2013-02-19 13:01:40 - Theater directors are not rock stars. They do not have legions of admirers who hunt and beg for an autograph. The only one exception in Romania, with genuine fans is Radu Afrim. His name is enough to attract the audience into the theatre halls. No matter what he puts on stage, his audience is enormous. When his performances come to Capital, rooms are filled, the doors of the Odeon (theater which usually hosts them) are taken by assault. When he stages in Bucharest, loyal audience comes from all over the country to see his productions. His blog or Facebook account are pursued with frenzy. Young audience in Romania loves him.
An officially appreciated director
There is however a paradox that must be mentioned. Afrim is not only the favorite theatre director of the audience, but also of many theatre critics. If the old guard critics rejected from the first performances writing with hostility on his productions, however, several years after the director managed to win twice UNITER direction (considered the most prestigious distinction in Romania). In 2006, he took UNITER with Plastilina (The Plasticine) of "Toma Caragiu" Theatre Ploiesti, and in 2007, with joi.megaJoy (Thursday Megajoy) of Odeon Theatre.
His recognition quickly spread throughout Europe. In 2008, he gets the Coup de Coeur award of the Avignon Festival Presse (Off), with Mansarde à Paris ou les détours Cioran staged in Luxembourg. In
2009 Kulturforum Foundation Europe gives him another award. In 2009 his performance at the National Theatre in Timisoara, Family M's Illness is invited for a series of ten performances at the Theatre de l'Odeon in Paris. In December 2011 he puts on stage Das Ende des Regens at the Cuvilliés-Theater, in Munich, another success of audience and press.
How could we explain Radu Afrim's success?
At the age of 44, he is the creator of the most distinct vision. His stage universe is always easily recognizable. His slightly grotesque comic, often one of the slow-witted, with injection of surrealists steams, is always doubled by the unexpressed, painful vulnerability of his (anti)heroes. The mentioned features perfectly match with contemporary sensitivity. As well as the director is interested - an assumed and repeated credo - almost in drama texts of today.
Playful, blending together, in an unspecified mix, innocence with ridiculous, his theatre guarantees the escape from everyday life. Radu Afrim is among those who have essentially changed the Romanian theater. What makes him so loved? He speaks the language of our times, he communicates easily and sensitively. Neither academically, not in metaphysical essays, least in the elitist language of abstruse images. And, above all, with humor. With infinite humor! His universe summarizes, in a relaxed note, a corpus of recent themes and tones, of the manners of representing world in contemporary art. Radu Afrim re-makes up European zeitgeist with steep Romanian infiltrations.
The book is richly illustrated demonstrating that Radu Afrim's performances are a visual world in itself. The distinctive touch of the director is always obvious. In addition, the director is also appreciated for his splendid photos as proved by the two photo exhibitions, Oil of Angels, in 2001, Karlowy Vary then presented in Cluj in 2002, and Stories and Bodies (Timisoara, 2007).One of the photos of Adam Geist, which has become also the poster of the show, was selected and appeared on a London magazine's the cover. During "Jean-Luc Lagarce" International Year a volume was printed after Lagarce International Colloquium. Editors have chosen one of Radu Afrim's pictures as the cover. It also happened with “Beautiful”, volume of Norwegian drama plays which uses as cover a photo of Radu Afrim.
Cristina Rusiecki's book, Radu Afrim. Țesuturile fragilității (Radu Afrim. Tissues of Fragility)
tries to find out, to deconstruct and justify the reasons for the audience's enthusiasm. The author unravels the mechanisms of the director's creation, interested in its interior texture, seen or unseen, that make up Afrim's wonderful world. The book is richly illustrated with images from the performances of the young's fetish director. Needless to mention that the most photos belong to Radu Afrim himself.
About the author
Cristina Rusiecki graduated Letters (University of Bucharest), 1988 and Theatrology (UNATC), 1996. Master in 1997 and Phd in 2007 in Dramatic History and Theatre Theory, with a thesis on The theatre of cruelty and Romanian performances of the last decade.
