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Domnica Radulescu won Romania's National Prize for Short Story Writing when she was just 17 but fled the country soon after to escape the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. She is now a Full Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Chair of the Women's Studies Program at Washington and Lee University.
Life in Ceausescu’s Romania in the late 70s seen through the eyes of a young woman suffering her first great love. She comes from an intellectual family continually under the surveillance of the secret police. Her parents fear for the girl’s safety and future and eventually smuggle her out of the country. The fear and suspicion, hunger and hardship of the regime haunt the pages but is her salvation any better? This is a tale of displaced people, of homesickness for a country that won’t accept free thinking, of betrayal, jealousy and deception. Comparison: Irene Nemirovsky (Suite Francaise), Salley Vickers (The Other Side of You), Catherine Law (Season of Leaves).
In what ways does political trauma influence the art arising from it? Is there an aesthetic of war and exile in theatrical works that emerge from such experiences? Are there cultural markers defining such works from areas like Eastern Europe and Israel? This book considers these questions in an examination of plays, performances and theater artists that speak from a place of political violence and displacement. The author's critical inquiry covers a variety of theatrical experimentations, including Brechtian distancing, black humor, pastiche, surreal and hyper-real imagery, reversed chronologies and disrupted narratives. Drawing on postmodern theories and performance studies as well as interviews and personal statements from the artists discussed, this study explores the transformative power of the theater arts and their function as catalysts for social change, healing and remembrance.
It is 1977 and seventeen-year-old Mona Manoliu has fallen in love with Mihai, a mysterious boy who lives in the romantic mountain city where she spends her summers. She can think of nothing and no one else. But life under Ceausescu's Romania is difficult. Hunger, paranoia and fear infect everyone. One day Mona sees Mihai wearing the black leather jacket favoured by the secret police. Is it possible he is one of them? As food shortages worsen and more of her loved ones disappear, Mona comes to understand that she must leave Romania. She escapes in secret - narrowly avoiding the police - through Yugoslavia to Italy, and finally to Chicago. But she leaves without saying a final goodbye to Mihai. And though she struggles to bury her longing for the past, many years later she finds herself compelled to return, determined to learn the truth.
In what ways does political trauma influence the shapes of theater art inspired by it? Can one speak of an aesthetic of war and exile in theatrical works that have emerged from such experiences? And are there cultural markers that define such works from the areas of Eastern Europe and Israel? These are the question at the core of Radulescu's examinations of plays, performances and theater artists that speak from a place of political violence and/or displacement. Radulescu's critical explorations stretch out across a wide variety of theatrical experimentations from the use of Brechtian distancing, to black humor and pastiche, from carnivalesque reversals and surreal or hyper-real images to reversed chronologies and disrupted narratives. Relying on postmodern theories and performance studies, as well as gathering a large amount of interviews and personal statements from the artists discussed, this study offers a vibrant and extensive testimony to the transformative powers of theater arts as well as to their function of catalysts for social change, healing and remembrance. It also speaks of the ability of live performance to help us find meaning after trauma.
[Though comic women have existed since the days of Baubo, the mythic figure who used sexual humor to lift the veil of mourning from the goddess Demeter's eyes, they have been neglected by scholars and critics. This pioneering volume tells the stories of five women who have created revolutionary forms of comic performance and discourse that defy the flagrant prejudices about women/feminists. The artists include 16th-century performer Isabella Andreini, 17th-century improviser Catherine Biancolelli, 20th century Italian playwright Franca Rame, and contemporary performance artists Deb Margolin and Kimberly Dark. All create humor that subverts patriarchal modes of representation, conventional notions of gender roles, and stereotypical images of women. Closing with a practical guide for performers and teachers of theater, this work illustrates the life-affirming possibilities of creating empowered communities and initiating social change through comedy, laughter and feminist humor.]
1980s Romania: As the sun sets on the magical shore of the Black Sea and casts its last rays across the water, all Nora Teodoru can think about is pursuing her dream of becoming an accomplished artist - and of her love for Gigi, her childhood boyfriend from the Turkish part of town. But storm clouds are gathering as life under Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu becomes increasingly unbearable. His secret police are circling, never far from the young couple's doors. Nora and Gigi make plans to escape to Turkey. But nothing can prepare them for the events that follow...
Realms of Exile brings together authors writing on diverse themes of Eastern European exile to define the experiential and linguistic peculiarities of exiled people who share similar cultural, geographical, and mythological backgrounds and who have suffered under totalitarian rule. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural scholarship at its best, the book casts new light on the many nuances and variations of many of the cultures and ethnic groups of Eastern Europeans.
Though comic women have existed since the days of Baubo, the mythic figure of sexual humor, they have been neglected by scholars and critics. This pioneering volume tells the stories of five women who have created revolutionary forms of comic performance and discourse that defy prejudice. The artists include 16th-century performer Isabella Andreini, 17th-century improviser Caterina Biancolelli, 20th-century Italian playwright Franca Rame, and contemporary performance artists Deb Margolin and Kimberly Dark. All create humor that subverts patriarchal attitudes, conventional gender roles, and stereotypical images. The book ends with a practical guide for performers and teachers of theater.