Romania. Kiss Me!

November 17–December 3, 2006
RomaniaU.S. Premiere
With the prospect of Romania’s EU membership on the horizon, five young writers respond to their rapidly changing society in these six short plays.
Meet the Artists

Nicoleta Esinencu (Playwright) Born 1978, Chisinau. Wrote:  A saptea kafana, Zuckerfrei, Dromomania, Tzap-tzarap and others.  FUCK YOU,!  (Solitude, Stuttgart; dramAcum2 prize) was published in the Romanian reader at the 51st Venice Biennale, causing political controversies in the Romanian parliament. Her plays have been staged in Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Germany, Russia,  Japan, France and Austria.  2003 scholarship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; 2006 scholarship at Recollets, Paris.

Bogdan Georgescu (Playwright) studied at the University of Vermont and worked with the Immigrants’ Theatre Project in New York.  He co-founded the independent project tangaproject in Romania, which focuses on the development of new drama based on social involvement.  His other plays include D.W. (a “dramAcum” contest winner); Rape (Green Hours Theatre, directed by Vera Ion) and XXXcartoons (The Desant Theatre in Bucharest).  He is an alumnus of the Cornerstone Summer Institute.

Vera Ion (Playwright) Other staged plays: Vitamins.  Published books: Acetona, Copilul cafea (poetry), Vitamins (theatre). She is member of tangaproject, a young group of directors and playwrights from Romania, and works together with them at some very inciting projects. In summer 2006 she was member of the Royal Court International Residency for Playwrights.

Ioana Moldovan (Playwright) Theatre was a sanctuary for Ioana, after witnessing the suicide of a friend, then 29 years old, a prosecutor for the High Court of Justice and former assistant at the Romanian American University, where Ioana graduated in 2000 from the Law Department. Ioana graduated from Theatre Theory at the I. L. Caragiale National University of Theatre and Cinema Arts in Bucharest in September, 2006, and since then has been the Cultural Manager of ACT Theater, the first independent theatre in Romania.

Cristian Panaite (Playwright) started writing plays while studying at Bennington College with Dramaturg Roberta Levitow and playwright, Gladden Schrock. Since then several of his plays, dealing with the American dream or the historical/contemporary Romanian environment, received readings and productions in the U.S. and Romania. Currently he is a Graduate Student at Miami University of Ohio and has little idea where the American dream will take him next.

Marcy Arlin (Director) LCT Directors Lab, Theatre W/o Borders, Fulbright Senior Specialist. Artistic Director of Immigrants' Theatre Project (2003 OBIE). Directing venues: Soho Rep, LaMama, HERE, The Public, Barrow Group Theatre, Ellis Island Museum, QTIP, Tenement Theatre, Dublin Fringe, NY Int'l Fringe, Yiddish Book Center, Univ. of Chicago, Nat'l Theatre of Romania, CUNY/MESTC; Other: Reality & New Romanian Theatre, Prague Quadrenniale.  She teaches Theatre at CUNY. 2006-07: HERESY by Sabina Berman (HERE), Tropic of X by Caridad Svich (Artheater/Cologne).

Thomas Caruso (Director) is an Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award nominee, who recently directed Bradley Whitford and Kate Burton in A Christmas Carol at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Other credits include: the Off-Broadway musical, Emojiland (NY Times Critics Pick, 4 Drama Desk Award Nominations, and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award Nomination: Best Musical); He directed and co-conceived the critically acclaimed musical Southern Comfort (The Public Theatre, NY Times Critics Pick, 3 Lucille Lortel Award and 2 OCC Award nominations including: Best New Musical). In London, he directed the West End and World Tour of Dynamo: Seeing Is Believing for the Illusionist/Magician, Dynamo. Broadway Associate Director credits: A Christmas Carol, Groundhog Day, Matilda, Ghost, Mamma Mia!, Bombay Dreams, Follies and Master Class. He directed the National Tours of Matilda, Ghost and Master Class, and new works at Bay Street, NYS&F, Rattlestick, EST, Play Co, WTF & Gloucester Stage.

Jackson Gay (Director) Recent: Len, Asleep in Vinyl, by Carly Mensch, at Second Stage. Jason Grote’s Box Americana (Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference); Workshop of Saviana Stanescu’s For a Barbarian Woman (Long Wharf / International Festival of Arts & Ideas); Andy Bragen’s Mother Earth (Minneapolis’ PlayLabs); A collaboration with Jennifer Tipton at the Guggenheim Museum as part of Works & Process. Workshop presentation of David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette for the inaugural Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Residence at the Public Theater, as well as Portland Center Stage’s JAW/West Festival. Lucy Thurber’s Scarcity at the Atlantic Theater Company, where she previously directed Kia Corthron’s Master Disaster (10x20 Festival) and Rolin Jones’ The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, which was selected as a 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Lucy Thurber’s Stay (Rattlestick Theater) Esinencu’s Fuck You,! (Play Company) Best Production Connecticut Critic’s Award The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at the Yale Rep. Upcoming: Workshop presentation of David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette (Goodman Theater); Fabulation, by Lynn Nottage (Baltimore Centerstage); A Year With Frog and Toad (Two River Theater); End Days, by Deborah Zoe Laufer (People’s Light and Theater Company).Founder of the film production company YARN, whose upcoming projects include Sugar Land, by Lucy Thurber. Recipient of the Jonathan Alper Directing Fellowship at Manhattan Theatre Club, the Williamstown Theater Festival Directing Fellowship and the Drama League's New Directors/New Works Fellowship. MFA Directing Yale School of Drama.

