|Why the crisis of language, out of so many others that overwhelm us?|
One evening, during the intermission of a show that I cherish, even if it uses a language considered by many to be indecent, two friends of mine told me that it was unacceptable to hear “this” on stage. Even if we are on the Boulevard? – I candidly asked, hoping to ease the tension. No chance! One of the ladies stayed till the end of the show, finally admitting that it was a valuable production, despite the trivial language. The other one left during the intermission, dropping this remark: That’s a recipe for theater disaster!
In a meeting with our theater actors, a colleague told me in a loud voice: This is unacceptable! Nobody has ever seen such bullshit on the Nottara stages. We have become a worthless theater in Bucharest. I retorted that the audience, the reviewers and the invitations to festivals say otherwise. That the incriminated show sells like hot cakes and that it has been selected for the National and other prestigious Theater Festivals. That it is meant to bring the young generation to the theater, because our faithful audience has become a bit too mature, as a consequence of our characteristic prudery.
These circumstances led me to the idea of a whole main section in the program of our Fest(in) to be dedicated to this type of productions that are shown everywhere else and that have neither ruined theaters nor chased the public out of the halls.
When I started selecting the shows that would be gathered under this umbrella, I realized there were too many. Whatever I did, I knew I had to leave aside many valuable shows. I could not bring them to this festival, even if this year’s edition runs for ten days and faces many challenges. The challenges to give up prudery at least for a moment and admit that even a show with no swearwords, but thoroughly commercially oriented may be “vulgar”. That not only a show focusing on marginal characters that are plagued by all sorts of crises, vices, and obsessions may be indecent, but that productions which consume our time without any cultural benefit are the same. That good theater shows us who we really are, putting its finger on the weak spot, penetrating deep into our souls, often making us suffer, laugh out or reflect on the matters. That theater is a kind of modern reunion, a place to meet your friends and become actors ourselves, as part of the spectacle. These are some of my reasons for having chosen such a theme, considered by some to be uncomfortable, by others, reasonable and by the public, successful, I hope.
Those who will blush when hearing a juicy swearword on stage are invited to the colloquium dedicated to the crisis of language. I think it is worth discussing the new tendencies, the difference between good and evil in theater, and the mirror of times that theater has been since its very beginning. We should discuss who we are and who we want to be. Let us not forget how Caragiale’s contemporaries regarded him…and let us consider the way we evaluate him today.
I cannot foresee how long the life of these productions will be, but I do know that they are reflecting on the risk of us becoming like that. In case we are not already there! I think theater is meant to show us the truth. It is up to us to hide the problems or simply face them. Don’t you think so?
Director of The Nottara Theatre
Director of the Fest(in) on the Boulevard Festival