Songs to Scare Off Fear

Teatrul Național ”Lucian Blaga” din Cluj-Napoca

13 - 14 June 2024

Created by the beloved artist Ada Milea, a distinctive voice in the landscape of Romanian musical theatre, and inspired by the texts of Romanian-born Nobel Prize Laureate Herta Müller, the concert-performance Songs to Scare Off Fear explores a world disintegrating under the pressures of war, dictatorship and uprootedness, in which love and friendship are both a vulnerability and a source of power.

The performance invites us to dive into a private, intimate universe, to empathically explore it, and finally acknowledge it as a part of ourselves. A captivating musical interpretation of Herta Müller’s biography, recreated from her various writings, Songs to Scare Off Fear builds a story about the pain and suffering of exile, about the anomalous embodiments of love in a world of extremes, and about making peace with our small personal histories, especially under the pressure of “big” History, which can often be utterly ruthless.  

Scenographer Alexandra Mureșan constructs an intimate space, mirroring that which lies on the inside – the space of consciousness fighting to free itself. This profound and mysterious miniature universe is riddled with shadows, echoes of memory.

Actors Anca Hanu, Radu Dogaru, Cristian Rigman, Mihnea Blidariu, Adriana Băilescu and Miron Maxim embody the characters belonging to a recent, yet alien history, at the same time deeply personal and universal, exorcising – through music – the fears, regrets, and nostalgia for a time when victims and executioners often shared a common life.

The characters living in the protagonists’s (generically named “She”) memory become extensions of her being, sweet or menacing, but always present. Although our spectators today live in a seemingly different, distant reality, the performance highlights the universality of fear and the therapeutic power of love and hope.

Songs to Scare Off Fear premiered on 18 April 2024 in the Euphorion Studio of the Cluj-Napoca National Theatre. 

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Photo: Nicu Cherciu

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