Reading the Tea Leaves: Staged reading of Andreea Valean's WHEN I WANT TO WHISTLE I WHISTLE
Complete this sentence: "When I want to...."
It is the poetic, painful, and playful completion to these words and her encounter with the young people in a juvenile delinquency center that sparked Andreea Valean's 1998 play (now a motion picture directed by Florin Serban, recently awarded with the Silver Bear at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival). Before the film reaches U.S. screens, join us to get a grasp of a play that marked a shift in the development of new drama in Romania.
The staged reading is directed by Ana Margineanu and will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, introduced by Saviana Stanescu.
This event continues the "Reading the Tea Leaves" series in the RCINY/Carturesti book exhibition, with a program of performative readings of contemporary Romanian writing.
From the playwright:
Some years ago I was part of a team of students carrying a social research in a detention facility for minors. I spent 14 days in one of this facilities and I interviewed a lot of prisoners. Late in the night, while I was sitting in the prison’s library – doubling as an activities room and now my bedroom too – I was reading the test forms that the young boys of 15, 16, 17 years old had completed. That was a powerful experience for me; I guess that was when I discovered and understood for the first time a world ruled by other things than the world I was coming from.
One of the tests gave the beginning of a sentence (such as “My childhood…,” “I am sorry that…,” “When I want to…”), and asked the young prisoners to complete it. I was thinking that if people would have had a chance to know how these “criminals” had completed these tests, things would change. These tests were true poems dedicated to their families, love of freedom, their wish to lead a normal life. “When I want to whistle, I whistle” is one answer that stuck in my soul.
Recently, after the film based on the play won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Festival, I was asked where do I think the success of the play comes from. I think it comes from the emotional impact these teenagers had on me, from the life lesson they gave me, and from my wish to let people know this unseen side of the young prisoners. – Andreea Valean
Join Andreea Valean also on April 15 & 16 at the LARK Play Development Center for a presentation of her new play in progress.
[Image: Andreea Valean at RCINY in 2009]