Under the suggestive title “Confessions about life and art”, the revelations of theater man Radu Beligan came to life this month through two spectacles. Those present could hear stories about the personalities that marked his destiny, about the autographs received from Eugen Ionescu and Salvador Dali, but also about the star that bears his name. “For my 90th birthday, among many gifts, there was one that truly amazed me: I received a star as gift,” he related.
Under the signature of Radu Beligan, the limited edition (900 copies) of the Insomniac’s Notes Manuscript was released last year at the Bucharest Arts Festival. The audience watched a performance entitled Confessions about Art and Life. The spectacle was resumed this year and had, even in June, two shows (June 4th and 5th, at the Small Hall of the Palace).
Fragments from the spectacle
“I was born with Great Romania and I’m umbilically tied to it, it’s not a quality, it’s a wonderful curse, I’ve managed to resist some amazing temptations. I’ve never been able to break away from it, I’ve lived here long, I went through four dictatorships and I can tell you now, outloud, that I was unfaithful to the regimes and always faithful to Romania. “
“George Bernard Shaw lived until the age of 94. Consistent with his originality, he took care to write his own epitaph.” In his home in Ayot Saint Lawrance […], the guide showed me in the library this epitaph that sounded like this: ” I knew if I waited around long enough something like this would happen.” “
“I’m skeptical about young aspirants. I found that they don’t like to be given old advice. And they are right”. Oscar Wilde says, ”It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.” “
“I had the opportunity to see Laurence Olivier at Othello’s premiere, and the success was fulminant. Throughout the performance, the entire band was under the spell of his interpretation, and they were telling him it after each show. One evening, his performance was so extraordinary – played better than ever – that at the end of the show the whole ensemble met along the corridor leading to his cabin and frantically applauded him. Olivier passed by without a word and closed himself in the cabin. Stupor! What is happening to him? One of his close ones knockes at the door. “Well, what happened? Open up, please!” The door opens. “I do not understand what is happening! You were extraordinary, it was your greatest night in this role!” “I know, I know, but that’s why I am desperate. Because I do not know what I did, so I can do it again.”
“Tolstoy once wrote to Chekhov: “Shakespeare’s plays are pretty bad, but yours are even worse.” In 1933, Fred Astaire had his first audition in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. The director wrote: “He can not play, somewhat bald. He knows how to dance a little.” Fred Astaire has kept this note all his life on the fireplace in his home in Beverly Hills. Yes, you can not convince them of your value in art, but with a lot of toil!”
“I have learned from Lucia Sturdza-Bulandra that, in order to deal with an actor’s job, you need, first of all, great physical and moral health.” It is necessary, like Maiorescu says, “for your cell to resist”. About talent, she thought the same as Chateaubriand, who argued that “Talent is nothing more than a long-lasting patience”.”
“Because the shooting day lasted eight hours, (A/N Alexandru Giugaru) brought his lunch from home, which never lacked two large onions. “What do you do with these onions, Sandu?” “One I will eat now, and the other one I will keep for tonight, to make room in the tram “.”
“There are many problems which make the good actors everywhere anxious about. It is known, for example, that they are very superstitious. “The Romanians do not want you to say to them “Succes!” in the evening of the premiere, but “Good luck!”. To French, you say “Merde!”. In England, to wish success to an actor, you have to wish him “Break a leg!”. The expression is since Shakespeare’s time. It seems that an actor broke his leg and played, despite the fracture, so well that he remained famous.”
“In 1950, I was at a table with him (A/N Dinu Ianculescu), with Serban Cioculescu and Ion Barbu at the Athenee Palace brasserie. The door suddenly opens, and a young journalist from Scanteia heads over to us, overflowing with enthusiasm: “Have you heard? Soon, in the Soviet Union, the bread will be free!” “Yes, but at what cost?” Ianculescu replied. This pun has cost him a few months of prison.”
“I regularly went to see Ianculescu to learn something from him. At a performance of the play “The Curse of the Ghosts”, the room was full and yet I remained to see the show while standing on my feet. An actor who played looked through a hole and told the master: ”Beligan is also in the room. He did not find a place and stands up.” “Standing? He can stand on his knees when I play! “”
“At one point, Ionesco (A/N Eugene Ionesco) stood back with me in the corner of a salon and said, “A friendship is bound a travers le travail (over working together). “Rhinoceros” was the opportunity to meet and become friends. You are a formidable Bérenger. Over Jean-Louis Barrault and over Laurence Olivier. Unfortunately, I can not tell the journalists this. They’re great, but susceptible artists. And I still have working relationships with them.” I kept this secret as long as Ionesco and the two great actors lived.”
“There are many rich people in Romania. Some of them do not know what to do with the money. I saw it with my own eyes. Well, believe me or not, I would not give for all their money the autograph that the author of “Rhinoceros” wrote to me in Romanian […]: “For Radu Beligan, with great amity and with as much gratitude”. And I would not give the autograph […] of Salvador Dali either, which he gave to me in New York, on a superb album. “Keep it safe,” says Dali. “After my death, you will sell it at the auction.” To be sure someone will not steal it, I sent it to my daughter in Australia to keep.”
“Agamita Dandanache posed the biggest problems. I had to play in 140 shows before I could get into this character.”
“In Armenia, at the foot of Mount Ararat, there is a cemetery where the writing on the crosses, between birth and death, sums up three, five, at most seven years. Tthe tourists ask the guide if it is a children’s cemetery. “No, it’s a cemetery for great people, and here people really enjoy a great longevity. But here is an old tradition of ours: on the cross are gathered only the days in which you were happy in life. ” I think if I had to obey this tradition, I would gather the six years I spent at the Comedy Theater. “
“For my 90th birthday, among the many gifts I received, there was one which amazed me: I received a star as gift. In a package arrived from the United States, there was the document testifying the existence of the star now bearing my name:
Along with Elton John or Sophia Loren, Madonna or Tom Cruise, your name was given to a star through the International Star Registry. Your star’s name and its telescopic coordinates are recorded and stored in the archives of the International Star Registry Office in Switzerland. These data here is the same as the one on the official certificate of the International Star Registry Office that you will find in this package and which testifyies that a star has been named with your name, specifying its accurate telescopic coordinates. Also, this data will be transcribed in the next edition of the Cosmic Book “Your Place in the Cosmos” (Volume VIII – Copyright USA).
To locate you, look for your constellation on the stylized sky map at the beginning of the booklet included here. Then use the big map, which is a larger copy of your constellation. The exact location where your star is located is red. So, from now on, you will look at the sky with a different view. For this star that is dedicated to you, a part of you sparks on the heavenly vault.
International Start Registry “
I do not know how much scientific truth and how much fantasy is in this amazing gift, but I can not help but think of one of my dearest roles, Professor Miroiu, who found a star for which he was looking for a name. A coincidence that throws me on a great beach of dreams, our everyday food.”
“Lately, a lot of people are asking me this stereotypical question: “What is the secret of your longevity?” While I still have the patience to answer them, I tell them that the biblical secret of longevity is love. I think we are on earth for this unique thing: to love. I often repeat to those who want to listen to me: love what you want, but love. Nothing is more disastrous than the infirmity of the heart.”
“Thank you for all the lessons you have sweetly burdened me with for so many years. We traveled together nicely. As my wonderful friend Philippe Noiret said, “If life is a short journey, we have to try to do it first class.” “