PLAYLIST is the nineteen year story - between 1989 and 2008 - of a Romanian-Hungarian family, from the "golden age", without any electricity, heat and with rationalized food, to, eventually, democracy. A democracy where the former secret police officers are now prosperous businessmen and, when discovered, they will, of course, deny everything: "I am a mere businessman over his head in changing the face of his country...".
The director Tudor Lucanu states the following: "Playlist is the history of a mixed family, which begins during the Communist period in Romania and slowly moves towards the to the new social forms. Playlist is a recent history. A history that has shaped us all and that still shapes us, whether we want it or not. A history that you cannot control, rather it controls you. A subjugated history of manipulation in all its forms".
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The playwright and theatre specialist Cristian Buricea-Mlinarcic was born in a family of Slavic origin, his grandfather being an officer in the Tsar's army, active in the 1877 Independence War. Tempted by a military career, but, as he himself stated in an interview, not having the chance to be born "in a family of peasants or workers" and, consequently, being denied "access to this field", he chose to study literature and especially theatre: "I replaced the military career with a different type of militantism. This is also a way of fighting..."
His activism is very obvious in Playlist, a play written in 2008, concerned with the degradation of family relations. Melinda, the daughter of the Pogăceanu family, presents a harsh truth to her parents: "We, your children, represent the sublime geotope for you...Unleashed nature on a surface the size of a tennis court... We came on earth to become your sublime geotope... The geotope aimed at shattering your existential project... Your rigorous existential project... Which has only one definition: constructing a career..." In his play, Romania changes not only its face, but also its soul, becoming arid, bare, dry, thirsty for fame and not for the things that cost nothing but have enormous value.
The theatre career of Cristian Buricea-Mlinarcic had multiple layers. As a professor, he guided numerous generation of students at the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj. He is the author of several plays such as Penitentiary and Penthouse (Ex ossibus ultor) (also staged at Cluj-Napoca National Theatre), Ciornîi terrier, Stand-up Tragedy. At the same time, he translated various playwrights such as Leonid Andreev, Vladimir Nabokov, Nikolai Erdman or Vladimir Sorokin. Member of the Theatre Union of Romania and of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), having a PhD in Theatre Studies from the "I.L.Caragiale" Theatre and Film University in Bucharest, he published the following volumes: 5 Ad-hoc Conversations (in collaboration with Miruna Runcan), Unitext Publishing House, 1994; Leonid Andreev and the Double Fall of Philosophy, Allfa Publishing House, 1999; The Tragic & Other Subjective Notes, Eikon Publishing House (Library of the Impossible Theatre), 2004.
In 2009, when, only 58 years old, he abruptly left this world, Cristian Buricea-Mlinarcic was Associate Professor at the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Babeș-Bolyai University, senior editor of the "Man.In.Fest!" Magazine and coordinator, alongside Miruna Runcan, of the "Dramaturgy of the Everyday Life" anthropological research and theatre creation program.
Upon our request, Prof. Miruna Runcan, PhD was kind enough to write a few words about the play and its author:
Playlist is a tragic comedy that concludes the Omar Trilogy, written by C.C. Buricea-Mlinarcic from 2006 to 2009 and that also comprises the previous Ciornîi Terrier and Penthouse. The trilogy was published posthumously, at Limes Publishing House from Cluj in 2010, having been prepared for publication in November 2009 by the author himself. All three texts are undeniably connected to the recent Romanian realities and they fictionally process real events, pieces of news and political scandals that have stirred, at a certain point, the public opinion thirsty for sensational events, but blind to the truly important phenomena that mark our public, and even private, lives.
The three plays also have in common, except for the absent-presence of the spy Omar, the fact that, directly or indirectly, discuss being a teenager and young adult during the first 20 years after the 1989 political changes, a fervently capitalist era in Romania. In fact, Playlist was written with the purpose of marking the passing of these 20 years. At the same time, all three plays were an integrant part of the Dramaturgy of Everyday Life program (today the Dramaturgy of Everyday Life Laboratory of the Faculty of Theatre and Television, BBU Cluj), established in 2004 by Cristian Buricea-Mlinarcic and myself, as a platform for reconnecting the theatre and playwright productions to social and anthropological research. Of course, the program was and still is dedicated to our students in Journalism, Theatre and Film-Media - and the Omar Trilogy was designed as an informing, methodological model in this context.
Initial drafts of these plays were published in Man.In.Fest, a magazine designed together with our BA and MA students. Ciornîi Terrier was presented as a reading performance with movement, coordinated by the playwright, at the "Elvira Godeanu" Theatre from Târgu Jiu in 2007; Penthouse, a production of the 2008 graduating class in Acting, was staged by Diana Cozma and Radu Teampău, in co-production with Cluj-Napoca National Theatre, in the spring of 2008; following a reading production with the actors of Theatre 74 and of Târgu Mureș National Theatre, presented - together with other texts written during that research - at the end of the Dramaturgy of Everyday Life Camp, in August 2009. Playlist premiered at the Nord Theatre in Satu Mare, director Ovidiu Caița, in October 2010.
As a conclusion to her preface to Omar Trilogy, Mihaela Michailov wrote: "In Playlist, the underground of dictatorship, chocolate candy, Vîsoţki and salmon are insinuated in the omnipresent gray. The Pogăceanu household becomes a sort of underground minimarket, a breath of fresh air rapidly choked by the investigation. A piano teacher is subjected to a stupid and twisted interrogatory, a sample of rhetoric rape, combined with reality-distorting strategies. "Changing the face of Romania" is the slogan that perfectly sums up the behavioral twists in Playlist, denying the past and the shower of the present aimed at washing away all traces of the secret police. The mutants of today are the adulators of yesterday, the initiators of a democracy cooked up by the bulldogs of yesteryear. There are certain recurrent aspects in these plays: the perspective on religion, ironized for its manipulation techniques, the deconstruction of certain theatrical myths - cult plays which the characters perform at a superficial level (Hamlet, Spring Awakening), the presence of the reporters in the middle of the action, the live coverage, the ghosts of the secret police, the ubiquitous surveillance, the search for terrorists. Just like in Iñárritu's film scripts (Amores Perros, Babel), the characters are connected in the end and form a big family. That of the inhabitants of the proximal reality. We lack - with a few exceptions, of course - deep playwrights able to shatter reality, analyze it rigorously and fully activate its drama and derision, its ironic quotidian crust and its tough, metallic, intriguing and sad content. Cristian Buricea-Mlinarcic is one of those playwrights. He belongs to the rare species of pedigree dogs".
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