To try to escape from a certain universe and infinitely wake up as a prisoner in a different one... The story of the famous biblical character, swallowed up by a giant fish from whose belly he is trying to escape just to wake up as a prisoner in an even bigger stomach; a story that Marin Sorescu turns into one of the most famous plays within Romanian literature, according to the vision of director Gábor Tompa’s, Jonah becomes a poetic performance, in which Ada Milea’s music creates a special universe, combining humor with the tragically absurd.
With a subtitle given by Marin Sorescu that reads “tragedy in four tableaus”, Jonah, his first play, was published in 1968 in the Luceafărul magazine, and 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, as a condition 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. The appearance of Jonah and even that of the actor Gabriel Răuţă often made me think of Brâncuşi's image, namely of the artist struggling with the material. And there is a line in the text: He did nothing good in his life except for this wooden bench, putting the sea around it. A wooden bench in the middle of a sea... A superb image that makes me think of The Table of Silence. Well, this is the famous motif of the work devouring the artist. And we attempt to reference Brâncuşi, who lived in the whale of exile. 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...”
Photo: Mihaela Marin