It’s been more than ten years since the most excellent show in Romania is being sold out. I might actually call it the long-expected Faustian phenomenon that starts in April in Sibiu. Why long-expected? Because by the time you realize that the season is on, it might be too late for you to attend it unless you hunt the TNRS website or their Facebook page. So if you want to nab a spot, bookmark this website, create a reminder in your calendar, for I bought my tickets in February for a performance in July.
I first read Goethe’s Faust a few years ago and reread it shortly before the show, to have it fresh in my mind. I think that there are three Fausts: The first one is Goethe’s masterpiece with his all-knowing-hegemonic-vicious-suicidal hero that gives in to the devil in exchange for knowledge and carnal satisfaction.
The second one belongs to Lucian Blaga due to his fabulous translation of the original text in a clean, endearing, and authentic Romanian. Blaga absorbs very in detail the goethian oeuvre and adds to it a personal touch that makes the book almost impossible to put down. And if it weren’t for this second Faust, maybe the third one wouldn’t have been so captivating and triumphant.
The third Faust is Purcărete’s. He stages a majestic show that leaves you breathless. To be honest with you, ever since I saw the trailer, I ran out of air, but in a good way. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt so nervous before a show. So, as you can imagine, I drove to Sibiu with really high hopes, and now I can say that this encounter exceeded my expectations. It is starting with the hall that introduces you to the phantasmagorical universe of Faust, continuing with the full auditorium and the unexpectedly quiet audience, without being able to peek behind the white sheets covering the scene. But as soon as the scene is revealed, a broad and deep frenzy starts: decadence, debauchery, nudity, obsessions, angelic choirs, live rock music, fire and smoke, pigs’ heads, an invitation to soul-searching during the Walpurgisnacht fair, a lot of poetry.
Miklos Bacs, in the role of Faust, is incredibly versatile while walking you through his character’s emotions with no impairment. You can witness him rejuvenate alongside the devil, while he changes his tone of voice, his sad look, his heavy walk. Beside him, the best actress that I’ve ever seen, Ofelia Popii plays a Mephistopheles that turns you, the spectator, into a little Faust. You are afraid of her, but you would also be tempted to give in to her. The shape-shifting Ofelia Popii does a really complex and challenging role, and she carries it out like a superhuman.
To me, Faust is the best show I have ever seen, and it will probably be hard to beat by another one. Moreover, I read a similar statement in a chronicle in The Observer, so the Faustian impact is global, for good reason. Unlike Hollywood movies where they shoot tons of doubles to get a perfect scene, in Faust, more than 100 actors create before our eyes a complete show, in one take. The stage design, the costumes, the music make Faust more than a theater performance.
So, besides the fact that Sibiu is a gorgeous city, the experience Faust alone is worth a trip by car or by train that you will most likely want to take every year when the Faustian season starts.
I end my pleading with a line that perfectly describes what I felt then: Beautiful moment, do not pass away!
SCRIPT, DIRECTOR: Silviu Purcărete
SET & LIGHT DESIGN: Helmut Stürmer
COSTUME DESIGN: Lia Manţoc
ORIGINAL MUSIC: Vasile Şirli
MUSICAL ARRANGEMENT: Doru Apreotesei
VIDEO: Andu Dumitrescu
ASSISTANT SCENOGRAPHER: Daniel Răduţă
Mephisto: Ofelia Popii
Faust: Miklós Bács
Margarita: Eliza Blănaru, Eveline Buta, Cezara Crețu, Iunis Minculete, Simona Negrilă, Francesca
Pop, Andreea Preda, Alexandra Spătărelu, Oana Vlad
With: Johanna Adam, Veronica Arizancu, Geraldina Basarab, Emőke Boldizsár, Anca Cipariu, Mihai Coman, Ioana Cosma, Ali Deac, Diana Fufezan, Raluca Iani, Dana Maria Lăzărescu, Alexandru Malaicu, Adrian Matioc, Mariana Mihu, Fatma Mohamed, Serenela Mureșan, Adrian Neacșu, Gabriela Neagu, Cătălin Neghină, Renate Müller-Nica, Ioan Paraschiv, Eduard Pătrașcu, Cătălin Pătru, Gabriela Pîrlițeanu, Cristina Ragos, Viorel Rață, Vlad Robaș, Cristina Stoleriu, Dana Taloș, Arina Ioana Trif, Cendana Trifan, Ștefan Tunsoiu, Iustinian Turcu, Marius Turdeanu, Codruța Vasiu, Pali Vecsei, Liviu Vlad, alongside the students and graduates of the LBUS Department of Drama and Theatre Studies and TNRS collaborators
Electric band: Dorin Pitariu, Călin Filip, Lucian Fabro, Ciprian Oancea.
Cristian Stanca – the wolf
Faust the dog – trainer: Silviu Stan