On the evenings of the 15th and 22nd of April 2016, The Romanian Cultural Institute in NYC hosted the continental premiere of the show We Should Have Seen the Lights Already, a collection of 7 plays written by Matei Visniec. J.k. Musser directed the play, produced by Piper Theatre Productions, starring Aaron Novak and Vasile Flutur (who is also one of the translators), with Carolina Do as Stage Manager.
The company’s intention was to produce a show that introduced the Romanian playwright Matei Visniec to American audiences, so the best way to do it was conceiving an interactive “physical interplay and surreal satire”. The fourth wall convention is broken from the very beginning: the spectator is given a small gift box that he’s asked to open only when he hears a specific signal; he’s periodically asked questions and expected to answer, one gets the feeling that the story is something that should concern him. And it does! Because the puzzle of plays is about humanity and its imperfection! The curiosity torments the audience until the mystery of the box’s content is solved. This experience is similar to the one you’ll have watching The Last Godot, one of the 7 short plays, we know that the author made Godot famous for exactly this thing: endless “boil” waiting for his Creator to come and give him answers.
Visniec describes his plays as “theatrical modules, as fragments of shattered mirror”. This collection is constructed the same way, like a “shattered mirror” of humanity; like through a reverse binocular, through which the audience could watch details of the absurd life we’re all living in the age of “bureaucracy, and technology”. Looking through this reverse binocular perhaps will make the spectator reflect on the true meaning of life, the absurd situations he’s sometimes forced to accept in his daily life, or upon the purpose his own Creator brought him to on Earth. But what happens if there is no purpose in him/us, being here? What if the man was brought here out of a mistake his own Creator made? And therefore he’s just the result of a bad moment the Creator had?
These are all questions that may or may not find answers during the one and a half hour, seven short plays collection, written by Matei Visniec.
Even though it’s a collection of seven plays, the setting is simple; the actors: Aaron Novak and Vasile Flutur fill the relatively small space only with their voices and energy using a black Box and other simple props intelligently. The director J.K. Musser’s brilliant intention was to move the emphasis on the ideas rather than the material. On top of that, there are video projections to support the story. It’s a minimal absurdist setting and the props are simple vehicles of the author’s thoughts.
What is Theatre? Theatre is Food for one’s soul and mind. Theatre is Bread. Without theatre, without Bread, we have nothing. Nothing is left. No lights, just darkness… You’ll have no other choice but leave the show feeling enlightened and well-nourished. So keep an eye on Piper Theatre Productions for the summer! I hear of some initiatives to perform the play somewhere in a park, serving cocktails and Romanian traditional food.
Matei Visniec is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning absurdist playwright and his plays are being produced all over the world. Several of his plays have been performed in Chicago…already! (Trap Door Theatre has a long history of Matei Visniec plays in its repertoire) so it was about time for New York to embrace his genius! Congratulations to Piper Theater Productions for its initiative!
The show is now heading off to Romania, the author’s country of origin.
We Should Have Seen the Lights Already a Collection of Plays by Matei Visniec; directed by: J.K. Musser; With: Vasile Flutur; Aaron Novac; Stage Manager: Carolina Do; Piper Theatre Productions;
1 hour and 20 mins.