Almost simultaneously with the Reflex5 Festival, on 22nd March, the last rehearsal of this season at the Tamási Áron Theatre in Sfântu Gheorghe began. Andrea Pass’s play Sunflower gives an insight into the lives of three families, exploring the fate of children and adults and their interactions.
At the centre of the play is ten-year-old Janka, who we get to know through her dog, her family, her relationships at school and with her friends. Throughout the scenes, the story of three families unfolds, each with a fracture: divorce, illness, abandoned children, parents with misplaced expectations. Andrea Tompa, writer and theatre critic, writes about the story in her foreword to the drama: “a classic narcissistic mother dominates every stage situation; she lacks empathy, attention, interest in others. She is intrusive, infinitely egotistical; at the same time, she is suspicious and constantly on the defensive, although she never blames herself for anything. This lack of empathy ultimately makes him simply cruel. In the first scene, she misses the parents’ meeting, holds up the teacher who is about to leave, declares that it is her husband she should be ashamed of, who did not come. What is the husband like after all this? A classic “emotionally absent” father. He is present, but emotionally absent, with his attention and interest. The two of them have a ten-year-old daughter, so there is not much attention for her. The little girl is a good drawer, but she only uses black… The virtue of the play is its ability to show both the surface and the depths, in sharp, playful scenes and strong situations.”
As the director Radu Afrim has already taught the audience in Sfântu Gheorghe, the performance will be full of humour and playfulness, sensitively illustrating how children’s imagination colours the sad reality of their everyday lives. Some of the actors will play multiple roles, appearing in the story as children and adults, or as characters in scenes that are created in the children’s imagination.
The Tamási Áron Theatre’s production is not about clearly evil parents and abusive families, but about lonely, lost children and adults looking for a better life. Instead of big dramatic scenes and revelations of universal truths, the audience is confronted with everyday situations and the daily struggles of people like us. It’s as if we are seeing our own families, all of us seeking happiness as the sunflowers is seeking the sun.