For directors Andrei and Andreea Grosu, the creators of the “unteatru” independent theatre project from Bucharest, the first half of 2020 brought new confirmations but also new challenges. Their performance “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, a production of the national theatre from Sibiu, had a successful tour and was nominated twice at the 2020 UNITER Gala Awards for Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor – Ofelia Popii and Marius Turdeanu. And the FITSonline special edition gave them the framework for the first theatre-film mini-series, “Autobahn”.
You’re celebrating a decade of existence precisely at a time when it’s not easy to survive, to program, to celebrate… What are your thoughts after these 10 years?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: This decade has been like an intergalactic journey and it has made us happy; now we are waiting for the following decades and the rest of the journey. We are extremely proud of everything that unteatru has achieved and of all that it has come to mean for people.
We’ve moved all our activity online and the audience has reacted very well to this change and has supported unteatru through all this period. We’ve also opened an unteatru webpage on www.patreon.com where one can donate small constant amounts to help us continue to produce our performances.
How do you see the future of your theatre?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: The same way we’ve seen its entire evolution. With contents that matters, people who care and a lot of joy in everything that we do. We adapt to the times and we are willing to reinvent ourselves under any circumstances.
You have two nominations at the 2020 UNITER Awards for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. You say that the peculiarity of this performance lies in its people. Why this performance in particular?
Our encounter with them at this time in our lives has given meaning to everything we ever thought of this text. We’re saying that people are the most important because this is a performance where actors can only hold on to themselves, to their inner selves. They are one with the others, on a wooden bridge in the middle of the ocean. It was something revealing, it transformed us. And that’s a good thing.
During confinement you worked on the theatre-film mini-series “Autobahn”, also with the Radu Stanca actors. Was this planned before the crisis?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: Before the confinement we had other plans but everything changed. The “Autobahn” project came up when we started looking at ideas to talk about the times we are living now. All pieces talk of alienated, lonely people who need to communicate something with their partner. They need to be together.
They’re seven episodes. In each episode, the action takes place in a car. How did you work?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: We rehearsed for three weeks through the Zoom platform and when the state of emergency was lifted, we went to Sibiu for a week. Over there we rehearsed and filmed in cars in compliance with all regulations. We filmed with the help of Alexandru Condurache without whom our plans would have remained on paper. We used a GoPro and we filmed everything in the car. The actors drove their own cars while playing their parts.
What will happen to the mini-series once restrictions are lifted?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: We intend to transfer it to the performance hall, on stage. We’re waiting to see the terms for the autumn of 2020.
Did you watch FITSonline? How was it?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: We watched it for a few solid hours every day. It was a gift from Sibiu to all theatre lovers. They broadcasted pure gold. This time, too, FITS was the strongest festival ever.
Based on these recent experiences, how do you see the future of theatre?
Andrei and Andreea Grosu: Everything has changed, that’s a fact. People will never be as free, as open and as friendly. But once all wounds and fears are healed, we rely on the strength of our brain to delete bad memories and keep alive the things we long for.
The theatre does go on and it does adapt. That’s mandatory, otherwise we’d witness the death of the world’s most wonderful thing.
Author: Luana Pleșa
Translation: Silvana Diana Vulcan