The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj will present its current season’s last premiere on Sunday, June 16, at 8 pm, in the Studio Hall. Marin Sorescu’s drama Jonah was staged by Gábor Tompa, in a co-production by the Bucharest Nottara Theatre and the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj.
Jonah, Marin Sorescu’s first play is part of the The Secrets of the Salt Mountain trilogy, alongside the Paracliserul and Matca. Unlike the biblical character Jonah, Sorescu's solitary fisherman carries no burden of guilt or sins on his shoulders. He will be swallowed by a huge fish from the beginning, and every escape from the belly of the fish will lead him into an even bigger belly, leading him into prison after prison, to infinity, which is ultimately the nature of human existence…
“I'm interested in Jonah both from a religious standpoint and from the point of view of the condition of the artist in the world today. Jonah, in my view, is a performance about the artist's condition and his current doubts of faith. About his relationship with God, with the divine, with inspiration, hope, despair in a world where communication is almost non-existent. That's exactly what we wanted to depict by including the character played by Cristina Juncu, a sort of commentator, echo, angel, siren, the impersonator of haunting sounds. She symbolizes the lack of communication in today's world of an age of excessively advanced technologies. This is what we want to show you. Otherwise, the text has an extraordinary poetic command, it also has a special sense of humor that cannot be ignored, since humor means survival both for Sorescu and his hero. Survival through humor.” – said director Gábor Tompa.
Set and costume designer Carmencita Brojboiu described the visual realm of the production: “We have gathered all kinds of objects we imagined would be in the stomach of our whale. I tried to bring light into the dark space of the room, and I wanted everything to be white. It's the white of the sea shells that are brought to the shore, and when they dry out, heaps of them remain instead... in fact, water and salt cleanses all color and everything becomes that kind of chalk white. This is the exact sensation we wanted to achieve: this white hue, a space cleansed by all individual colors. It is the color of the sea that has washed over the objects for centuries. And, at the same time, our whale had swallowed a lot of objects that people throw in the waters. Waste, plastic... Well, our whale is a contemporary whale.”
“For me Jonah is a poem about loneliness and about how lost we are in this space, no matter how connected we seem to be to the world. The inside of the whale must resonate with what Jonah thinks and be as fluid, as strange as possible. That was the idea of Jonah's sound universe. The songs are Gábor Tompa's ideas set to music and I think they sang for themselves. The tragic humor of Cristina Juncu's singing sometimes made us laugh. And that's what I'd like the viewers to feel as well” – stated Ada Milea, the production’s composer.
The title role is portrayed by Gabriel Răuță, while Cristina Juncu plays Echo, who is in a way Jonah’s alter ego. Carmencita Brojboiu envisioned the set and costume design of the play, while the music is Ada Milea’s creation.
The performance is rendered in Romanian, with Hungarian and English surtitles.