On January 15th 2022, we celebrated 400 years since the birth of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known as Molière. The most important name in French classical theatre, who left a profound mark on the history of European comedy and whose texts make us laugh regardless of when they are performed, is celebrated this year all over the globe. In this sense, the National Theatre of Cluj-Napoca reopened the rehearsals for DON JUAN, directed by Roberto Bacci, which was first performed on September 25th 2016 but which could not be performed since then for objective reasons and which will now enjoy a new life.
The collaboration between the National Theatre and Italian artists from the theatres of Pontedera and Florence brings a beautiful Renaissance tone to Molière’s play, filtered through a sort of Impressionism with decadent influences, all of which provides – both to the character Don Juan and the contemporary public – an ahistorical setting that is in sharp contrast to the concrete physical presence and the charm of this serial seducer. Is the myth of Don Juan valid today, having haunted humanity since times immemorial? Molière himself drew from multiple plays and Spanish, Italian, and French theatrical carnivals, and his own text, which intentionally transcends the limits of comedy through the sarcasm and the dark humour of the protagonist and his tragic destiny also represented a source of inspiration for masterpieces such as Don Giovanni by Mozart and Da Ponte or Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary. What does it mean today to practise the freedom of self-abandonment to all pleasures, the skilful exercise of the art of manipulation in order to fulfil one’s immoral, unscrupulous agenda? What does it mean to be brave enough to throw oneself into a fight, to feel the rush of adrenaline and all limits being broken for the sheer pleasure of challenging and being challenged? We leave the possible answers to you, the spectators, as you follow Don Juan’s evolution on stage.