Featuring two of Romania's best known-actors, "Stage Dogs" is based on David Mamet’s “A Life in the Theatre".
"Being an actor is a wonderful job. Terrible.
Superb. Ludicrous. Extraordinary. Horrendous. Uplifting. Embarrassing. That's
what it is all about in Stage Dogs and the show stands real chances of
blowing people's minds." That's how Florin Piersic Jr. has introduced the show
he created and stage-directed. Actually the show marks the encounter on stage
between two very talented actors, who are as renowned as they are charismatic:
Marcel Iures and Florin Piersic Jr.. As for Stage Dogs, it is a
production of Act Theatre, the first independent theatre with its own headquarters
in Romania after 1989. In 2018, the Act Theatre celebrated two decades since
its establishment. Inspired by David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre", Stage
Dogs opens the door to the backstage of a performance.
"Make people happy. Make them cry,
make them laugh, take them as far as you can, make them forget. But make sure
you never lie to them!"
These words, written by Florin
Piersic Jr., are uttered by Marcel Iures towards the end of the performance and
their impact is so strong that words are almost impossible to forget. We asked
Marcel Iures how easy or how difficult it is for an actor to make an effort not
to lie to the audience, while on stage.
"No one knows. Many are just
pretending. And they pretend out of their need to clear up things, to reach a
conclusion. But it is a calling without conclusions. What I believe is that
what is fascinating in this show, as it is written by Florin and the way we act
it, is the fact that a light shines in this dark ditch. On one side there is
man's need to create legends, to invent, there are many mysteries, more or less
justified, and our own notoriety and celebrity. As Florin says in scene 9: we
get up on stage as mere schizophrenics, we are trembling, we are going
insane... we have the feeling that we are someone by pretending we are someone
else. We shiver and have small heart attacks, every night. In fact, we are
The script of Stage Dogs is
built as a story between a sacred monster actor and a younger actor. We asked
Florin Piersic Jr. what needs, desires and quests led to this proposal to
unveil the spectacle of life from behind
the stage of a theatre:
are things that come to bring calm into an area of theatre, the area in which
people climb pedestals, they look down on you. But in the end, they are still
people. And it is a good thing to recall that. Because the magic of theatre
works, it depends on the lighting, it depends on a lot of things. And it is a
good thing to remember that. Actors are very fragile and unhappy a lot of the
time, with a regular baggage of things, and a huge baggage of imagined issues.
The ones that the imagined characters they carry around have. And that makes
them special. But I believe that certain lines from this show had to be uttered
in this show, lines that balance the scales. Because I don't think a certain
kind of exacerbated enthusiasm is healthy. I am referring to the enthusiasm of
the audience for the actors. There is a charisma that an actor has, that of a
superman. This is our impression, but we are all people. And in fact this is
what the show displays."
We talked to Marcel Iures and Florin
Piersic Jr.. after their performance at the Arad New Theatre International
Festival, the twentieth since its premiere in March. Stage Dogs filled the big hall of
the Ioan Slavici Classical Theatre. It sells out every time. You may
wonder if the audience comes there for the actors or for the script. Here is
Florin Piersic Jr.:
"I was thinking at some point who
was going to ask the question. Was it going to be just colleagues? Or theatre
critics? And now I am startled to discover that this hidden world, behind the
scenes, is interested in this, as long as people identify with these actors.
And identify inner feelings. And I say: yes, it is possible. And self-irony
works as a very good weapon."
In the end we went behind the stage,
to find out how Florin Piersic Jr. and Marcel Iures worked together in
rehearsal. Here is Florin Piersic Jr.:
"What was incredible in rehearsal,
and reflects now in the show, is the fact that we always had available healthy
laughter, telling each other stories, things relevant to this context, about
how down to earth actors really are. We told each other loads of things, and we
were very happy about it. And this helps now, because I believe this show is
largely a comedy. It is good to know that. I don't believe in drama without a
bit of comedy. As it is in life."
Here is now Marcel Iures:
"It was a good experience, a good
encounter, we did not simply glide past each other. You can imitate and ruin a
relationship to preserve your glory, your legend. That is foolish. The idea of
a clash of celebrities, of names, is terrible. I don't believe in that. On the
contrary, I believe in dissolving, because in the end we dissolve one against
the other or one in each pother. I know that sounds haughty, but this is the
direction in which the effort runs. This is the basic effort of actors when
they meet. This is what collaboration means. You can shake hands, to
understand, and no longer feel ashamed, or fake shyness. In theatre we are laid