Saturday, 17 October 2015

A WOMAN FOR ALL SEASONS @ The Pleasance Edinburgh

Bucharest National Theatre

17 October, 19.00. Pleasance One, The Pleasance Edinburgh

The final event of the Romanian season in Edinburgh is A Woman for All Seasons – a one-woman play based on the charged memoirs of Anitia Nandris. The play follows Nadris’ forced deportation to Siberia during WWII and her involvement in the anti-communist resistance movement - to exile - in the infamous Soviet Gulag and then follows her story through to repatriation. 

The play, presented by Bucharest National Theatre, which stars Amalia Ciolan, has won critical acclaim for its honest re-telling of this incredible true story, stripped of self-pity or accusation.

The memoir, 20 Years in Siberia, is the story of a peasant woman from Bucovina, North Romania. Anita Nadris’ story has become one of the most important testimonials of the feared Soviet Gulag. 

Anita and her entire family were among the 13,000 Romanians who lived the terror of deportation in June 1941. She experienced famine, disease and hard work in one of the harshest environments on Earth, managing to bring up her sons and return to her native village in 1961. 

Her book of memoirs was only published after the Romanian Revolution in 1989 and was awarded the ‘Lucian Blaga’ Prize of the Romanian Academy.

Produced for the stage by the Bucharest National Theatre the performance unveils the true terror of the political regime that affected every person who lived through it. Amalia Cioran brings to life Anita’s story, as a simply rendered, affecting and deeply honest account of events, just as they happened.

The performance is part of ‘The Trial of Communism through Theatre’ Programme. The play will be performed with English subtitles. 

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
This performance was conceived around a book written by a simple woman with little schooling, a Romanian peasant from Bukovina (Northern Romania) who was deported to Siberia. It is one of the most stirring books I have ever read, about which influent Romanian writer and dissident Monica Lovinescu wrote: "After reading such a book anyinferiority complex that we, as a nation, might have should disappear". The story of Anita Nandris-Cudla is the story of many Romanians; however, this wonderful woman had the talent and the power to lay it down on paper.
Amalia Ciolan, actress

Would you say there are any qualities about the production that give it a specific Romanian style?
The play evokes a dark period in the history of Europe, a time of violence, sufferance and moral dilemmas, not dissimilar to contemporary challenges. 

It portrays a simple woman confronted with the machinery of Evil, a young wife forcefully taken out of her home and deported thousands of kilometers from home, in the frozen, unforgiving Siberia who manages not only so survive but also to retain her dignity.  

It is a memorable, powerful performance from the lead actress. The show, produced by the National Theatre of Bucharest, illustrates the excellence of Romanian theatrical tradition.    
Dorian Branea, Director Romanian Cultural Institute London

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The audience should expect to feel intense emotions, to be absorbed by the atmosphere and the acting and to be transported to another period in time. I believe that we must keep in mind that slavery, terrorism, the Holocaust and communism are worthy of remembrance. They should not escape the memory of posterity and the judgement of history so as not to be repeated ever again. 
Amalia Ciolan, actress

As this play is about Anita NandriƟ-Cudla’s life from the first moments of awareness until the end, it inevitably includes all things that make up our existence: traditions, customs, education, religion, as well as the most important moments in life - birth, marriage, death. But they are not explicitly presented. 

This woman contained within herself everything that is valuable in a human being: the love of family, the love of nation and country, and the love of God. These values,enshrined through time, helped her get over the terrible experience of being deported to Siberia and save her and her children’s life. This gave her strength to return home and to rest for eternity in her village cemetery.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
Approaching this text I went through a long process of documenting that historical period, and the inspiration came, I believe, from the bountiful spirit of my nation. 

After reading the book I suggested my colleague and friend, director Sorin Misiriantu, to work together on this performance, especially since his father came from that part of the country and lived through those times. He responded to my proposal with great joy and, with a major artistic involvement, he wrote the script and directed the play. Whenour research work took shape I presented the show to the National Theatre Board, who embraced the project right away.
Amalia Ciolan, actress

We look forward to welcoming you to our show.

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