Sep 29, 2018

Coffeehouse Chronicles #149: Andrei Serban

Curated by Michal Gamily & Kim Ima
Educational Outreach by Arthur Adair

a black arrow pointing downward

Coffeehouse Chronicles honors Andrei Serban and his long career
with panelists, live performances and archival material from the La MaMa Archives.

Hosted by Mia Yoo

Arnold Aronson, Daniela Dima, Liev Schreiber, Priscilla Smith, Aniko Szucs, Charlie Hayward, Onni Johnson, Valois Mickens

Great Jones Repertory Company, Richard Cohen, George Drance, Angela Fie, Paul Haris, Charles Hayward, Kim Ima,
Onni Johnson, Julia Martin, Valois Mickens, Bill Ruyle, Priscilla Smith, Yukio Tsuji, Zishan Ugurlu, Peter Zummo, Cris Wild, Halleli Gamily Peleg, Yuna Clark


The reason why Andrei Serban had a long international career directing theater and opera all over the world, is due to the fact that Ellen Stewart had a dream about a young promising director from communist Romania and when she woke up she decided to try the impossible: she flew to Bucharest, and by speaking instant Romanian, she convinced the Ceausescu censors to give him a passport and a plane ticket to New York to work at La MaMa. Among the many shows he directed with Great Jones Company, Fragments of Trilogy was considered by Ellen herself the highest achievement in La MaMa’s history. Her dream was not in vain.

Arnold Aronson is a professor of theatre at Columbia University in New York City. He writes on scenography and contemporary theatre. Books include The History and Theory of Environmental Scenography (revised 2nd edition), The Routledge Companion to Scenography (editor); Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design; Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography; and American Avant-Garde Theatre: A History. He has contributed chapters to several books on various aspects of theatre, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times, American Theatre, The Drama Review, Performance Research, and numerous scholarly journals in the US and abroad. Professor Aronson is a former editor of Theatre Design & Technology, and currently co-editor of Theatre and Performance Design. He has a long history with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design, serving as President of the Jury in 1991 and 1999, curator of the U.S. exhibit in 1995, and General Commissioner in 2007.

Daniela Dima graduated Directing at I.A.T.C. “I.L. Caragiale” Bucharest in 1987 and directed shows on several Romanian stages. In 1990 she was lucky to be among the young actors and directors who participated in the unique experience of Andrei Serban’s Greek Trilogy at the National Theatre Bucharest, as an assistant and chorus member. She became Andrei Serban’s constant collaborator as co-adaptor, co-translator and assistant or associate director on most of his many international theatre and opera productions. She attended post-graduate studies at Formation Internationale Culture Paris/Université de Bourgogne and Université de Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle in 1995-1998.

Dr. Aniko Szucs is a New York and Philadelphia based dramaturg and scholar. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies from the University of Theatre, Film, and Television of Budapest. Currently she is a Mellon Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at Haverford College. Dr. Szucs was the resident dramaturg of the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) in Budapest between 2000 and 2005. As a dramaturg and translator, she also worked at Portland Center Stage and the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, at the DiCapo Opera and the Hourglass Group, both in New York. With Andrei Șerban, Dr. Szucs worked on three productions: The Three Sisters and Angels in America at the National Theatre of Budapest, and Richard III at the Radnóti Theatre, also in Budapest.

Coffeehouse Chronicles


Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.

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