Puiu Antemir
 
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Articles
Romanian Scene Designers : PUIU ANTEMIR
Romanian Scene Designers: PUIU ANTEMIR
By Luminita Batali


The 90's brought back in the Romanian scenography the pleasure of materials, of lights, of carefully accomplished settings, which began to send far behind the imposed poverty, which had overwhelmed the Romanian theater during the last decade of the dictatorship.
An actor's regale, Barrymore - director Gelu Colgeac - had also a scenography that matched the performance. The show, which was representing the sunset and the destiny of one of America's greatest actors from the beginning of the 20th century, John Barrymore, had been put on the stage of the Amphitheater of the National Theater in Bucharest. This open, semicircular space completely different as structure from the theatre a'l italienne was remarkably transformed towards this last type of theater appearance, which it only evoked, didn't try to recreate, through the means of an ingenious d├ęcor. The thin curtain of a vivid red and adorned with fringes, which was an allusion to one of the most connotative theater objects, was the first introductory element of the mise-en-scene followed by some inspired prolongations of the performing space. These ones obtained the extension of the stage through an Art deco screen and, in the symmetric opposed part, with some furniture, a mobile wardrobe and a toilet describing the actor's cabin. The curtain constituted a pendant for a background made of nude bricks - an introduction into the atmosphere of a New York theatre.
Also amongst the elements of the setting we could remark, alongside the pivot-throne, which served to illustrate the moments from Richard III (the play has as a dramatic nucleus the rehearsal which Barrymore does in order of a come back in Richard) some piles of fabrics which seemed, at a first glance, decoration forgotten on the stage. From these sprang, when pulled up, some costumes, feminine silhouettes - long, of silk, in pastel colours or a vivacious red, a leghorn hat with flowers etc. which created the delicate moment of the remembrance of the beloved, dissapeared beings. Here, amongst these costumes of shadows, we recall the red robe of a famous lesbian of the '20. The silk robe with some metallic elements like fragments of armor had in the same time a militaristic, paradoxical air and was emphasizing the hybrid, defining the gender. Beautiful and also related to the magic of theatre was the moment when an entire generation from the "America's royal family of actors" was recalled through the play of spears, took from a barrel from the avant scene (there was a permanent dialogue between a passed glamour and a present derisory) from where also appeared a lace umbrella: the generation of John, Lionel and Ethel. As well, the moment when Barrymore-Richard dressed his armor was made possible through an ingenious system of ropes, revealing something of the internal anatomy of the theatre (in the a'l italienne one, machineries are never visible) at the double level of the reading of the play, which relates to the core of the drama. In Barrymore there is expressed at many levels the interiority of the theatre. Among the important scenographic elements there was the first background curtain which created at a certain moment the Throne Hall in Richard, evoking the huge illusionist painted decors which had a a long time career also during the 20th century, then the tent and the background superbly drawn, good to be used directly as setting for the Shakespeare's play. A background of tents which continued in the space of the painting the real, physical one, created the atmosphere of fight and sunset, the battlefield.
Let's say a word about the Grandmother Drew's ghost, another important scenographic object shaped from white clay, a mixture of terrific and gentleness.
A forceful creator and the maker of one of the most difficult technical approaches and aesthetic accomplishments in the Romanian scenography, Puiu Antemir masters a plastic view that is based equally on color and the voluptuousness of the delicate detail.

For the entire article see: www.observatorcultural.ro
Scenografi romani. Puiu Antemir - Luminita BATALI - Nr:155
 
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