On 22nd October this year, Troxy Theatre in London will host a special ‘one night only’ performance of Romanian playwright Tibor Molnar’s rock opera Cruel. In the tale of an almost impossible love affair between a married man and a libertine girl dying of cancer, the audience will explore the emotional universe of four characters in a journey through their thoughts, doubts and temptations, with an acute focus on their psyche and inner turmoil.
Musically staged combining a church organ with a full rock band, a string quartet and four of Transylvania’s top rock vocalists, Tibor Molnar’s original script will be brought to life through the vision of artistic director Cezar Ghioca – the only Romanian theatre director specialising in musicals having studied in the United States while also holding a Ph.D in theatre from the Bucharest National University of Theatre Arts and Film. Ahead of the performance, he has already laid out some of his overall guidelines for how the performance will be orchestrated.
Drawing on influences ranging from Schubert to death-metal, the performance is largely staged as a rock concert – visible scaffolding, lights, smoke and projections, but, as a play, less importance is given to the narrative plot with a larger focus on the overall explorative process of the themes being portrayed. In utilising a small cast of characters, this affords the Mise-en-scène greater potential for exploring their emotional universe. The staging will employ similar-bodied dancers to project the alter-egos of the characters through their choreography, further emphasised utilising video-wall projections as either a subjective mirror, to convey personal memories or simply to heighten the illusion of a ‘dream space’.
Aural and visual factors will have equal and fluid importance. At any time – the band, the projections, the singers or the dancers can take precedent in what will be constructed as a surreal narrative. Theoretically, this is envisioned to harmoniously bring about a variety to the performance and flesh out the same organically created world.
The show promises a high degree of originality. With little to no experience or tradition in musical theatre coming from Romania, and therefore this, in turn, extends itself to the highly ambitious nature of the project. Cruel is set to be a stage experience that no-one will forget.
Created by Tibor Molnar
Directed by Cezar Ghioca
Raluca Stoica – soprano
Andy Ghost – baritone
Alexandru Arnautu – tenor
Sara Hajdu – alto
Chordis string quartet
Lehel Lorinczi – organist