ALONE AMONG DOUCHES is a satire that caricatures catastrophic categories, human disasters, which could be described through the cacophony alignment of "mockery", "tramp" and "blow-out".
From the Latin "satura", which meant "disorder" or "mess", the Romans coined the phrase "lanx satura" to name a bowl filled with different kinds of fruit. One can thus infer that this production is a salad of well-written rhymes provided by Florin Bican, with "joy, dance, liveliness" - as he calls it - with music and a lot of physical effort made by the actors.
The production has the motto "I am world renowned, I'm the universal douche!"
Interview with Andrea Gavriliu about Alone among Douches
Andrea Gavriliu graduated acting at the Faculty of Theatre from Cluj. Throughout the next four years, she worked as an actress at the Youth Theatre from Piatra Neamț, where several productions that "involved elements of movement" made her turn to her "first love", dance. She has lately worked as a choreographer for theatre and opera productions, and theatre-dance performances. She received the UNITER Award twice - in 2014 for the theatre-dance performance Zic Zac, and in 2019 the award for stage movement. After the performance OST produced at the National Theatre of Cluj in 2017, Andrea Gavriliu returns with a dance performance on a "poetic-choreographic" script, as she called it herself, inspired by Florin Bican's book, Alone among Douches.
We asked her some questions during a rehearsals break.
Why Alone among douches?
Andrea Gavriliu: I was searching for Romanian texts, for something special to celebrate the centenary of the National Theatre of Cluj, and luckily I stumbled upon this volume in a bookstore. The moment I read a few lines, I knew that was it!
It was love at first sight.
A.G.: Exactly. I thought it conveys perfectly some of the things we have been facing, not just these days, but since ever. But besides the morals of the story, I think it stands out by its funny and cynical approach on all aspects of society. Because of the rhymes, the text has a certain kind of musicality, a rhythmic character that practically invites movement, and fits the type of performance I aim toward. Sometimes the text is pure music, so this performance doesn't need so much music compared to other productions of mine, simply because the text itself plays like music.
How does a douche dance?
A.G.: Eee! This choreography is quite different from what I have tried in other productions of mine, precisely because I tried to emphasize the text and the meaning of the text. So, it's hard for me to call dance everything that actually means dancing. There are, of course, many choreography inserts, but they are all short, and designed to have a different kind of impact in the given contexts, they don't necessarily have to convey certain messages through the body. All the movements of the production are based on meaning and on the situation they create, and very much depend on the development of the dinamic of the production. I wouldn't say the dance plays the lead in this performance. But it rather echoes the words and the content of words.
Can you usually convey more things through dance than through words?
A.G.: In general, I can, but this time the production is kind of new to me, even if I have also been working with texts in ninety percent of the cases. All the movements of this production extend, in fact, the text and the situations constructed by the text.
Can you see here the emergence of a new form of expression?
A.G.: In some way, I can. When I was writing the script, I was looking for a word or phrase to express what I had in mind, so I wrote Alone among Douches after Florin Bican, and in brackets, a poetic-choreographic script. I realized the production was pretty difficult to frame within a specific category.
I think the formula of poetic-choreographic performance works very well.
A.G.: It does, it's just that I want to underline that by poetic, I don't mean something romantic, or sensitive, on the contrary, the poetry here is rather heavy, dinamic, rough, it has a hint of a bluntly uttered Romanian folk tale.
Was it difficult to persuade the actors to ... dance with douches?
A.G.: Not at all. There are two more weeks until the preview, the structure of the production is already set, and I am still incredibly delighted to come at rehearsals, to work with these people. This is not an overstatement, because all actors have potential and actual skills for movement, they have great body expressiveness. I got acquainted with many of them. Of the eight actors, I got to actually work with three: with Cosmin Stănilă and Radu Dogaru, who were my students, with Matei Rotaru, who was my colleague both at university, and at the Youth Theatre from Piatra Neamț. I am extremely pleased with how things are working. And I don't need to put efforts into persuading them, since I feel they believe in my project. You know, not everybody has this kind of willingness, but this group has plenty of it.
This group can sing, as well as dance...
A.G.: Exactly. And even if the movements don't quite come at hand, I see they make efforts until they succeed.
Dance was your first love. How did you turn toward acting?
A.G.: Dance was indeed my first love. But I didn't pursue it further, because I didn't want to do classical ballet, and didn't have much confidence, especially in my technical skills, at the time. I was a high school student when I fell in love with theatre and acting. Later, in university, then as an actress at the Youth Theatre from Piatra Neamț, I began to realize that I expressed myself best, and I felt most at ease through movement. Some movement-based productions from Piatra Neamț helped me realize that. I understood I was much stronger in those moments. Then I slowly decided to make the change.
You didn't study choreography?
A.G.: I actually did. After the four years spent in Piatra Neamț, I moved to Bucharest, and enrolled in a two years Masters in choreography. Then I had my first production, Zic-Zac. This is how I proved to myself that what I felt deep inside was right. And it was not just a hunch. It was my own path. I took this road and now I'm a different person.
Do you also have a diploma in music?
A.G.: No, I only have a fiddler's ear. I listen to a lot of music. But I can't even read musical scores. I worked in some cases for the opera. The singers were saying we resume the play from F sharp, but all I could do was hum... Even so, we managed to understand each other, despite the fact that I couldn't point the notes on the score. I simply sang them instead.
Interview realized by Eugenia Sarvari