I. L. Caragiale National Theatre of Romania, Bucharest
premiere 3 December 2011, Main stage
Maşa Dinescu, Alexander Morfov
210 min., with intermission
Maia Morgenstern, Afrodita Androne, Emilian Mârnea, Cezar Grumăzescu, Marius Rizea, Dragoş Ionescu, Marcelo-S Cobzariu, Costel Constantin, Mihai Calotă, Victoria Dicu, Erika Băieşu, Alexandru Călin, Alina Rotaru, Kiara Anca Firan, Antonia Din, Rațiu Petra, Păunescu Aurora, Alexandra Suciu, Vladimir Stănescu, Vasile Niculușcă, Zibilianu Florentina, Mateescu Simina, Nina Teodorescu, Cornel Țigancu, Mihai Clodeanu, Laurențiu Andronescu, Eugen Mareș, Negulete Silviu, Viorel Florea, Sorina Ştefănescu, Constantin Dinulescu, Răzvan Oprea, Mihai Călin, Dorin Andone, Ovidiu Cuncea, Mihai Munteniţă, Costina Ciuciulică, Fulvia Folosea, Axel Moustache, Idris Clate, Mircea Rusu, Alexandra Poiană, Miriam Rizea, Delia Florea, Ana Maria Bercu, Bogdan Costea, Isidor Mihai, Petru Ancuța, Alex Ștefănescu, Silviu Maluțan, Enea Alexandru, Andrei Cătălin, Popescu Alexandru, Ionescu Adrian, Anghel Robert, Neacșu Marian
One of the most significant playwrights in the world, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and a play that became a classic. The choice of text to raises problems that, in our modern times, are more acute than ever - justice for money, prostitution (of the heart), unforgettable and unforgiven love, the freedom of women's choice, truckling as a form of social and financial progress. Can one million dollars buy the moral dignity of an entire city? A text about humanity reduced to the scale of a modest provincial market, a satire about implacable mores which make it impossible to distinguish between alleged victims and alleged executioners. A show with an amazingly picturesque staging and dynamic surprises that brilliantly bring the diverse technical possibilities of the Main stage to their effective maximum. The impressive set design inventively recreates a town in order to give the audience a plausible feeling that it is in the middle of the action. A mix of outrageous comedy and drama, "The Visit" is a show about guilt, revenge and gluttony, created by a formidable team of artists from Bulgaria (Alexander Morfov - director, Nikola Toromanov - set design), Great Britain (Chris Jaeger - light design) and the talented actors from the company of the National Theatre - Bucharest. A show built on an inconvenient question: what is the price of our conscience - loads of money or, maybe, just a few bucks?
A woman in her sixties returns to the town where she spent her childhood years. She is now worth billions of dollars as she succeeded in building a fortune after leaving the place to become a prostitute. An obviously difficult life has brought her to a decision - she would donate some serious money to the town that is having difficulties in return of a murder. She wants her former lover - Alfred, killed. If the townsmen agree to such an act she is willing to donate two equal sums of half a million - one for the municipality and one to be shared among the households.
The people realise how much they need this money and grow to compromise on her condition. Her argument is that years ago, before she moved from the place, she was the losing party in a paternity lawsuit between her and Alfred due to Alfred's paying to false witnesses. The consequence for her was having to leave and falling into a life of forced prostitution.
Of course, for Alfred the times are now tense. He becomes increasingly paranoid of Klara's "condition" and seeks support from the locals. In a conversation with the priest he comes to know that the deal is done and he should be running for his life. This is confirmed by all the expensive goods his townsmen, including his own family, are suddenly permitting themselves to acquire.
Meanwhile Klara has decided to enter into another marriage and uses the ceremony to officially admit that the reason they need those money so bad is that she already bought all the properties there and governed the town to an economic decay - a staging that would secure her the winning position. Alfred grows to accept his faith. What is Klara's deep emotional secret, though?
