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The First Theatrical Version of Nobel Prize Winner Herta Müller’s "LOWLANDS" Presented in New York

Updated: Jul 5

A haunting depiction of the moral decomposition of the terminal years of Communism


We are excited to open (and close) the Rehearsal for Truth Festival in New York with the workshop production of ”Lowlands” by the German-Romanian, Nobel Prize winner author, Herta Müller, a haunting depiction of the moral decomposition of the terminal years of Communism seen through the eyes of a child from the German minority of Romania. The workshop production, directed by Ana Mărgineanu on a stage adaptation by Mihaela Panainte, will be followed by a talk on topics related to the play. The Romanian presence at the Festival, which carries on the vision and legacy of the great Václav Havel, is complemented by a screening of ”Here Moscow Calling”, directed by Catinca Drăgănescu, a production of the Unteatru company of Bucharest.


May 17, 7:30 PM: “Lowlands”, Rehearsal for Truth Festival (staged reading)

June 22, 7 PM: “Lowlands”, Voices International Theatre Festival, New Jersey (workshop production, as part of the Rehearsal for Truth Festival) / RSVP

June 23, 4 PM: ”Here Moscow Calling” by Catinca Drăgănescu (screening)

June 23, 7 PM: “Lowlands”, Rehearsal for Truth Festival (workshop production) / RSVP


“Lowlands” was originally published in the volume “Plays from Romania: Dramaturgies of Subversion”, edited and translated by Jozefina Komporaly, Bloomsbury, 2021

“Lowlands” is a Untitled Theater Company No. 61 production made possible by the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute

Adapted for stage by Mihaela Panainte after the homonymous book by Herta Müller, translated into English by Jozefina Komporaly

Directed by Ana Mărgineanu

Associate director: Jack Cavanaugh-Gialloreto

Cast: Maria Müller (Narrator, Child Narrator); Calaine Schafer (Mother, Blonde Girl, Scarecrow); Vas Eli (Father, Tony); Allison Fletcher (Grandmother, Aunt); Miguel Loyola (Grandfather, Man with Matchsticks)

Choreographer: Răzvan Stoian

Running time: 65 minutes

Language: English

Originally a volume of short stories, ”Lowlands” by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Herta Müller, born in Romania in the sizeable German (Schwaben) ethnic group of Banat Region, offers a poignant portrayal of life under the repressive regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu, from the perspective of the German minority in Romania. Seen through the eyes of a child narrator, using both poetry and frankness to convey the harsh realities of the time, the book captures the malaise of an existence suffocated by the constraints of both a dictatorship and a closed off community.

”Here Moscow Calling” (screening)

An Unteatru production

Written by Iulia Pospelova (translated in Romanian by Raluca Rădulescu)

Directed by Catinca Drăgănescu

Cast: Nicoleta Lefter, Alex Călin, Liviu Romanescu, Răzvan Rotaru

Cinematic creation and stage movement by Simona Deaconescu

Set design by Gabi Albu

Photography by Carmen Tofeni

Video editing by Bogdan Giurcă

Lighting design by Dragoș Mărgineanu/ Alexandru Medveghi

A daughter's relationship with her father is always special, but how does it change if the father is a famous dictator? How does it feel when Dad is a monster? Which reality is the real one? Between family attachment and political conscience, the show proposes a live dissection of a controversial character in the history of the 20th century, the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.


Ana Mărgineanu is a theater director who works both nationally and internationally. She graduated from The National University of Theater and Film of Bucharest, Romania. She is co-founder of PopUP Theatrics, a partnership creating immersive theatrical events around the world and in collaboration with international theater artists. Ana Mărgineanu is a past resident of Women's Project Theater, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and an alumnus of The Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Her work has been presented and/or developed at the WP Theater, The Kennedy Center, Juggerknot, 3LD Art & Technology Center NY, Working Theater, Urban Stages NY, New York Theatre Workshop, The Lark, Ensemble Studio Theater and in numerous theaters and festivals in Europe, most notably: New Plays from Europe Wiesbaden, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, National Theatre Festival Bucharest, Sibiu International Theater Festival. She has also directed, taught and facilitated workshops at Colleges and Universities like: The New School, SUNY Purchase, Pace University, Wesleyan University, Queens College, National Theater and Film University of Bucharest. Called "one of the reigning queens of New York's highly intimate, one-shot-only, conceptual-based theater" by the NYC critic Randy Gener, Ana Mărgineanu is known for close cooperation with the local communities who are audiences for her work, highly metaphoric visual style, and ability to draw raw, visceral performances from her actors.

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Jack Cavanaugh-Gialloreto, associate director of "Lowlands", is a Drama BFA student approaching his last year at The New School’s College of Performing Arts. He is an actor, writer, singer, dancer, costume designer, and teaching artist. His notable credits include "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (William Barfee), "The Fools that Run this Earth" (Technician), "Five: Thirty" (Cal), "A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Narrator/Ensemble), "In The Blood" (Costume Designer/Constructor). He is passionate about the intersection of performance art and activism and holds improvisation, comedy, and collaboration at the center of his practice. Jack graduated from public high school in Central New Jersey and is pursuing a BFA in Drama from the New School‘s College of Performing Arts. In the summer of 2019, he received a full scholarship to attend UArts’ Pre College Residency program and study acting. He is currently a Supporting Artist for the People’s Theater Project in Washington Heights and facilitates activism through devised theater. Follow the artist on his IG account:


Maria Müller is a Romanian actor, writer, and producer based in New York. She is also the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Et Alia, a theater company led by international women. Her most recent theater credits include Until Dark, directed by Federica Borlenghi (Out of the Box Theatrics), Plasters, directed by Emma Tadmor (The Flea), Where Are You? (New York), directed by Sim Yan Ying "YY" (Mabou Mines), and White Rabbit Red Rabbit (Theater for the New City). Her film credits include the feature film Queen Marie of Romania, directed by Alexis Cahill Sweet (available on HBO), the feature film No Tomorrow, directed by Martin Drop (Queens World, Manhattan Film Festival), and a short film she wrote, produced, and starred in called Where Are You from Again? for which she won Best Actress at Indie Short Fest - LA International Film Festival and was nominated at the Paris Film Festival. She's a graduate of NYU Tisch.

