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Without changing the Romantic character of the play – a play with a prince, noblemen, an archaic atmosphere and rich costumes – Aurel Ion Maican, the stage director, has infused in the actors’ style an element of perfect naturalism.
He had an excellent collaborator in George Löwendal – the theatre’s scenographer and painter. […] For all the sites of action in the play, the stage director, helped by the scenographer, gave us artistic settings. The inner yard of the citadel of Suceava, as well as the interiors in Acts III and IV, mirrored the influence of Gothic style during the times of Ştefan cel Mare, with the church portals of old, with the Gothic arches and windows, and the paintings done in the colours of the time. […] It was not only the scenery that corresponded to the historical truth, but also the luxurious costumes which were made in the theatre’s workshop following descriptions from the historical chronicles.

Rampa (The Stage), 2 November 1927


Volpone by Stefan Zweig after Ben Jonson, directed by Victor Ion Popa


Volpone by Stefan Zweig after Ben Jonson was presented in commedia dell’arte-style. Entering the theatre auditorium, the audience was surprised to find the safety curtain up, the scenery (folding screens and contours) set so that it continued from the stage to the hall, the proscenium transformed in a lagoon, and the hall itself linked to the stage by a Venetian bridge. Before the start of the show, the prompter came out of his cage, dressed in period costume, and introduced the play and the way it was to be performed, using Stefan Zweig’s stage directions – “in the lively and easy rhythm of the commedia dell’arte…”

Ioan Massoff, Teatrul românesc. Privire istorică, (Romanian Theatre. Historical outlook) vol. VI

The characters bear animals’ or birds’ names, according to their characteristics. It became natural to obey the necessity of giving their actions specific attitudes, gestures and intonations which would highlight the author’s thoughts. The costumes also follow this line, and the scenery, trying to catch something of the lively colour of the period, sets out to recall, through the easy way in which it comes together, something of the simplicity belonging to the theatre of old.
Of course, in a conscious or unconscious manner, Baron Löwendal and I must have infused everything with contemporary tastes, no matter how hard we tried to eliminate them.
We are working in a specific time, and in front of an audience which sees the past just as we do, wearing contemporary-tinted glasses.

Victor Ion Popa, Spectatorul (The Spectator), 1928
 
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