A Romanian actor has accused Bucharest National Theater management of ‘censorship’ after actors were told not to show support for Ukrainian actors who have been killed and shelled after Russia invaded their country.
Mihai Călin, a well-known actor, blasted the acting director claiming he had shown a “total lack of understanding about the role of theater,” by stopping artists publicly expressing their solidarity.
He went further. accusing managers of “wild nationalism.” The issue of censorship is particularly sensitive in formerly communist Romania.
The 53-year-old actor said he had been getting ready to go on stage for a production of “No man’s land” directed by Bulgaria’s Alexander Morfov and based on a film by Danis Tanović on Friday when he was informed by the artistic director that acting director Mircea Rusu had given out the order “to not manifest in any way about the war in Ukraine.”
The actor said who plays Cera, a wounded Bosnian soldier, said he and a colleague had been planning to express solidarity on stage after the performance with a short speech and a display of the Romanian and Ukrainian flags.
The moment was especially fitting as a Ukrainian actress and a male ballet dancer were killed on Friday, he said.
As an actor, he wanted to support Ukrainian actors after the Mariupol Theater where hundreds of people who had taken shelter was bombed by Russia on Wednesday.
„I am disgusted by the so-called dictatorship. This is wild nationalism and a total lack of understanding about the role of the theater.”
The conflict in Ukraine and the theater’s response strikes a chord in Romania which for decades lived under communism.
Universul.net has contacted the National Theater for a response.
Mr Calin complied with the order and ended his note laconically. ”Sleep well!”
The National Theater actors’ union also wanted to launch a Ukraine appeal this week, but the acting director refused, he said, saying the theater didn’t get involved in politics.
Ethnic Romanian communities
The director reportedly recommended actors visit southwest Ukraine where there are ethnic Romanian communities „to see what Romanians have to put up with from Ukrainians.”