“Jonah” Opens Our Romanian-American Studio Theater Program
Time & Location
About The Event
We’re launching our brand-new theatrical series, The Romanian-American Studio Theater of New York, with “Jonah”, a thought-provoking allegory of ecological devastation and the personal and moral implications it brings about. Directed with visual flair by American Sharon Willems and performed in English by London-based Romanian actor Bogdan Silaghi, the show is an ingenious contemporary update of one of the most famous monologues in Romanian theater, written by great poet and playwright Marin Sorescu (1936-1996).
“Jonah”, which premiered at RCI London in 2017, is presented in the United States by RCI New York in collaboration with the UK theater company Kibo Productions, with the support of the Romanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Busboys and Poets.
The Romanian-American Studio Theater of New York is one of several new permanent programs of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, offering, throughout the year, chamber performances in English of exquisite quality, created by Romanian, American and international talent.
“‘Jonah’, as performed here, is the product of great, imaginative literature matched with great theatrical effort.” – Central and Eastern European London Review
By: Marin Sorescu Translation: Andrea Deletant and Brenda Walker Director: Sharon Willems With: Bogdan Silaghi Visuals by: Cristian Luchian & Leo Băcică
Performed in English.
Where & when:
Washington, D.C., Busboys and Poets, Tuesday 26 March, 7 p.m. Followed by a conversation about conservation and ecology.
New York City, Romanian Cultural Institute, Friday 29 March, 7 p.m. Followed by a glass of wine.
Our events are free and seating is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. We generally overbook to ensure a full house.
Sharon Willems is the artistic director of Kibo Productions and previously directed Kibo’s five-star production of “Tea Set” by Gina Moxley (The White Bear/ Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh), starring Amy Molloy. Prior to this Sharon directed the UK premiere of “Birthday” by Brooklyn-based playwright Crystal Skillman (Waterloo East Theatre/ Camden Fringe) and wrote the foreword for the subsequent Samuel French publication. She has curated several new writing events for Kibo Productions and this summer will work with award-winning playwright, Jaki McCarrick (“Leopoldville”, PapaTango Prize) to develop “Tussy", a new work on the life of feminist revolutionary Eleanor Marx. Sharon is also a freelance director and dramaturg and has worked across London on new writing for Little Pieces of Gold, The Off Cut Festival, PapaTango Theatre Company, and Salt Theatre Company. Say hello on twitter @kiboproductions and visit www.kiboproductions.com for more information.
Trained in both his native Romania and in London at East15 Acting School, Bogdan Silaghi has been working in various theaters (with, amongst others, Christopher Hayden for The Gate Theatre and Robin Sneller) and film projects (Debbie Tucker Green’s “Second Coming”) both in the UK and abroad. Recent credits include Oliver in “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare (Berridge Theatre, France) and Boy in “The Journey” (Badac Theatre Company).
Prolific Romanian poet, playwright, novelist and essayist, nonconformist explorer of existential uncertainties and the absurdity of human condition, Marin Sorescu’s ironic voice emerged in Romanian literature in the 1960s. His first book, Singur printre poeţi (Alone Among Poets, 1964), was a collection of poetic parodies and pastiches of conventional lyrical expressions. The work was an immediate success. It was followed by Poeme. Versuri. Parodii(Poems. Verses. Parodies, 1965), Moartea ceasului(The Death of the Clock, 1966), Poeme(Poems, 1967), and Tinerețea lui Don Quijote (Don Quijote’s Tender Years, 1968). His existentialist themes, at the same time universal and subjective, placed his work into the wide context of the avant-garde. With Iona (Jonah, 1968), written at the beginning of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s reign, Paracliserul(The Verger, 1970) and Matca (The Matrix, 1973), all three constructed on the themes of creation and destruction, Sorescu established his reputation as a major modern playwright. The trilogy was published in the UK for the first time in 1985 under the title The Thirst of the Salt Mountain.
Although Sorescu’s dramas drew full houses, they were soon deemed controversial in Romania and withdrawn by the censorship. In the 1970s, he started to write historical dramas in the Brechtian epic-dramatic style. “For the playwright, history is like a bone to a dog,” Sorescu was writing in the preface to Vlad Dracula, the Impaler (1978). Throughout the1980s his literature was heavily censored. After the 1989 Revolution, Censored Poems was printed – a collection featuring one of the author’s masterpieces, House Under Surveillance. Marin Sorescu was saying about his writing in self-mockery: “I can't give up smoking just because I don’t smoke, and I can’t give up writing just because I have no talent.”
Throughout his career Sorescu received several awards, including the Romanian Writers’ Union Prize in 1965, 1968, and 1974, the International Poetry Festival Gold Medal, Naples (1969), the Romanian Academy Prize, first time in 1970 and then several other times, the Poetry Prize of the Academia delle Muze, Florence (1978), the International Fernando Riello Prize, Madrid (1983), the Herder Prize, Austria (1991). In 1983 he became a corresponding member of the Mallarmé Academy, and in 1991, a member of the Romanian Academy. Marin Sorescu was Romania’s Nobel Prize nominee in 1996, the year he died of liver cancer at the age of 60.