Text and Directed by Eric Vigner, translated by George Banu
Waite Judge: Oana Ștefănescu
C.J. Lane: Carmen Tănase
M. Higginbotham: Marius Damian
Edward Steichen: Richard Bovnoczki / Silvian Vâlcu
Jacob Epstein: Mircea N. Crețu
F. Watson: Elvira Deatcu
William Henry Fox: Mugur Arvunescu
Constantin Brâncuși: Laurenţiu Lazăr
R. Ingersoll Aitken: Virginia Rogin
Thomas H. Jones: Relu Poalelungi
Assistant director: Vlad Chiriță
Stage design & Costumes: Constantin Ciubotariu
Light design: Kelig le Bars
Sound design: John Kaced
Tours and festivals
A Odeon Theatre and Suzanne M Company (France) production, supported by Ministry of Culture in France, French Institute, Region Bretagne, French Embassy in Romania. Main sponsor Novotel Hotel Bucharest.
In 1926, when many sculptures of Constantin Brâncuși where brought from Europe in United States, including The Bird in Space, US customs officers hurried to fit them in the category of ”kitchen utensils and hospital equipment”, applying appropriate charges. Resentful, Brâncuși disputed this clerk decision not so much because of customs duty, but because the obtuseness with which is watched the modern art in America. That’s how a historical process started, that was judged in 1927, putting face to face different views about art, bureaucratic approaches and the strong wish of Brâncuși to demonstrate that the art can arouse emotions even through an ”unidentifiable object”. From the documents of this process was born a theatre play.
The play was first staged by Éric Vigner for the 50th Edition of the Theatre Festival in Avignon in July 1996 and then it was resumed in January 1997 for the inauguration of The Brâncuși Workshop from The Pompidou Center in Paris.
In April 2013 it was recreated as a reading-play in Matisse Hall of The Modern Art Museum in Paris and in 2015 it was performed at Passerelle, The Contemporary Art Center in Brest.
Éric Vigner studied first Fine Arts and then Theatre at l’École de la Rue Blanche and at Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique from Paris.
In 1990 founded The Suzanne M Company. His first staging was La Maison d’Os by Roland Dubillard.
In 1993 he met Marguerite Duras and he adapted for theatre her book La Pluie d’été, with which he toured in France and Russia.
Since 1996 he was director at CDDB–Théâtre de Lorient, Centre Dramatique National and he managed it for 20 years.
In 2002 he staged at Comédie-Française Savannah Bay by M. Duras and in 2004 La Bête dans la jungle at Kennedy Center from Washington. In 2006, for the 60th Edition of The Festival in Avignon he created Pluie d’été à Hiroshima.
At The National Theatre of Seoul (Korea) he made an adaptation of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, which was reproduced at The Comic Opera in Paris in 2006. In 2007 he staged The Barber of Seville at the Nation Theatre in Tirana (Albania), which was revived in 2009 at Théâtre de Lorient and with which he went on tour in India, in 2011. In 2008 he staged at 7 Stages from Atlanta– Dans la solitude des champs de coton by Bernard-Marie Koltès. In 2013 he created Gates to India Song, then The Vice-consul and India Song by Marguerite Duras at the Festival ”Bonjour India” in Bombay, Calcutta and New Delhi.
As an opera director he was attracted to the Baroque repertoire: La Didone by Cavalli (Opera in Lausanne, 2000), L’Empio punito by Melani (The Bach Festival in Leipzig, 2003) and Antigona by Traetta (Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, 2004). In 2013 he staged at Lorient Orlando by Haendel.
In 2014, at The ”Mettre en scène” Festival in Rennes, Vigner realized Tristan, his first text, free and contemporary variation around the myth of Tristan and Isolda, which was published at Solitaires Intempestifs Publishing. Tristan is the first part of a trilogy dedicated to love and death rituals, followed by Partage de Midi by Claudel and The Vice-consul by M. Duras. After he directed L’Illusion comique by Corneille for the inauguration of CDDB 20 years ago, he recreated this play to conclude his mandate as director at The National Dramatic Center Lorient.
„Brâncuși Against United States” is an essential production in knowing the bitter history of cultural values, regardless the historical moment and successful in the theatrical configuration. The public is captivated by the story telling a cultural process and applauds with satisfaction knowing he witnessed a forever alive history lesson.
Apparently, the show seems a simple active reading of the famous trial’s documents, but the tension of the debate is enhanced from one scene to another. The actors and the director manage to develop the process by following several plans. The central one unwinds the action of the trial with its major theme – the historical battle between conservatism and innovation. The secondary plans point out the possible cause of the conflict, such as envy and imposture, but also the alarming involvement of politics in culture. The interpretation of the characters from this thematic area is remarkable as well.
Ileana Lucaciu, blogspectator.ro, January, 4th, 2017
They played wonderfully, with nerve, this difficult event-show: with an extra acknowledgement for Carmen Tănase (the accusing lawyer), Mircea N.Crețu (Epstein, the sculptor), Silvian Vâlcu (Steichen, the artist), Virginia Rogin (Mrs Aitken), Marius Damian (the defending lawyer), Oana Ștefănescu (the Judge), Mugur Arvunescu (Fox), Laurențiu Lazăr (Brâncuși) etc.
At Odeon Theatre an event show, a fascinating class of history!
Mircea M. Ionescu, Taifasuri, December, 22nd, 2016