CRIZE / CRISES (the GAY version) - A Romanian Theatre performance about diversity and tolerance
Romanian and international theatre lovers attended on 18th and 19th of November at the first previews of the LGBT themed performance, CRIZE / CRISES (the GAY version), a production of Teatrul TABU / ACT-Q Romania NGO. Official premiere of the show is schedule to take place in December.
The play is an adaptation after the well known play written by Mihai Ignat (nominated for the 2003 BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition), a heteronormative play about the relationship between a man and a woman seen in their crises moments from the first meeting until the break up, many years after their first crush.
“A gay version of CRISES is, for me, surprising and I never thought about it. But maybe that’s why I agreed it’s worth done and seen”, said the author of the play, Mihai Ignat.
The gay (gay used as LGBT) adaptation proposed by the directors, Daniel Ionescu and Mihai Vantu, fully supports the idea of the show: human feelings are the same, no matter what sexual orientation the two have. That’s why the play is now staged with four characters: two men, a transgender (female to male) and a bisexual woman.
“Romania, although it’s part of European Union for some years, is still a hostile country when we talk about LGBT issues. The homophobia is at a high level and the subject is one of the taboos. We did this theatrical performance in order to share with the audience the fact that LGBT people are as normal as the others and even if we have a different sexual orientation, when we have feelings we react in the same way”, added one of the directors, Mihai Vantu.
For the performances, Teatrul TABU needed the support of the Police and Gendarmes after the recent incidents where some people were beaten in the street after attending an LGBT dance and debate event. No incidents were registered after the two performances and both the police and the gendarmerie worked with the organizers to protect the audience.
“It’s not a GAY version, it’s a reality for everyone of us. I call on all my open minded friends to attend the performances. The first ones of its kind in Bucharest, which shows that we are all the same, our problems are equal, and that there is not any difference between hetero, gay, bi, lesbian, and transgender, we have to support by our presence!”, Dieter Topp from KulturForum Europa wrote on Facebook after attending the performance. He also wrote an article in German featured in media about the CRIZE performance in Bucharest.
For an independent theatre company in Romania, the production of CRIZE (the GAY version) was a huge effort. Six top rated actors on stage, live music, choreography, costumes, light effects and the redecoration of a rock club to a gay club meant a financial involvement never experienced by an independent theatre in Bucharest ever before. And to compare, the only partner of the show was Andrew Christian, an underwear company from United States, offering the underwear for the GoGo Boys scene.
“Teatrul TABU plans to tour with CRIZE (the GAY version) in all the major cities in Romania and also abroad because we feel it’s important to share our message, that is universal, with all the people around the world. The English subtitle is almost ready and we plan to use it even in our performances in Romania. Unfortunately our initiative doesn't have a financial support from the Romanian Cultural Institutions or even from sponsors or funders, because they’re afraid to finance an LGBT initiative. A lot of partners turned us down after finding out that we’re producing a gay play. We hope to find in the near future some open minded persons or companies willing to help us promote diversity and tolerance in an artistic manner”, said the Artistic Director of the company, Daniel Ionescu.
ACT-Q Romania’s main project, Teatrul TABU (Taboo Theatre) is a cultural project aimed to change the mentalities of the people on different taboo subjects (like LGBT people, Roma people, lack of culture and education, violence against women or children, animal protection, etc.) through theatre performances. The debates with the audience after each representation are the peak point of our work towards diversity and tolerance. With 8 shows already produced and 3 performances each week in a location downtown Bucharest, Teatrul TABU is already a valuable independent theatre from Romania, featured even in the main Romanian theatre magazine, Teatrul AZI.
ACT-Q Romania is a non profit LGBT organization for culture and communication established in 2011, in Bucharest, Romania by a group of young artists and journalists that felt it is mandatory to start correcting the image of LGBT people and their day to day problems in the media and in the cultural environment.