Lia Mantoc


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> Lia Mantoc's Pictorial Scene Design

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Six Characters...
By Luminita Batali

The play “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Pirandello is certainly a challenge for the stage designer, as it is also for the director. He plays an important part in the description of the many places of the action (from the stage where the rehearsal begins, to the father's garden and mansion) and especially in the shaping of the characters' levels of reality. The moment when the actors dress for rehearsal is remarkable, as Lia Mantoc and the stage management succeeded in rendering a suggestive and graphic moment of theatre within theatre. These stylized costumes that fit to the already existent characters (the jeune premier and the others), all made of the same pastel beige fabric prepare and subtly insinuate the atmosphere in which theater will be talked about within theater. The difficulty from the stage designer's point of view, as I have mentioned in the beginning, was the gradation of the representation from reality to unreality in the case of the six characters, that Lia Mantoc solved by means of costume and, especially in the case of the “characters”, by means of make up. The tragic, expressionist mask of the Mother (supported by an extraordinary performance) and the effect that it had through the black veil are remarkable. Here, Lia Mantoc manages to generate sadness, stillness; first by the pastel-color source of the image of these costumes – the temporal distance between the costumes of the characters and those of the actors is the one between the Belle Epoque fashion and that of the 20's – and secondly by chromatics: pastel colors and black.
The apparition of the Pirandello's head projected in the background is slightly disconcerting from an aesthetic point of view; this is an option meant to solve the presence of the author, not only once problematical (after Ion Sava, there had been long time ago the option of the entering of the characters on the stage through a Pirandello’s portrait, by tearing the paper; he himself had chosen to bring the characters by means of a mirror, in the 1939 performance from the National Theatre in Bucharest). However, the plantation – the creation of the garden, the idea of the opening flowing fountain, the wardrobe and the window – gives Lia Mantoc the occasion to create a modern stage design for a modern show, worthy of any world capital.

This text was presented at Radio Romania Actualitati, February, 2000.
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