The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj celebrated its 230th anniversary in December 2022. A highlight of the anniversary season was the 8th edition of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, held last November 17-27. In the spirit of the 230th anniversary season, the Cluj theatre aims to provide an insight into contemporary theatre by inviting a number of guest performances from abroad and from home in 2023. This year, between April and November, Cluj audiences will be able to see foreign guest performances from Porto, Barcelona, Budapest and Kiev, as well as performances by companies from Timișoara, Satu Mare and Sfântu Gheorghe.
The guest performance series opens with a production by the São João National Theatre of Porto, with Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, directed by Nuno Cardoso, the theatre's artistic director.
The Portuguese-language production will be performed twice, on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, at 7 pm on the Main Stage of the Cluj theatre, with surtitles in Hungarian, Romanian and English.
The company from Porto describes its production as follows: “»The Crucible was an act of desperation.« Thus the playwright Arthur Miller describes the genesis of this play, which is based on historical facts. In 1692, in the small American city of Salem, men and women are persecuted and put in trial for witchcraft. Rumours and lies are aflame, and no one seems safe from accusation or revenge. Premiered in 1953, The Crucible was conceived as an allegory of the darkness of McCarthyism, which corroded the heart of America. Miller was also a victim of that anti-communist fever. Out of its epicentre – a primeval fascination with paranoia, a collective rage that demands the sacrifice of individuals – multiple echoes resound today. With this play, Nuno Cardoso continues his inquiry into the foundations of community life, a new study of social man’s blindness. Miller again: »Below its concerns with justice the play evokes a lethal brew of illicit sexuality, fear of the supernatural, and political manipulation.«”
The production stars Ana Brandão, Carolina Amaral, Joana Carvalho, Jorge Mota, Lisa Reis, Mário Santos, Nuno Nunes, Paulo Freixinho, Patrícia Queirós, Pedro Frias, Sérgio Sá Cunha, with set design by F. Ribeiro, lighting design by Nuno Meira, music and sound design by João Oliveira, video design by Luís Porto, stage movement by Roldy Harrys.
Director Nuno Cardoso is no stranger to Cluj audiences: in 2019, at the 18th Festival of the European Theatre Union, The Death of Danton was staged by him.
Nuno Cardoso (Canas de Senhorim, 1970) is currently one of the most sought-after and active Portuguese stage directors. His personal and consistent aesthetic world, developed over the years, combines both contemporary and classical texts. He directs sophisticated theatre performances and experimental community projects with equal ease, involving professional and amateur actors. His professional career began in 1994 as a student at the Círculo de Iniciação Teatral da Academia de Coimbra. In the same year he co-founded the Visőes Úteis group in Porto, which launched his career as a director. From 1998 to 2003 he was artistic director of the Auditório Nacional Carlos Alberto, and from 2003 to 2007 he held the same position at the Carlos Alberto Theatre, then part of the São João National Theatre. In 2001, he co-founded the Ao Cabo Theatre, where he was Artistic Director until 2018. His adaptations of Chekhov's plays (Platonov, The Seagull and The Three Sisters) and his Shakespearean productions (Richard II, Measure for Measure, Coriolanus and Timon of Athens). In his creative work, he seeks poetic material from classical and contemporary repertoire that underpins his particular conception of theatre as a machine that explores and rewrites the present. Since February 2019, he has been the Artistic Director of the São João National Theatre.
The 100-year-old São João National Theatre (SJNT) was founded at the initiative of the city of Porto. The original Real Teatro de São João, which was destroyed in 1908, and its successor, which opened in 1920 (and is now a national monument), were built by Porto's elite. In 1992, the institution became the Theatre of Portugal when the state bought the building and carried out major renovations. This made it the first national theatre in democratic Portugal, and an important factor in cultural decentralization. The SJNT has become a renowned theatrical establishment, presenting Portuguese and foreign plays, as well as the latest theatrical achievements. It also boasts the title of Theatre of Europe and, as a member of the European Theatre Union, fosters partnerships with other European theatre institutions.
Age recommendation: 12+!