Everyday situations, the daily struggles of people like us, are the subject of Radu Afrim’s latest production, based on the play Sunflower by Andrea Pass, staged by the Tamási Áron Theatre. Sunflower, born in 2016, has not yet been performed in Romania, so the new production is a Romanian premiere.
Andrea Pass’s play focuses on ten-year-old Janka, who we get to know through her dog, her family, her school and her friends. Janka is a very happy and lively child, except that her mother sometimes shouts at her and other times she doesn’t notice her at all. Her friends are also happy and lively kids, but their parents either fight, get divorced or don’t exist. The children sing and dance and Janka draws the world around her exactly as she imagines it: full of odd characters and unexpected events. Everyone is looking for sunshine.
The new production holds up a mirror to contemporary society. It tells the stories of three families of lonely, lost children and adults searching for a better life. It’s as if we are looking at our own families, our own communities, small and large, all of us sunflowers in search of happiness. What happens to people when the sun doesn’t shine for a long time? How can we deal with the wounds we sometimes receive from our loved ones, and how can we erase the pain we sometimes cause our loved ones?
As usually, the production of Radu Afrim will be full of humour and playfulness, illustrating in a very sensitive way 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.
Andrea Pass is a playwright, director and theatre historian. Born in 1979, she grew up in Győr. Between 1999-2004 she studied and graduated in theatre history at the University of Veszprém. Between 2005-2006 she worked as a news editor at the studio of the Nyugat-Dunántúli Régió of Hungarian Radio, between 2007-2010 she worked as an assistant director at the Béla Pintér and Company, between 2007-2008 she attended the CEU screenwriting course. From 2010 she was the director and assistant director of Szptunyik Hajózási Társaság until its closure. “In her performances, text and theatre, acting and spoken dialogue, the concrete space where spectator and performer meet, and the other created world built from words, gestures, glances and movements, exist together in an organic unity” (Nóra Sediánszky)
Director Radu Afrim was born in Beclean, Bistrița-Năsăud county, in 1968. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in Romanian-French and studied theatre directing at the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. He is considered one of the phenomenons of the Romanian theatre scene, known for his daring adaptations of the classics and for his many contemporary productions. Some of his work is improvisation-based, so-called “author’s performances”, often with texts written by him. He has directed in most theatres in Romania. He has won the Romanian Theatre Association’s UNITER Award for Best Direction three times