Sunday, April 23, 2017


Masca Theater was established by Government Decision on May 24, 1990, and describes itself as a theater of gesture, pantomime and bodily expression, being the only theater of this kind in Romania.
A one-of-a-kind theatre in the capital of Romania, “Masca” was the first company to introduce street performances and alternative forms of theatre in Romania. ,,Masca” is constantly developing and offering its audience innovative performances rooted in Lecoque’s teachings and breakthroughs.
Since its foundation, Masca Theater evolved along two main paths:
street theater (with performances centered around clowns, commedia dell’arte, medieval theater, large marionettes, living statues, etc.) involving performers with a vast array of means of expression: clownerie, juggling, various instruments, tap dance, pantomime, living statues, handling large marionettes (2 meter tall), dancing, singing, acrobatics, etc.
indoor shows with an elaborate script, inspired by great authors of world literature (N. V. Gogol, G. G. Marquez, E. Briusov, J. L. Borjes, W. Shakespeare), which are closely related in style to dance theater, with very little or no dialogue, the actor being the focal point of the shows, the unique keeper of the mystery of theater
Ever since its establishment, Masca Theater unequivocally assumed a cultural and social vocation that was defined by performances and events organized after having identified the needs of culturally-isolated groups or groups within poor communities, by projects addressed to families and projects that bring performing arts to the people, alternative theater performed in unconventional spaces. In addition, Masca Theater is part of the European artistic movement, being a member of the international network for contemporary performing arts – IETM.
The cultural context and the features of the cultural offering
From a cultural perspective, the activities of Masca Theater address the needs of a community with very diverse cultural expectations, providing cultural services that are conceptually creative and professionally comprehensive and competitive.
From an educational perspective, training its own audience involved:
• familiarizing the audience with the non-verbal style
• familiarizing the audience with the theatrical presentation of major topics in the field of theater (commedia dell’arte, the musical, dance theater, the clown, pantomime blanche, living statues, large marionettes, cabaret, black light theater, etc.)
• involvement in shows with an important social aspect
• recognizing beauty and accepting it as a reliable alternative to the gray scenery of everyday life
• shaping the artistic taste of its future audience through specific shows, performances within events specific to their age, classes at Masca school of physical theater.
From a social perspective, the projects of Masca Theater help consolidate a sense of community within a residential community, by defining an identifiable style and, therefore, a style that can be and is associated to the sense of belonging to a community, by initiating projects of a profound social-cultural nature.
The programs of Masca Theater are defined by their aesthetic, cultural, educational and social functions, which Mask undertook as part of its mission.
Masca is the only theater that, in addition to its activities strictly related to the profession and the art it promotes, carries out a huge number of social-cultural programs, defining as accurately as possible the profile of a modern entity with flexible organization and management, the initiator of a genuine discourse, a recognized catalyzer of energies.
During its existence of over 26 years, an impressive number of performances, cultural projects and events were organized and carried out. The troupe performs in over 250 shows a year.
Some of the projects are one-off events, others have reached their 20th edition. Some of these projects are organized by Masca Theater, others are projects where Masca Theater was invited to participate. Projects are carried out in Romania and elsewhere, with Romanian or European participants.
Multi-annual projects organized and carried out by Masca Theatre
– THE CITY BENEATH THE CITY a project initiated in Bucharest’s subway station,
– THE LIVING STATUES FESTIVAL – international Living Statues Festival is the only one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, and its first edition was organized in 2011 (10-13 june) in one of most known park in Bucharest Herastrau, at the initiative of Masca Theatre
– THE FESTIVAL ,,EUROPEAN MASKS AT MASCA,, a project designed to familiarize the Romanian public and Romanian theater professional with a special type of theatre that is very rare in Romania,the theater of movement,gesture, pantomime, corporeal expression, clownery-which is however very popular in the Europe Union, implying yhe unmediated contact between performes and their audience.
– 1992 – Beast Leading Actor – Mihai Malaimare in DEATH HAS DIED, Egipt
– 2002 – National Order for Faithful Service received by Mihai Malaimare as Knight
– 2004 – Special Prize of the jury for INTRUDER, Theatre Festival at Plovdiv, Bulgaria
– 2004 – Grand Prize for INTRUDER, Theatre Festival at Piatra Neamt, Romania
– 2005 – Special Prize from the Romanian Composers Association, for the soundtrack of THE MIRROR, by Paul Urmuzescu
-2008 – Masca Theatre was awarded,during the UNITER Gala, the UNITER special award for performance in non-verbal theatre:Mihai Malaimare and Masca Theater, Encomium-Nicolae Manolescu
-2009- During the 2009 ,, Performig Arts Gala,, an event organized by the Office of the Mayor of Bucharest, Mihai Malaimare received the Award for performance in Management
-2010 at the 20th anniversary of the Romanian theatre of gesture,pantomime, and body expression,as a sign of appreciation fot the outstanding contribution to the reputation of Romanian theatre, the president of romania presented the Masca theatre with the Order of Cultural Merit in the grade ,, Knight”, for the category ,, performing Arts,,
– 2012 – Best Show and Best Leadin Actor for Sebastian Ghita and BLUE CANARY, International Festival of Theatre, Movie and Photography Hyperion Stud Fest 2012
– 2013 – Special Prize for Courage, Initiative and Talen, awarded by the British Council to Mihai Malaimare
2015 – at the 25th anniversary of the Romanian theatre of gesture, pantomime, and body expression, as a sign of appreciation fot the outstanding contribution to the reputation of Romanian theatre, the president of romania presented the Masca theatre with the Order of Cultural Merit in the grade ,, Knight”, for the category ,, performing Arts,, ( )

