]
In this play are admirably sketched the vices generally accompanying a low degree of civilization; and in the first scene of the second act Shakspeare has, as in many other places, shown the tendency in bad men to indulge in scorn and contemptuous expressions, as a mode of getting rid of their own uneasy feelings of inferiority to the good, and also, by making the good ridiculous, of rendering the transition of others to wickedness easy. Shakspeare never puts habitual scorn into the mouths of other than bad men [...]
In this play (...) are also shown the springs of the vulgar in politics,—of that kind of politics which is inwoven with human nature. In his treatment of this subject, wherever it occurs, Shakspeare is quite peculiar [and] never promulgates any party tenets. He is always the philosopher and the moralist, but at the same time with a profound veneration for all the established institutions of society, and for those classes which form the permanent elements of the state— especially never introducing a professional character, as such, otherwise than as respectable. If he must have any name, he should be styled a philosophical aristocrat, delight-ing in those hereditary institutions which have a tendency to bind one age to another, and in that distinction of ranks, of which, although few may be in possession, all enjoy the advantages. Hence, again, you will observe the good nature with which he seems always to make sport with the passions and follies of a mob, as with an irrational animal. He is never angry with it, but hugely content with holding up its absurdities to its face; and sometimes you may trace a tone of almost affectionate superiority, something like that in which a father speaks of the rogueries of a child. The truth is, Shak-speare's characters are all genera intensely individualized; the results of meditation, of which observation supplied the drapery and the colours necessary to combine them with each other. He had virtually surveyed all the great component powers and impulses of human nature,—had seen that their different combinations and subordinations were in fact the individualizers of men, and showed how their harmony was produced by reciprocal disproportions of excess or deficiency. The language in which these truths are expressed was not drawn from any set fashion, but from the profoundest depths of his moral being, and is therefore for all ages."
excerpts from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's, "The Tempest Essay"
original spelling kept
Ion Caramitru as Prospero, and
Crina Semciuc as Miranda
Presented at Madach International Theater Meeting, organised by National Theatre - Budapest
Presented at FNT - Festival of National Theatres, 2014 see link here
Invited to the International Arts Festival Theaterstock, Bacau 2015
Presented at the Dassous Festival of the National Theatre of Northern Greece, Thessaloniki, 2017, see link here
"I ascertain that ever since the premiere, the show has gained harmony, a balance between impetus and rigor. Nikola Toromanov's set design, Chris Jaeger’s light, Andrada Chiriac’s costumes, Florin Fieroiu’s arabesque movements, the musical cocktail (where Carl Orff meets Joe Cocker), chosen by Morfov and exposed by Lucian Maxim, cast an expressive bridge over time and space, amplifying the beatitude and the miracle. In Ion Caramitru’s words, we feel „the charmed and heart-rending reverie of Shakespeare”. His presence gives a spiritual meaning and fills the enactment, at the end of it, with a sacred emotion. An actor with Shakespearean calling... A successful tour, representative for NTB and the Romanian theatre. The exceptional triumph of “The Tempest” in Budapest reinforces the prestige of this show, which announces itself long-lasting. We highly recommend it!"
Greetings from Ludmila Patlanjoglu, Correpondence from Budapest : Storm of Applause for "The Tempest"
| Ludmila Patlanjoglu, cotidianul.ro, 11.05.2015
"Ion Caramitru, brilliant expert on interpreting a number of famous characters of Great Will, succeeds in presenting the only character of the cast recalling Shakespeare. This great actor has the skill to go beyond the appearance of words and even situations in order to cleverly refer to the substratum building the topic of the writing. As an image, he is an Einstein emerging from a documentary, but the actor keeps in mind Prospero’s mission. (...) Ion Caramitru succeeds in giving dramaturgical consistency to the character, to the meaning Shakespeare invented him for. Mihai Călin as Caliban also excells, pivotal character of the comic layer. The actor expressively manipulates the double meanings of Caliban’s manifestations. (...). Mystery in manifestations, but also an inner chagrin aptly suggested are rendered by Istvan Teglaş to Ariel. The part is interpreted beyond reproach. (...) Yet again, the encounter with Crina Semciuc as Miranda is a pleasant surprise. This young actress has the talent to employ her personal charisma in totally different parts, comic or dramatic. The revolt or sensibility dictated by situations is subtly tackled by the actress."
"It is always both quiet and restless around your master, but Alexandru Călin and Ion Caramitru seem to have found the balance in a relationship meant to confirm the unity of the team from “The Tempest”. As to the Master, he never plays down expectations and this must be hard, maybe even terrible. We recapture the harmony of the show staged at the Bucharest National Theatre under the spell cast upon the actors by Morfov and the entire team behind the scenes.(...) Morfov, himself a true directorial Prospero (...) Crina Semciuc as Miranda gives an equally powerful and ethereal performance. (...) Mihai Călin confers distinctive warmth to a character whose humanity has been interpreted in every way possible. (...) An exceptionally good savage, this Mihai Călin. (...) Fluidity is the word characterising Istvan Teglaş’ performance. (...) the three hours of the show pass by fluidly too."
