Alexander Morfov >> works >> theatre productions >> No Man's Land | I. L. Caragiale National Theatre of...
No Man's Land
I. L. Caragiale National Theatre of Romania, Bucharest
premiere 12, 13, 16 and 17 November 2016, Studio hall
Author of stage adaptation
the Oscar-winning film by Danis Tanovic (2001)
Mihai Călin, Richard Bovnoczki, Ciprian Nicula, Marcelo-S Cobzariu, Rareș Florin Stoica, Aylin Cadîr, Alexandra Sălceanu, Andrei Finţi, Mihai Munteniţă, Fulvia Folosea, Eduard Adam, Vitalie Bichir, George Piștereanu, Ionuț Toader, Mădălin Mandin, Ionuț Niculae, Adrian Bratan, Vladimir Albu, Denis Hanganu, Nicu Dumitru, Adrian Pop, Aurel Ungureanu, Silviu Negulete
In “No Man’s Land” I wanted to fuse the wild beautiful colours of nature with the greyness of war. I craved for contrast. When the first bombs fell over Sarajevo I was forced to contemplate the passing spring and summer both marked by fiery black holes. It’s like projecting a black & white photograph on a Van Gogh painting – not even a far resemblance.
~ Danis Tanovic, scriptwriter and director of the film
In his college years Danis Tanovic personally witnessed these painful sights. After graduation he chose for his debut a topic to reveal the on-going problem of war still taking place with all its cruelty and conceited disinterest in human life. His film "No Man's Land" (2001) had a major recognition and is among the most awarded films with 42 national and international awards, among which: Cannes 2001 - award for Best screenplay, Academy award for Best foreign language film, Golden Globe for Best foreign film, and Cesar award for Best debut. Tanovic's story does not take a side of either guilt , or innocence in the Balkan conflict.
A Bosnian soldier and a Serbian one are torn by deadly hatred. Until recently, these people were sitting at the same table, like a true family, sharing joys, sorrows and celebrating holidays together. Now, they've become enemies, engaged in a fierce and bloody ethnic conflict. Still, they speak the same language, know the same people, watch the same football matches and the same films. A third soldier is trapped on top of a mine and his slightest movement will cause an explosion that will kill everybody around. They are in no man's land. Help is needed but neither of the conflicting sides wishes to enter the area in fear of an ambush. The two enemies are forced to seek help from the United Nations and a UN executive agrees to give a helping hand, breaking direct orders for non-interference, and brings a sapper to the location. A man's life is hanging by a thread...
Moreover, UN arrive with a journalist from CNN and a local crisis reaches unimaginable levels of absurdity. The mine proves impossible to render harmless. Three men, one of which faced with a certain death, are left all alone. Are they enemies anymore?
A satire against war, a story of life and death.
Our world is governed by global organisations and controlled media in pursuit of sensationalism and ratings. The absurd war between Bosnia and Serbia is impartially presented with black humor and sorrow at the same time. The enemy is you, only his name is different. A metaphor of war that reveals the destructive human nature.
Was it a good PR action for the UN?
"Bosnia is a mine, Kosovo is a mine, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and even Transilvania might be as well. People have become indifferent, they've lost all empathy and compassion. We've become stupid, ignorant and even evil, with this beastly hatred that we are overtaken by occasionally. Politics plays a cynical and calculated revenge - one of great might but with no love whatsoever."
~ Mihai Calin, actor
"You are right - what's the point of meeting you now when tomorrow we'll be back to shooting at each other."
"Whoever, the hell, thought that we should destroy such a beautiful country! We used to live together here, sitting at the same table, celebrating Ramadan and Christmas, Orthodox Easter and Catholic Easter!"
~ Ciki (performed by Richard Bovnoczki)
"In “No Man’s Land” Alexander Morfov has presented the whole hatred of humanity as a universal love. And immediately and innocently a close relationship grows – one between the spite for captivity and the love for freedom. Free words, free moves. The inability to grasp the approaching hope feels as if natural because the whole world is war and war reflects the whole world."
Hate for Love | Dragoș N. Savu, Dilema Veche, 14.11.2016
"Theatre is a living being, it is happening here and now, it is an immediate emotion. You cannot cut the tape, you cannot add the sound, you cannot rearrange the sequence. Theatre is ruthless and dirty. We can easily say: “au théâtre comme à la guerre”.
Alexander Morfov is one of Ion Caramitru’s brightest ideas. Inviting this director – enriching, captivating, interesting and charismatic, – to the stage of the National Theatre [of Romania] has introduced even more colour, energy and dynamics to the repertory. With the team of Nikola Toromanov who created a fascinating set design, and Chris Jaeger who is the author of the light design, “No Man’s Land” is a theatre production in which dark humour and tension are in harmony, tragic accents and irony go hand in hand. “No Man’s Land” leaves the theatre hall with you, the curtain just doesn’t fall. Go and see perhaps the most courageous and daring theatre production in this city!"
Treading on my toes myself | Razvana Nita, port.ro, 18.11.2016
"An ample and multi-layered set design, à la “The Lord of the Rings”, plays along with the actors’ team and helps each of them find his own story line. The director's fantasy skillfully unfolds itself, amidst blood and mud, bringing us the fierce expressions of the actors while the playful lights create a submerging atmosphere with a psychological incentive (light designer Chris Jaeger).
Excuses for hate - as in that notorious "Devide et impera" - dominate the play, while the theatrical paradigm of symbols easily leads the viewer to collapse into а philosophical abyss. The well-chosen cast is woven into a colourful tapestry of characters walking on a thin rope between justice and revenge, honesty and manipulation.
The whole production "No Man's Land" is emotionally guided by musical highlights, whether serious or with irony, while the light design contributes to the vivid image. With his precise cast the director has created a special atmosphere between stage and hall, between authors and viewers."
Brothers under Deus ex Machina | Mădălina Dumitrache, webcultura.ro, 21.11.2016
"No Man’s Land” finally marks an event in the autumn season. A very topical problem, an adaptation of a film, unexpectedly caught for life on stage by a very special team – director, set designer and actors – a theatre production that’s impressive and attractive. It’s a show full of emotion and challenge which surprises with the way it redresses the on-going tragedy into a bitter comedy."
An Impressive "Screen" Production in Theatre | Ileana Lucaci [viewer], personal blog, 21.11.2016