The one who had the initiative to establish such a theatre, at a time a whole new world was being born, was actor and director Mihai Malaimare. Recollecting those initial moments back in 1990, Malaimare will be speaking about how he got the idea of founding such a theatre:

“I think there are a few things lying at the foundation of this theatre but one of them was the feeling of loneliness I had while roaming the streets of Bucharest on December the 21st 1989. I had a clear feeling that a world was dying and a new one struggled to surface and somehow I got stuck between. That was my first thorough analysis, when I realized that theatre was the only thing I knew how to make. As in the past I had tried to propose those from the UTC, the Young Communists Union the foundation of a Youth Theatre, I told myself that was the right time for the birth of such a theatre, all the more so I had some ideas on how to make it.”

The team which worked with Malaimare at the implementation of such a project included director Anca Dana Florea and two actors from Braila, eastern Romania, Anamaria Paslaru and Sorin Dinculescu. They cooperated in structuring the esthetic programme, which was that of an alternative theatre of non-verbal discourse. A disciple of French mime Jean Lecoq, Mihai Malaimare is not only the initiator of a movement unique in Romania, that of a pantomime movement, but also the creator of a special troupe of selected actors who honed their skills to perfection. Here is critic Marina Constantinescu:

“All the professional actors of the Masca Theare have been attending special courses which are no longer taught in school, I mean pantomime courses. Of course they are privileged to work with Malaimare, who had professionally studied this art with Lecoq, an extremely gifted mime. They have attended stilt walking courses, fencing courses…Practically these actors are the ones who leave the theatre premises in an attempt to reach for the public, and the impact is tremendous.”

At the beginning of a new year Malaimare shares with us some of the important projects for the theatre he is currently leading:
“2008 will be one of the three years during which I will not be director of the Masca theatre but its manager. This year I intend to raise the number of people visiting our webpage to at least 100 per day. I also intend to win an award in an international festival and to participate in at least three international and two national festivals…I would like to launch a new project called ‘A Young Actor’s Mask’ and stage a pantomimic version of Hamlet.”

Director Malaimare believes that a theatre must get socially involved and for this reason, the Masca Theatre comes with a series of social-cultural projects mainly addressing the audience in the Militari district, in Bucharest, where the theatre has its premises. Here is project coordinator Stefan Livadaru with details about some of the projects:

“The Masca Festival, includes not only theatre shows, but also music, interactive moments devoted to people of various ages, ranging from little kids to pensioners. We’ll continue to mount our traditional project ‘Halloween at the Masca Theatre’, which is going to be a mini spook show for some of our younger spectators. Another successful project, in its 11th edition, is ‘The Toy Fair’, during which the little ones can donate the toys they are no longer playing with to needy kids. We’ll also continue another of our projects, entitled ‘Cinemasca’, with many good films on view mainly for the young people in our district. Of course they can watch these films free of charge.
One of the most complex projects of the Masca Theatre is the ‘City Below the City’, staged in Bucharest’s underground stations. Since 2003, these stations have housed nearly 500 shows, ranging from picture and photo exhibitions to dance and theatre shows."

All these shows have had a positive impact on its audience. Here is Malaimare again:
“Masca was a theatre which struggled to exist, first to have its own premises and then to survive as a theatre, an alternative solution to the already existing companies. We won our first audiences with shows held in alternative spaces, in parks, in the street, on esplanades and later in underground stations. So we have an audience of our own, people who recognize us and enjoy our shows. But when we started playing indoor, when we replaced non-verbal street shows with spoken plays we had to find another audience." 
source :

Din 30 aprilie spațiul de la Roata Mare din Parcul Herăstrău se transformă într-o scenă de teatru

De 27 de ani Teatrul MASCA a ales să aducă teatrul aproape de locuitorii din București și nu numai atunci când majoritatea teatrelor îşi închid uşile.
Începând cu 30 aprilie, ora 17.00, Parcul Herăstrău (Roata Mare) va fi animat de spectacole de teatru în aer liber și statui vivante. “PARIZIANCA”, ” MATELOȚII”, ” ARCA LUI LENIN” sunt doar câteva titluri care vor face deliciul celor ce vor alege să-și petreacă timpul liber la ROATA MARE din Parcul Herăstrău.
     Așadar, vă așteptăm cu mic, cu mare, din 30 aprilie, să dăm startul verii.

