WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE CELLO?
by Matei Visniec
UK premiere at the London VAULT Festival 2017
8-12 February 2017
What Shall We Do With The Cello?, a funny, and sharply relevant one-act play by Romania’s most prolific and celebrated contemporary playwright, Matei Visniec, is to have its UK premiere at VAULT Festival 2017.
What Shall We Do With The Cello? is one of many of Visniec’s great works banned by the Ceausescu regime in Romania, causing the playwright and poet to seek asylum in Paris in 1987, where he still lives and writes.
A storm, a waiting room: the man with the newspaper, the woman with the veil, the old man with the stick. In a corner, the man with the cello is playing his instrument, ceaselessly. At first they listen to him and appreciate him, but very quickly the repetitive and obsessing tune drives them mad. They try, taking turns, to convince him to stop, at least for some minutes, some seconds…. But the man with the cello doesn’t want to, he doesn’t reply to them. He is playing, more and more menacing, alone against everybody….. The others will have to organise themselves against this unexpected musical aggression – Matei Visniec.
Funny and dark, this surreal comedy goes straight to the heart of intolerance and stupidity and features the intriguing live music of one of the world’s leading avant garde composers, Iancu Dumitrescu (Hyperion Ensemble).
Matei Visniec is a significant European playwright, whose multi-award-winning work has been staged in over 30 countries from Japan to the USA and has been translated into 25 languages. Visniec is perhaps best known in the UK for the acclaimed Young Vic production of The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War: ‘you emerge both intellectually informed and emotionally moved’ wrote Michael Billington,The Guardian.
This UK premiere of What Shall We Do With the Cello? is directed by Vasile Nedelcu, whose early production of this play, in Romania, received wide critical acclaim including high praise from the playwright himself. Nedelcu has directed extensively on main stages all over Romania. His work in the UK includes The Chairs and The Lesson, both by E. Ionesco, at the Camden Fringe in 2011 and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at Glasshouse Festival, Stourbridge in 2005.
The cast is Simona Armstrong as the Lady with the Veil (finalist in BBC’s ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?); Mihai Arsene is The Man with the Stick (Sky/HBO’s ‘Strike Back’) and Tudor Smoleanu is The Man with the Newspaper (‘Graduation’ 2016, ‘Bucharest Non-Stop’ 2015). Chamber musician Nick Allen is The Man with the Cello (Modulus Quartet, Bergerson Quartet, Welsh Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Opera Company).
What Shall We Do With the Cello? is presented by Atelier Theatre Studio, a Brighton Fringe award-winning company with a growing reputation for sparkling productions ranging from Ibsen to Ionesco.
This production is made possible with support from The Romanian Cultural Institute in London.
What Shall We Do With the Cello?
VAULT FESTIVAL 2017, The Cage
The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN
Wednesday 8 – Sunday 12 February 2016, 7.15pm
Press night: Wednesday 8 February
Matinee on Sat 11 Feb, 4.45pm
£12, 2-4-1 on Wed 8 Feb
Duration: 1 hour