NOMINATIONS & AWARDS:
Nominated for UNITER Theatre Award, 2012 - Theatre Production of the Year
UNITER Theatre Award, 2012 - Nikola Toromanov, Set Designer
"Maia Morgenstern takes over the stage with a solid part, that suits her like a glove. (…) Mircea Rusu, with an exceptional performance, carries his character to a more and more possible death, slipping from the illusion that his fellow men will protect him, to the certainty of an absurd ending. (…) The Bulgarian director Alexander Morfov created a powerful performance, well put together, filled with tension, with memorable scenes, easy to follow, managing to employ all the potential of the Grand Hall, through an excellent technique of placing the characters into the acting space. The set design, done by another Bulgarian artist, Nikola Toromanov, reproduces in fine details the set of a railway station, the center of the town, with a restaurant, café and a boutique, with the doctor’s and mayor’s offices and also the police station, thus always offering the spectator a different perspective."
"Around the essential question about which he talked at the premiere, that being - if nowadays a poor man can remain honest?, the director projected a social setting of a great characterial and psychological richness, obviously focusing on the trajectory of this famous visit that devastates the existence of the citizens in the little town of Gullen, but also the soul of the rich woman arrived here to revenge a past of humiliation. He manages to achieve both goals, due to his science to construct, through which he balances different episodes, by following the course of the action from one pole of the conflict to the other one. (…) Klara Zahanasian, the spectacular character, finds in Maia Morgenstern the ideal “coat”, given by the elegance and class which the actress knows how to exhibit. At the other end, Mircea Rusu confers to Ill humility and humanity, in a nuanced performance, ranging from the joviality produced by the news of Klara’s arrival to the resigned acceptance of her verdict. The actor has many good moments, of warm human display, and that makes the others’ contradictory feelings and paradoxical states of mind to grow. A certain balance between dignity, cowardly capitulations and resignation ensures the success of Mircea Rusu’s performance. (...) With a mastered art of portraying this world, by multiplying the representative prototypes, the director fills the stage with the quaint and at the same time dramatic life of the little town, illustrated in detail through realistic elements, but also with some remarkable symbolic openings. (...) The most impressive moments yet, come by the creative contribution of the scenographer Nikola Toromanov (costumes: Andrada Chiriac), who, by unexpectedly exploring the possibilities of NTB’s Grand Hall (little exploited by local artists), composes unforgettable moments, through their beauty, expressivity and semantic value."
"Alexander Morfov - the director of the performance, Nikola Toromanov – the creator of the set, Andrada Chiriac – the designer of the costumes, Chris Jaeger – light designer and the choreographer Galina Bobeicu produced an impressive show, through its: creativity, dynamic, professional solidness, posture and through the accuracy of the proposal. To all this is added a display of acting forces worthy of a prestigious institution as a national theatre. (...) I don’t know how many of us believed Ion Caramitru when he announced that the activity of the theatre he is running won’t be disturbed. For sure, even fewer of us would have believed that in this period of time we will see, at the Grand Hall, such a production that exploited to the maximum the artistic and technical potential of the NTB."
"The staging is monumental and this is due to the creativity of the Bulgarian director (Alexander Morfov) and of the set designer (Nikola Toromanov), supported by the technical facilities of the Grand Hall, with an unusual functionality. In the spectacular and easy to change setting, there is an entire world, because the cast is numerous and so are the extras. (...) The way the crowd is manipulated by the millionaire is subtly woven on stage. People’s dignity is benevolently guided towards betrayal (…). The hypocritical crowd only wants money, more and more money and thus, the moral principles are annihilated."
"We witness what is called a great staging, a super-production, with a numerous cast, and many extras whose movements are precisely and efficiently coordinated. It is beyond any doubt that Alexander Morfov knows how to organize and coordinate ensembles, that he is a master of group scenes, that it’s easy for him to move naturally and convincingly the aforementioned groups, it’s clear that he is passionate for the visual elements of theatre. (…) Mircea Albulescu is remarkable in playing the Professor, a role that marks a solo moment of great refinement, even emotional, carefully and skillfully counterpointed through all that will later mean a more and more emphasized putting into brackets of the dignity and reason of the character who will end up bowing to the will of majority. A majority in a moral decline, involution gradually revealed by the performance."
The Visit | Mircea Morariu, Cronica Veche, 01.05 - 30.06.2012