The Piatra Neamt Youth Theater, the place where most great Romanian artists have learned their craft, celebrates this year 50 years of bearing this name
The Piatra Neamt Youth Theater, the place where most great Romanian
artists have learned their craft, celebrates this year 50 years of bearing this
name. In all these years, it has supported and promoted young artists, this
year with the Pleading for You(th) Theater Festival. The 29th
edition of the festival, held under the leadership of the new director of the
theater, Gianina Carbunariu, brought the theater even closer to young artists,
as well as the community. The festival was preceded by an anniversary moment,
which started with the inauguration of the photo exhibition called "Youth
Theater Actors and Spectators". It featured 46 photos taken during meetings
between actors from the theater and city inhabitants, with a short caption with
the background of the people featured.
Here is Gianina Carbunariu:
"We had the project 'Youth Theater Actors and Spectators', as
part of which we ran 46 interviews with spectators of all ages, with various
backgrounds, from all walks of life. We didn't have only spectators, but also
potential spectators. We spoke to people who had never been to the theater. I
think this is more interesting, and the most important thing, attracting an audience
who has never been to the theater. Not because they are not interested, but
also because of lack of time, or a lack of promotion. The interviews were a
part of preparing the anniversary moment. We launched there the photo
exhibition, and we tried to make the project visible beyond the theater foyer,
with banners reading 'Actors and Spectators'."
The photos on the walls of the foyer were made by Mihaela Jipa,
artistic secretary of the theater, who, together with actors, picked the brains
of the city's inhabitants in relation to the theater. Here is Mihaela Jipa:
"Someone said that theater has the role of educating, you find
yourself in theater, in theater you can be yourself. Theater is like a church,
when you go there you prepare, inwardly and outwardly. One lady told us that
her favorite actor was Bogdan Talasman. He gave her an autograph, and wrote
something on it, which became her motto in life. Everyone we interacted with
told us something special. It was a lesson for all of us. This closeness, I
think, was something that changed for both sides the perception on audience,
art, actors, and the role of theater."
The stories about the Youth Theater, told at the anniversary moment
and in the book accompanying the event, were told by the artists who have acted
here, as well as by the audience. Some members of the audience have been
witness to the evolution of the theater, while some young people got to know
it. Here is Gianina Carbunariu once again:
"In July we launched the project 'Spectator Archive', inviting
spectators to send letters telling their stories about the Youth Theater. The
letters were the basis of the anniversary event. The anniversary moment was the
engine of this project, and in the future we will be thinking of how to further
gather materials for the archive, how to motivate the spectators."
This year's edition of the Piatra Neamt Theater Festival included a
section recommended to high school students, and a jury made up of seven high
school students granted a Popularity Award for the best show in this section.
Gianina Carbunariu said that the stake in this was not the award in itself, but
the fact that young people would come to the show, would talk to their peers
about the shows, would communicate, would learn how to watch a show, would take
part in discussions with the audience."
Among the seven young people selected through letters of motivation
was Francisc Gabriel Lolea, a sophomore at the National College of Information
Technology. He told us how he got to send the letter, and what his expectations
were of theater:
: "I took part in the competition called 'Tea, Poetry, Theater',
and I won a meeting with Victor Giurescu, actor with the Youth Theater, and we
had a conversation. This meeting motivated me, and I told myself I should let
loose my words and my love of theater. I sent a motivational letter and I was
pleasantly surprised that I got picked out of 200 applicants. I am surprised by
the shows that were presented, they have interesting topics, which should
challenge us to reflection. We need shows to attract young people, since the
name of the theater is the Youth Theater."
Catalina Balalau is one of the young actresses with the theater who
got involved in the projects meant to bring the theater closer to the community:
"We went to the fabric factory, we met there very convivial
people, we made a tour of the factory, we talked to them. Some were people who
go to the theater, others didn't. We talked to them about the reasons why they
didn't. It was a wonderful morning both for them and for us. Then we saw them
again at the inauguration of the 'Youth Theater Actors and Spectators'
exhibition, and it was very pleasant. It's good to talk to each other. Of late,
the climate has been very friendly here, and spectators are more familiar with
us. We had a lot of full house shows this season, every weekend. This means we
must be doing something right. There have been some great initiatives lately."
Gianina Carbunariu is convinced that "theater is not for the elites,
theater is for everyone".
"I want the community of spectators in Piatra Neamt to come to
the theater. I want theater to belong to the community in which it exists, and
for the community to feel that, that the theater belongs to them. And I want
them to be critical, I want them to have a dialogue with the artists. I want us
to be together."