1 March 1926 - 6 September 2016
After a long and hard suffering, which he endured with great dignity and a certain serenity, the nanogenarian actor Ionel Banu has left this world.
A graduate of the Royal Dramatic Art Academy, Acting department, Ionel Banu was a student of the great actor Ştefan Braborescu - artist of the people. Ionel Banu devotedly served the Cluj-Napoca National Theatre for four decades, 1946-1986, giving life to tens of classical or contemporary characters, under the guidance of the so-called "house" directors: Victor Tudor Popa and Rodica Radu, but also "great" directors: from Marietta Sadova, Ion Olteanu, to Val and Vlad Mugur, Aureliu Manea, Alexa Visarion, Alexandru Dabija, Mihai Măniuţiu.
We find his name on the posters from Othello, The Taming of the Shrew and As you like it by William Shakespeare, Ondine by Jean Giraudoux, La dame de chez Maxim by G. Feydeau, Tartuffe and The Miser by Molière, Despot-Vodă and Sunset by B. Şt. Delavrancea, The Duck Head by G. Ciprian, Quarrel of Gods by Radu Stanca and many others.
Without any ostentation or vanity, with a carelessness that made it all seem effortless, he constructed his characters of suggestive effects which helped them to remain ingrained in the spectators' minds long after the curtain came down. He was equally devoted to his roles in productions for children: Dănilă Prepeleac in Dănilă Prepeleac based on Ion Creangă or The Adviser in The Magic Whistle by Sorin Lepa, a character that young spectators loved. We remember him fondly as Pârcălabul Grumază in Sunset, as Justine in Madame Bovary based on Flaubert, as Aliosha in Night Lodging by Gorki, as Philip in You Never Can Tell by G.B. Shaw, Trufaldino in Servant of Two Masters by Goldoni, Cleante in The Miser by Molière and the unforgetable Rică Venturiano in A Stormy Night by I.L. Caragiale.
He collaborated with Cluj Radio Studio and was the director and animator of over a hundred and fifty amateur theatre productions.
For his artistic merits the actor Ionel Banu received the Performance Award at the Young Actors Competition in 1959, and in 1953 he received the Work Medal for his professional activity.
We will all remember him as a good, kind and generous colleague who happily embraced his life.
May he rest in peace!