To criticize with art…

          If you visit the online magazine called Art Act Magazine (, you will find among recent articles, Mihaela Michailov’s hallucinating chronicle of Mihail Sebastian’s “The Holiday Game”, a show staged by Radu Afrim at The Municipal Theatre of Baia Mare. The chronicler read it, and couldn’t believe his eyes.

But he understood yet again, although he didn’t need to, where the reticence of the director and the Romanian actor towards theatre criticism, as it is practiced today in Romania, comes from. It is no longer a secret the fact that a chronicle hasn’t meant more than an analysis in a long time. From a form of art, the theatre chronicle has become a series of more or less philosophic impressions governed by the tyranny of personal taste. Hence, you can find under the title “Ludic, subcultural, playful actionism” a few thoughts expressed in the impersonal language of a young man willing to show what he has learned in college, either if it is connected to the object subjected to criticism or not, about how we, the audience, should interpret the play staged by Afrim. Thoughts that betray an unconditional admiration for the “bold” gesture of the director who takes the following actions: “amphetamizes in a ludic manner” Sebastian’s play, “drags the literary and dull ballast out of the text” (we observe, of course, who’s talking about ballast!), “stimulates the dialogues through acting, stylistic accents”, produces “mutations not only in the macro-actualization of the text, but in the linguistic micro-entities as well…” Otherwise, all is good… I leave you now to enjoy the text and judge for yourselves.

          If it weren’t comical, the disease of the young Romanian intellectual that hides in front of a verbal affectation that doesn’t excuse or hide anything, but certainly reminds us of some of Moliere’s famous characters, something mixing preciousness and ridicule, “I’m not telling a thing, he knows very well who I’m talking about”, as Caragiale would say, would be tragic or vice versa…

          Too rarely haunted by nuances and questions, the Romanian critic gives marks and seems able to situate himself only in one extreme or the other. Between the unconditional admiration and the disgust that becomes “destructive criticism”, he doesn’t know any other attitude. As for the demonstration of ideas that a chronicle entails, it is sublime, just to quote the same classic, but…

A chronicler

Translated by Raluca Motoc, MTTLC, 2nd year


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