She began her journalistic career as a cultural reporter for Pro TV broadcast 7 o'clock Good Morning, then became producer of Iosif Sava Musical Hall, Millennium and Proezia. Eminescu and after TV producer for recording theatrical performances at the same television. Then she worked for The National Romanian Television, at the CLUB ART broadcasting.
Since 2001 she has constantly written theatre reviews, with headings in cultural magazines like The Word (2001), Cultural Observer (2002-2003), The Literary and Artistical Truth (2005-2008), Time Out (2006-2009). Since 2006 she has been responssible with theatre reviews and art pages in Culture magazine. Since 2007, she has been editorial general secretary of the the same publication. She collaborated with many other cultural magazines with theatrical profile like Theatre Today, The Contemporary, The Daily Magazine, Literatorul, The Evening Star, The Flame, Okean.
She interviewed personalities of Romanian and foreign culture: Andrei Serban, Gábor Tompa, Alexander Hausvater, Gigi Căciuleanu, Bocsárdi László, Razvan Mazilu, Anna Maria Beligan, Andrei Both, Lukas Barfuss, Monique Borie, Aleks Sierz, Nava Semel, Massimo Gerardi Roberta Levitow, Randy Gener, Peter Gross, Jesper Halle, Jeroen van den Berg, Krisztina of Châtel, Dieter Topp.
In 2010 she collaborated with the chapter On The Hungary State Theatre in Cluj at the collective book “The Romanian Contemporary Theatre”, published in German language, Frank & Timme, Berlin.
In 2012 she published the volume Radu Afrim. Tissues of fragility at Tracus Arts Publishing House. In May 2013 there will be published her new book „Julius Caesar, The Politics at Alexander Hausvater”
Tags: Radu Afrim, Cristina Rusiecki, Alexander Hausvater, Andrei Serban, Gábor Tompa, , Razvan Mazilu, Anna Maria Beligan, Andrei Both, Lukas Barfuss, Monique Borie, Aleks Sierz, Nava Semel, Massimo Gerardi Roberta Levitow, Randy Gener, Peter Gross, Jesper Halle, Jeroen van den Berg, Krisztina of Châtel, Dieter Topp
Further Information: cristinarusiecki.blogspot.com/
Photo/PPS: Radu Afrim (r.) received European Culture Award together with Ada Lupo-Hausvater, general manager of TNT and Dr. Dieter Topp, president KulturForum Europa (www.kfe.de)
Dieter Topp, Christian Bauer, Chris Rabe
Haus Jakobholz 10
PPS - Promotion-Presse-Service is a German press agency run by Dieter Topp and Christian Bauer and Chris Rabe, journalists and publishers.
PPS is on the market with releases about culture and cultural politics, focussing theatre, ballett, music and music theater, art and exhibition.
Releases in Germany and German speaking parts of Austria, Switzlerland, Netherland, Belgium to print- tv- radio- online- media as well as open culture channels.
PPS stays close to media partners together with the European CultureForum, KulturForum Europa since 1992
covering its press office. Also covering Int. Spring Festival Budapest, Fringe Festival Budapest, as well as Wratislavia Cantas Festival Wroclaw/Poland, Since 2005 reports for DasBallett.at, the Ballet of Staatsoper Vienna and Volksoper Vienna, Int. Istanbul Music Festival and Istanbul Biennial as well as Music Biennale Zagreb and Enescu Festival Bucharest (since 2007).
Since 2008 invited to report about Theatre Festivals Bucharest, Timisoara, and Underground Festival Arad, Romania, as well as "Libertas" Dubrovnik Summer Festival 2009 and Zurich Film Festival ZFF 2009, enlarged by zuerich.com/ Zurich Tourism and City Marketing in collaboration with a42 agency for tourism and marketing .
For the first time reports from BITEI-Theatre Biennale Chisinau/Moldavia with a lot of Russian and Eastern countries' aspects. In 2011 we enlarged PPS by International Theatre Festival Sibiu (RO) and Wagner Fest Budapest (HU), Palace of Arts and since 2012 Int. Fadjr Theatre Festival, Tehran, Iran. 2012 finished successfully with Janacek-Brno, Music Festival (CZ).