The Other Tempest | Andrei Crăciun, Metropolis newspaper, 12.05.2014
"The director perfectly masters the ambiguity, as well as the transition from one level to another, from dream to parody, from romanticism to grotesque, from extravaganza to the mastery of stagecraft. (...) The actors occasionally exit their characters, without leaving the context. (…) [They] create the Show, theatre in its pure form, shiver, humour, magic, rhythm, frenzy, the force to transmit and to transfigure, temper. An impressive show, equally worth your applause: Nikola Toromanov (set design), Andrada Chiriac (costumes), Chris Jaeger (light design) and Florin Fieroiu (choreography). (…) With his experience and talent, one cannot claim anymore that Ion Caramitru “has been lucky”. And I can personally testify that we are talking about a certain kind of unique gift – that of offering the audience, beside truth, personality, coherence, also an incredible spiritual comfort. With Ion Caramitru on stage, you are protected. You cannot go astray. It is as if you always had a secret safety code in your chest pocket. Or a magic wand. You feel inspired. And strong."
"A lively show, replete with talent, vigour, music, movement. (...) And the faster and more joyful the pace, the deeper you get absorbed in thoughts. (...) Starting with Ion Caramitru – such a convincing Prospero (an actor with a fabulous oeuvre, immortalising in the audience’s memory, through his interpretation, great Shakespearean heroes), helping through a fascinating balance the actors on stage, in direct interaction with his character, to really shine, the show “The Tempest”, with tender nuances of quality entertainment, shall lead a long life. It is that which can enchant a wide audience nowadays!"
"In Morfov’s version, only Prospero and Caliban are left of Shakespeare, the rest is a "Morfov cocktail ", able to inebriate some, but certainly unable to feed anyone."
Morfov Cocktail | Cristina Modreanu, ArtAct Magazine
"Set designer Nikola Toromanov proposes a stage with all ”harnesses” on view and polyvalent: island, troubled sea, forest with lianas, sailing ship, shelter etc. In this space, Morfov unfolds his imagination, inspiration and, last but not least, his humour. Ion Caramitru, this great aristocrat of the stage, embodies a distinguished and shrewd Prospero, simultaneously generous and cynical, deeply human, but also ruthless.Upon departure, one takes home the joy of having witnessed an artistic performance of highest magnitude – Ion Caramitru, Mihai Călin, István Téglás – supported by an excellent team. A show aiming at offering you a state of wellbeing. Successfully, at that."
"On the way from extravaganza to philosophical story, from text to show, “The Tempest” staged by Alexander Morfov at NTB is another proof of the substantial prodigiousness of the Shakespearean chef d’oeuvre from which any creator expects answers to fundamental questions."The classic" Alexander Morfov (...) surprises with his new enactment at the National Theatre of Bucharest, after Shakespeare’s "The Tempest". The modernity of his theatrical thinking is jumping now directly to postmodernism, in line with the spirit of the time, naturally dominated by this stylistic mixture, from which, frankly, we keep waiting for something new to emerge. Thus, his show has, both at the level of ideas and of form, the appearance of an attempt of synthesis, which almost any artist aware of the phenomenon experiences today, on his own, especially when it comes to classical works."
"A "golden" triad is discernable: Miranda - Crina Semciuc, through frailty, force, charisma; Ariel - István Téglás, through bodily plasticity and subtle psychological nuances, embodying a charming "airy spirit"; Caliban - Mihai Călin, in an exceptional creation, surprising through the mixture of the grotesque and the graceful, a conquering image of ugliness. A secret force pervades in Caramitru’s words. We feel "the charmed and heart-rending reverie of Shakespeare". Master of ceremony and raisonneur of the show, the actor shocks during the applauses, when he tears off his moustache. A prophetic gesture for an amnesic and autistic generation and the Tempests yet to come"
"A bold gesture, I say, that the manager of any theatre in the world would include in the repertoire one of the metaphor-plays written by Shakespeare. A bold gesture also from any actor in the world, to include in the list of Shakespearean characters that he would wish to interpret, Prospero himself! Behold, here is Ion Caramitru who engages in those bold attempts! And he succeeds with flying colours! Alongside Caramitru - abrilliant Prospero!, young and exceptional actors of the Bucharest National Theatre appear: Crina Semciuc (Miranda), Mihai Călin (Caliban), Istvan Teglas (Ariel) – to name only the ones interpreting the leading roles."
"Alexander Morfov has a great talent regarding innovations in detail, but he does not have a new and interesting vision on the play, except for the concept of Prospero's character (if this is not Ion Caramitru’s merit). (...) Two roles are worth mentioning. Crina Semciuc constructs a modern Miranda, able to state her options and to face paternal authority, which does not diminish her poetic charm. Istvan Teglas seemed to me the best Ariel I have ever seen."
Prospero's Despair | Adrian Mihalache, Teatrul azi magazine, no. 7-8-9/ 2014