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Calaine Schafer grew up around the world, from Arizona to New Zealand, but has now firmly rooted in NYC as an actor and creator. Calaine is the co-creator of the award winning web-series BE Bettina & Elaine ( and is currently producing her first feature film, Kites Fly East with March Forth Production Company. She is also currently writing her own feature screenplay, "Dildo", and devising a gender-bender adaptation of "An Ideal Husband". Theater credits include: "Liar" (PopUp Theatrics), "Measure for Measure" (A Very Good Theatre Company), "Plucker" (Company of Fools), "Hot L Baltimore" (Harold Clurman Lab Theatre Company), "Holy Crab!" (Ensemble Studio Theatre), "A Long Distance Affair" (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), "Twelfth Night" (Roundtable Ensemble/Lake George Theater Lab). TV: "FBI" (Universal Television/CBS). Calaine has a BFA from NYU Tisch (The Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Royal Academy of Dramatic of Art). Currently she studies film acting and directing with Jon Shear. Website:

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Photo credit: David Noles

Vas Eli is an award-winning actor based in NYC. A multidisciplinary artist, he is also a director, writer, producer, dialect coach, educator and painter. He is the founder of BETTERFLY Productions ("The Pir", "Zoom With Me", "Far", "Lemonking", "The Sketchy Eastern European Show", "When & Where"). Theater: "The Sketchy Eastern European Show" (The Players Theater), "Tamburlaine" (TFANA), "Jericho" (Attic Theatre), "Unearthly Visitants" (Triskelion Arts), "Island of Dr. Moreau" (Piper Theatre), "Splitfoot" (Edinburgh Fringe), "Lincoln Dress" (Albany NY, Bucharest). TV: "Night Agent", "The Endgame", "For Life", "WeCrashed", "The Deuce", "The Blacklist". Film: "Snakeeater", "Varlet", "Delenda", "Hell House 2", "Kidnapping of A Fish", "The Naked Woman", "Dominant Species", "Far From Here". Website: / Follow the artist on his IG account vaseli_vaseli

Photo credit: Adrian Bulboaca

Allison Fletcher is an actor, singer, combatant and carpenter recently

relocated to New York. Favorite roles include "The Prisoner of Zenda" (Hentzau), "Dracula" (Lucy), "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Helena), and "Beauty and the Beast" (Babette). Previously, she reigned as Doña María Isabella, Queen of Spain at Medieval Times, Baltimore from 2018-2022. Website:

Photo credit: Ashley Smith from WideEyedStudios @wideeyedstudios

Miguel Loyola is a director, actor, playwright, and art curator. In 2009, he founded the company El Centauro Mecánico, dedicated to using artistic expression as a catalyst for social change and empowerment. His theatrical approach amplifies voices and narratives that are often overlooked and marginalized. He has collaborated with theater companies such as EspeKtros, Sabandijas de Palacio, Globe Theater, and PopUp Theatricals. Moving to la Sierra Gorda in Mexico, he created a methodology called the "theater of bewilderment" for community theater were he wrote and staged five plays with children and teenagers from the village and tour around the country. In 2019, he moved to New York, where he has staged three plays and created the 1st Latin American Playwrights Festival 2024. He has received several grants from the Mexican Government and has participated in festivals such as the Festival de Teatro Infantil Iberoamericano, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts 2024. He is currently writing two plays to be staged in 2025.

Follow the artist on his IG account: kentauros_mecanico

Photo credit: Dania Santos


Razvan Stoian, the choreographer of "Lowlands" hails from Romania and graduated from the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography, winning the Best Choreography and Best Interpretation awards. Prior to joining Battery Dance in 2016, he danced internationally with Tangaj Dance Company and Gigi Caciuleanu Romania Dance Company, with which he performed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the National Theater of Bucharest, and other theaters in Europe. Razvan started his dance career as a champion ballroom dancer, winning competitions in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and more. His stage and film choreography has been presented at the Battery Dance Festival. His works for the company include “Icarus” (2020), “Bo Mambo” (2022), “Iron Dove” (2019). His film collaboration with Romanian dancer Ana Maria Lucaciu, “Almost”, was created for the Battery Dance Festival 2020 and commissioned by the Romanian Cultural Institute. He has toured with Battery Dance in the US, Germany, South Korea, and Sri Lanka. In New York, he has led dance classes at the City Hall Senior Center and Millennium High School. Razvan is very excited to be returning to the New York stage and international tours. Follow the artist on his IG account



PHOTO GALLERY by Madeline Windland | PERFORMATIVE READING | Bohemian National Hall, Friday, May 17, 2024

PHOTO GALLERY | WORKSHOP PRODUCTION | Jersey City Theater Center, Saturday, June 22, 2024

PHOTO GALLERY by Madeline Windland | WORKSHOP PRODUCTION | Bohemian National Hall, Sunday, June 23, 2024

VIDEO | Closing night of the Rehearsal for Truth festival: “Lowlands” by Herta Müller. Post-show talk | Bohemian National Hall, Sunday, June 23, 2024


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