       Ediția de anul acesta are particularități speciale legate mai ales de intenția noastră de a ne defini locul în peisajul festivalurilor de gen și în cel al preocupării profesioniștilor statuii vivante de a găsi formulele teoretice general acceptabile, soluțiile tehnice și mai ales cele ale pedagogiei teatrale în domeniu. Va fi o ediție specială, una total diferită de cele anterioare. În primul rând prin întindere, căci trecem de la formula de trei la una de 7 zile și apoi prin format și desigur prin grupurile țintă cărora ne vom adresa.
      Va fi un festival lung, care începe cu o Noapte a statuilor vivante și continuă cu 6 zile pe parcursul cărora producțiile Masca și cele ale invitaților noștri se vor derula în trei spații diferite din București. Vom evolua în două parcuri din două cartiere marginașe, Militari și Ferentari și în Parcul Herastrau, cel mai mare și mai important parc din Capitală. Dacă  întâlnirea cu locuitorii Parcului Crângași din sectorul VI este deja tradiție, aceea cu locuitorii cartierului Ferentari este o premieră absolută și suntem convinși că va fi una extraordinară, atât pentru noi cât și pentru invitații noștri. Cât privește parcul Herăstrău, am ales o zonă mai puțin căutată de organizatorii de manifestări culturale, Roata Mare și iarăși avem convingerea că alegerea este una nu numai interesantă ci și foarte plăcută pentru artisti și spectatori deopotrivă căci este frumoasă, elegantă, plină de verdeață și va da o strălucire aparte festivalului nostru.
        Noaptea statuilor vivante va aduce alături artiști străini și români într-un parc al unuia dintre cele mai interesante muzee din București, Casa Cesianu, spațiu cu o aură specială, misterios și elegant, suficient de mare pentru a fi încăpător și destul de intim pentru a crea o stare cu totul specială celor care vor veni să asiste la acest moment atât de important al festivalului nostru.
       Cele șase zile de festival care vor urma se vor adresa unor ținte absolut diferite, de la sofisticatul spectator pe care îl poate oferi cel mai mare parc bucureștean, Herăstrău, la spectatorul cartierelor dormitor ale sectorului VI și desigur la acela al unui cartier care încearcă din răsputeri să-și contrazică o istorie nu tocmai pozitivă, Ferentari, dar unde oamenii, tocmai din această cauză sunt poate mai atenți și mai încântați de ideea noastră de a ne fixa pentru două zile în frumusețea parcului Humulești aflat exact sub geamurile blocurilor lor. Când vom face o analiză a modului în care festivalul nostru a fost acceptat și consumat, sunt convins ca vom avea reacții cu totul spectaculoase în Ferentari.
      La ediția din acest an  vor participa două grupuri de creatori de statui vivante din Europa, cei de la Great Names din Viena și cei conduși de Yvonn Hollander din Olanda. Alături de ei vom evolua și noi, cei de la Masca, aducând publicului un număr de 15 statui vivante, nu atât de multe ca în alți ani, dar cu siguranță mult mai competitive și mai bine realizate decât până acum, în plus vom încânta publicul cu o serie de spectacole create mai mult sau mai puțin în stilul statuii vivante, dar revendicându-se de la conceptul de teatru stradal în interiorul căruia statuia vivantă este, în opinia noastră, momentul cel mai important și mai spectaculos.
       Festivalul va beneficia și de  câteva zile de mediatizare activă prin intermediul unor statui vivante în foarte multe spații ale Capitalei, fapt care va întregi imaginea unui Festival care ambiționează să coaguleze forțele profesioniștilor care lucrează în domeniul statuii vivante și care, prin arta lor, prin festivalurile pe care le frecventează și le promovează încearcă să se opună atacului violent pe care neprofesioniști și amatori, în fapt simpli cerșetori îl produc uneia dintre cele mai interesante forme de teatru stradal din lume, statuia vivanta.
         Ediția a VII-a a Festivalului Internațional de Statui Vivante Masca – 2017 va fi un eveniment cultural fără precedent și cu siguranță deschizător de perspective!


Cloudia said...

Art responds!

Bill said...

Wonderful! You captured these amazing performers beautifully!

Fram Actual said...

After first glance at the photographs, this seemed reminiscent of the Venice carnival, and, I guess in a way it is .... but, after reading the dialogue, the uniqueness of the activity became evident. The theater certainly is an arena for imagination and exploration. By the way, the woman in the first, fifth and sixth photographs is particularly attractive to my eyes ....

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