The Lesson

Text: Eugène Ionesco
Directed by: Mihai Măniuţiu
Translation: Vlad Russo, Vlad Zografi
Dramaturgy: Anca Măniuţiu
Set: Adrian Damian
Costumes: Irina Moscu
Choreography: Andrea Gavriliu
Music: Şerban Ursachi
Assistant to the director: Tudor Lucanu
Cast: Constantin Chiriac, Ofelia Popii, Mariana Mihu – Plier, Veronica Arizancu, Emőke Boldizsár, Ioana Cosma, Serenela Mureşan, Veronica Popescu, Gabriela Pîrlițeanu, Cristina Stoleriu, Cristina Ragos, Codruţa Vasiu
After 21 years, director Mihai Măniuțiu returns to one of Eugène Ionesco’s most fascinating plays, “The Lesson”, staged at the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre of Sibiu. If the great playwright masks the unusual into the trivial, in an arithmetic lesson which turns into a philology lesson, and a philology lesson which leads to… murder, Mihai Măniuțiu employs the arithmetic of surprise and tension almost to the end. We know this play is about manipulation, seduction, horrors, automation... but we shall learn more or recognize certain things about the way in which civilization “evolves” in remote corners of the world or close to home, and most especially about how civilization “operates” inside us.
“Teacher: You always tend to add up. You also have to subtract. Not just integrate, but also disintegrate. That's life. That's philosophy. That's science. That's progress, civilization.”, Eugène Ionesco, “The Lesson”.

‘“The Lesson” is a very powerful political text, one of the subtlest yet most generous texts, in that it is composed and structured in such a way that, in its mirrors, one can reflect any form of dictatorship, any political action targeted at dehumanization, at the destruction of human individuality and freedom. Genocide, brainwashing, ethnic cleansing, mass murders - all unfold before our eyes. We can no longer pretend we do not know about these. We live in an age in which we are all interconnected. Those who claim they don’t know choose to keep their eyes shut. Performances such as Ionesco's “The Lesson” urge people to open their eyes. One cannot escape nightmares by pretending they live in a fairy tale.’ Mihai Măniuțiu
7 October 2015, Cluj Napoca, România
30 October 2015, ”National Theatre Festival”, Bucharest, Romania
15 September, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Estimated duration:1h 20min
Premiere Date:03-10-2014