Herta Müller's World on the New York Stage
Time & Location
About The Event
Our recently launched Romanian-American Studio Theater is proud to present, on May 10, the world premiere of ”I Hope I Wouldn’t Meet Myself Today”, a painfully intense, angst-ridded chamber piece based on the novel ”The Appointment” by Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller. Directed and performed with mesmerizing panache by Romanian thespian Simona Măicănescu, the show dwells into the humiliating and suffocating life of a struggling woman in communist Romania.
Also presented at the Václav Havel Library Foundation, as part of the ”Rehearsal for Truth” Theater Festival, on May 11.
I Hope I Wouldn’t Meet Myself Today
Based on the novel ”The Appointment” by Herta Müller
Performed in English
Adapted, directed & performed by Simona Măicănescu
Set & costumes by Doina Levința
Stage movement : Silvia Călin
Sound: Pompilius Onofrei
Stage manager: Radu Barbu
Based on the Nobel-laureate Herta Müller‘s grim novel with the same title about life in the oppressive years of communist Romania, ”I hope I Wouldn’t Meet Myself Today” depicts the insidious terror, moral decay and personal redemption through the destiny of a young woman torn apart by the painful failure of an unhappy marriage, the humiliations of everyday life in a dictatorship and the harassments she is subjected to by the feared Securitate. Told as o long, tormented monologue by the heroine herself, the story celebrates the inner strength and courage of an ordinary woman who refuses to surrender her dignity and hope in the most difficult circumstances.
Herta Müller is a Romanian-born German writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009 for her works revealing the harshness of life in Romania under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu. The award cited Müller for depicting “the landscape of the dispossessed” with “the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose.” Müller, of German Swabian descent, grew up in Banat, a German-speaking region of totalitarian Romania. She attended the University of Timişoara and, as a student, became involved with Aktionsgruppe Banat, a group of writers fighting for the freedom of speech. After graduating, she worked from 1977 to 1979 as a translator at a machine factory, a job from which she was fired for refusing to cooperate with the Securitate, the notoriously vast and ruthless Romanian secret police. Her first book, a collection of short stories titled “Niederungen” (1982; “Nadirs”), was censored by the Romanian government, but she won a following in Germany when the complete version of the book was smuggled out of the country. After publishing a second book of stories, ‘Drückender Tango’ (1984; “Oppressive Tango”) - which, like her first collection, depicted the general misery of life in a small Romanian village similar to her own German-speaking hometown - she was forbidden to publish again in Romania, and in 1987 she emigrated with her husband, author Richard Wagner, and moved to Germany. Her first novel, “Der Mensch ist ein grosser Fasan auf der Welt” (“The Passport”), was published in Germany in 1986. Although her circumstances had changed, her work continued to present and examine the formative experiences of her life: themes such as totalitarianism and exile pervade her work. Her style was described by Romanian journalist Emil Hurezeanu as “lively, poetic, [and] corrosive.” Among Müller’s later novels were “Reisende auf einem Bein” (1989; “Traveling on One Leg”), “Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger” (1992; “The Fox Was Ever the Hunter”), “Herztier” (1994; “The Land of Green Plums”), and “Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet” (1997; “The Appointment”). Her most recent novel, “Atemschaukel” (“The Hunger Angel”), was published in 2009. In addition to fiction, she published volumes of poetry and essays, including “Hunger und Seide” (1995; “Hunger and Silk”), “Der König verneigt sich und tötet” (2003; “The King Bows and Kills”), and “Immer derselbe Schnee und immer derselbe Onkel” (2011; “Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle”).
Simona Măicănescu performed in Romania under the direction of famous Silviu Purcărete, Lucian Pintilie, Tompa Gabor, and Andrei Șerban. After starring in a French-Romanian production presented at the Avignon Festival in 1994, she was invited to perform at Odéon Theatre in Paris, where she worked with André Wilms, Lukas Hemleb, and Jean-François Peyret. She then decided to move to France and continue acting. She has since performed in French, English and Romanian, with credits ranging from Norén’s “War” and Molière’s “Tartuffe” to the French TV series “Engrenages” and films like “Dante 01”, “Stowaways”, and “Splice”.
Where: Romanian Cultural Institute, 200 E 38th Street, New York 10016, NY; free entry; RSVP at Eventbrite
When: May 10, 7 p.m.
Where: Bohemian Hall, 321 East 73RD Street, New York 10021, NY; post-show talk & afterparty, free entry; RSVP at Eventbrite
When: May 11, 8 p.m.