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The present is connected to the past

19 November 2021 No Comment

These days, the actors from the Youth Theater are in the middle of rehearsals for “A Lost Letter” („O scrisoare pierdută”), a good opportunity for a documentary research.

 In the footsteps of Caragiale in Piatra Neamț

In the image is that theater, immortalized in the interwar period, in a card from the collection of the “GT Kirileanu” County Library.

As the biography source indicates, a first record of his arrival in our city refers to the period October 1881- February 1882, when the young Ion Luca Caragiale is a school inspector for Neamț and Suceava counties, having the chancellery at Piatra Neamț.

Dimitrie Hogea, in the memorial volume “From the past of the city of Piatra Neamț” (1936), states that during the inspection, he lived in a modest room behind the Dornescu & C. Ionescu grocery store.

In the ”Ceahlăul” newspaper, from June 23, 1968, the literary critic Ștefan Cazimir states that this grocery store was ” on the ground floor of the old theater “, in the building built by Petrache Liciu Caia between 1870-1872, located on the premises of the current park between the Youth Theater and the Grand Ceahlău Hotel. The building built by Petrache Liciu Caia was demolished in the middle of last century.

The same D. Hogea, mayor of Piatra Neamț between 1914 and 1918, who knew Caragiale personally, states that this building was intended for public gatherings of all kinds: from theater performances, to literary sittings, sessions of cultural societies, conferences, political party assemblies.

During the meetings of the “Asachi” Society, of which Caragiale was also considered to be a member, he was supposed to have met Zulnia Isecescu, an educated teacher and interested in the political life of the city, about whom Ion Cârnu, in the brochure “Caragiale in Neamț” (1998), states that it would be the prototype of Zoe from “A Lost Letter” and that she was the one that Caragiale confessed to that he had found the plot for the play he was working on (”The loss of a letter”), but Ion Cârnu does not indicate the source of these statements.

Short history of the Piatra Neamț Youth Theater

The building in which the Theater has been operating for 60 years was built between 1929 and 1947, according to the construction plans of the architect Roger Bolomey from Bucharest, the contractor being Carol Zane. It started to function as a theater only in 1959, given the fact that, until that moment, it was rented, by auction, either to individuals or to some legal entities, being known at the time with the functionality of cinema or “Workers’ club”. At the end of the ’50s, the building is finally brought back to the functionality for which it was designed: that of a theater.

“The Piatra Neamț phenomenon “

The professional theatrical activity began in Piatra Neamț in 1958 on the stage of the Roxy Hall, built in 1870 by Petrache Liciu – Caia right in the middle of the city, in the space between the current building of the Theater and the Grand Ceahlău Hotel. The Piatra – Neamț Department building functioned publicly between October 1958 and June 1961, being part, from August 1958, of the organizational chart of the Bacău Theater, without being a legal entity, without a manager, director or a literary secretary.

In 1959, Ion Coman, the founder of the Youth Theater as an institution, transferred from the Bucharest Regional Theater to Piatra Neamț, as head of the Department he created in this city and insisted that this Department would become an independent theater.

According to the Decision no. 357 of June 8, 1961 of the Council of Ministers “The theater Department in Piatra Neamț becomes independent, with the name of the State Theater in Piatra Neamț.”

In March 1967, the Piatra Neamț Theater participated in the Nüremberg ”Teenagers and Children” Theater Festival and in the International Week of ”Children’s and Teenagers’” Theaters in Münich. One of the German stages on which the play directed by Ion Cojar was presented, EVERYTHING IS WELL ON THE INSIDE, BUT HELL GETS LOOSE ON THE INSIDE, the Piatra Neamț Theater was called the Youth Theater (Das Theater der Jugend).

On the occasion of this tour and being inspired by the German host theater, the director Ion Coman, a well-known figure in the mythology of the Romanian theatrical guild, asked the local legal entities to change the name of the institution from the Piatra Neamț State Theater to the Youth Theater. On all the prints for the trip to the FRG, the Piatra Neamț Theater appears as Das Theater der Jugend Piatra Neamtz – Rumänien, even if the formalities for changing the name will end after the date of the tournament. According to the Decision no. 570 of May 27, 1967 of the Executive Committee of the Citizens’ Council of the Bacău Region: “The name of the Youth Theater is attributed to the Piatra Neamț State Theater.”

 In its 60 years of existence, the Youth Theater has gained a reputation as a starting point for young actors, directors, scenographers, composers, who later had exceptional professional careers. Perhaps it is not by chance that many of the directors who worked at the Youth Theater later chose a pedagogical career crowned with achievements: Ion Cojar and Cătălina Buzoianu were some of the most important teachers for generations of acting and directing graduates of UNATC ” IL Caragiale ”, David Esrig is the founder of the“ Athanor ”Academy of Theater and Film in Germany, Andrei Șerban is a professor at Columbia University in the USA  and Radu Penciulescu is recognized as one of the most renowned acting professors in Sweden.

Known in the theatrical world in the period before 1989 as “the Piatra Neamț phenomenon “, appreciated by the well-known comedians of the time as “the best theater in Bucharest”, the Youth Theater from Piatra Neamț functioned as a creative laboratory for various artist generations, who have collaborated with the institution over time.

Photo gallery:

The Youth Theater is a professional cultural institution, specialized in the production of theater performances and interdisciplinary artistic activities, in which the permanent troupe of actors collaborates with guest artists, directors, scenographers, choreographers, actors, visual artists of all generations. Supporting theater creators at the beginning of the road is a mission marked in the DNA of this institution since its inception in 1958. Through its programs, the Youth Theater brings forward to the public community in Neamț County, and, of course, not only to the Neamț community, a theatrical offer of quality, diverse, original, non-conformist, inviting spectators of all ages to involve and participate, from the act of reflection on theatrical products to co-creation, taking into account the new consumption patterns of the early 21st Century.

Information source: @ Youth Theater

Photo gallery: POST PRESENT, Piatra Neamț Theater Festival, September 2021


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