Ulysses European Odyssey: Romanian theatre production inspired by James Joyce looks at impact of migration
In Between Homes, a theater production by Cluj-Napoca-based Create.Act.Enjoy, will run between July 7th and July 16th at Fabrica Clujana.
The production is "an immersive promenade performance that looks at the impact of migration, not just on those that leave their home country, but those who are left behind – families and loved ones, communities and wider society." It explores "how transnational families discover new patterns of co-presence and ways to maintain a sense of safety, support, and intimacy, despite living in multiple worlds. Empathy becomes vital in such separations, which are familiar to many Romanians."
It is part of the Ulysses: European Odyssey (2022-2024) program, which sees 18 European cities producing artistic responses to social and cultural themes identified in the episodes of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Create.Act.Enjoy have taken Sirens, the eleventh episode of James Joyce's Ulysses, as the starting point for In Between Homes. They have collaborated with the Lucian Blaga National Theatre and the Babes-Bolyai University Faculty of Theatre and Film in Cluj-Napoca on the project.
Fabrica Clujana, a former shoe factory and landmark that has been closed to the public for years, is being reimagined as an immersive journey, with nine performance, exhibition and interactive spaces "where each audience member navigates, observes and reflects upon the migration of Romanians and its effects on those left behind in the country, according to a presentation of the project." The production features a mix of live and pre-recorded voices and other sounds.
"Our performance revisits Sirens in Joyce's Ulysses to look at Romanian migration abroad and, more specifically, the effects of these departures on families. The promise of a better life in the West can be seen as the song of the sirens, as recent studies on transnational families emphasize that the overarching motive that unites the aspirations of those leaving Romania is the need for better living conditions," Andreea Iacob, director of In Between Homes, explains.
"The spectator, referred to as a participant, is invited to enter the performance and have a much more direct relationship with it. Unlike a traditional theatre production, there is no longer a separation between the stage and the audience, and there is no singular space where the dramatic action unfolds. In essence, we are talking about a series of spaces that the spectator enters as if stepping into a series of artistic installations, where the stories gain meaning together, forming a kind of theatrical collage. Each space has its theme, atmosphere, set design, dramaturgy, and actors. There will be spaces where the experience has a specific duration, but also areas where spectators can stay for as long as they wish."
In Between Homes runs with timed entry every 15 minutes between 6 pm and 7:15 pm. It is free to attend, but tickets must be booked in advance. More details here.
Ulysses European Odyssey takes place between 2022 and June 2024. It was conceived by Ireland's Arts Over Borders and developed with lead partner Brave New World Producties, the Netherlands-based producing company. It is funded through an award of EUR 1.72m from the European Commission's Creative Europe Fund. Eighteen cities in 16 countries have each responded to one of the episodes in the novel: Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Cluj, Copenhagen, Derry-Donegal, Dublin, Eleusis, Istanbul, Leeuwarden, Lisbon, Lugo, Marseille, Oulu, Paris, Trieste, Vilnius and Zurich.
(Photo: Create.Act.Enjoy Facebook Page)