Kaipo Schwab (Director) is the Artistic Director of The Imua! Theatre Company where he has directed Balm in Gilead, Julius Caesar and The Greeks. He has also directed ABC Television’s Diversity Showcase, and for NYTW and Immigrants Theatre Project. He is a Graduate of Boston University School for the Arts and a NYTW Usual Suspect.

Liesl Tommy (Director) Brand: NEW Festival at Hartford Stage; Hydriotaphia by Tony Kushner at Trinity Rep/Brown Consortium; Misterioso 119 by Koffi Kwahule at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Adventures of Barrio Grrrl by Quiara Hudes at SPF. She was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Two-year Casting/Directing Fellowship.

Roberta Levitow (Multidisciplinary Artist) Born into a family of animation cartoonists (Roberta's father was the animator and animation director, Abe Levitow), Levitow became a theatre director. Throughout a 40-year career as one of America’s pioneer women theatre directors nationally and internationally, her work strongly emphasized visual storytelling.

With a lifelong commitment to the power of storytelling to confer and challenge meaning, Levitow centers narrative in their paintings. I use the techniques of the ancient practice they learned in workshops in traditional egg-tempera Russian-style icon painting. An autodidact, Levitow also took classes at the Otis College of Art & Design - oil painting with the late Franklyn Liegel, as well as Old Masters techniques, trompe l’oeil, life drawing and anatomy. Levitow is strongly influenced by the collision of past and present, the timeless and the topical, high and low cultural imagery.

Saviana Stanescu (Playwright, ARTivist) is a Romanian-born award-winning playwright and ARTivist. Her work has been widely presented internationally and in the US. 

Recent productions include "What Happens Next" at The Cherry, "Ants" at NJ Rep, “For a Barbarian Woman” (a co-production Fordham/EST), “Aliens with extraordinary skills” at Women’s Project (published by Samuel French), “Useless" at IRT,"Bechnya” at Hudson Theatre in LA, "Waxing West" (2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-length Script) at La MaMa Theatre, "Suspendida" and “Vicious Dogs on Premises” (with Witness Relocation) at Ontological Theatre, “Polanski Polanski” and “Aurolac Blues” at HERE Arts Center, “The E-Dating Project” at Strasberg Institute for Theatre&Film, and the site-specific "I want what you have" at the World Financial Center.

“Aliens with extraordinary skills” (Inmigrantes con Habilidades Extraordinarias) and “Final Countdown” (Cuenta Regresiva) ran for 8 months in Mexico City at Teatro La Capilla and Teatro El Milagro. “Bucharest Underground” won the 2007 Marulic Prize for Best European Radio-Drama. In Stockholm, Sweden, Saviana’s play “White Embers” produced by Dramalabbet made it in the TOP 3 of Best Plays in 2008, and in NYC is published by Samuel French as one of their 2010 OOB festival winners.

Ms Stanescu has published books of poetry and drama including “The New York Plays” (NoPassport Press), "Hurt" (The Best American Short Plays 2012-2013, Applause) “Aliens With Extraordinary Skills” and "Ants" (Samuel French), “Waxing West”, "Google me!", "Black Milk" and "The Inflatable Apocalypse” (Best Play of the Year UNITER Award in 2000).

She co-edited the anthology of plays “Global Foreigners” (with NYU professor Carol Martin) and “roMANIA after 2000” (with CUNY professor Daniel Gerould).

Saviana's plays have received readings and workshops at The Lark, Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage&Film, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Women's Project, New Georges, Playwrights' Foundation, Traveling Jewish Theatre, Immigrants Theatre Project, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Origin Theatre Company, PS122, HERE, The Cherry, Civic Ensemble, La MaMa Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center, etc.

Saviana Stanescu is a member of EST (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop. She was a 2005-2007 TCG fellow with the Lark Play Development Center, where her plays “Waxing West” and “Lenin’s Shoe” had barebones productions. She also was a 2007-2008 NYSCA playwright-in-residence with Women’s Project and writer-in-residence for Richard Schechner’s East Coast Artists, as well as an inaugural Audrey fellow with New Georges (in a team with director Tamilla Woodard).

Saviana holds an MA in Performance Studies (Fulbright fellow) and an MFA in Dramatic Writing (John Golden Award for excellence in playwriting, shared with Rajiv Joseph) from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where she was on faculty in the Drama Department for 8 years. She has taught Playriting and Performance Technique at Fordham University, Strasberg Institute for Theatre&Film, Primary Stages – Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). Ms Stanescu holds a PhD in Theatre from National University of Theatre and Film, Bucharest, Romania.

Currently Ms Stanescu is a tenured Associate Professor of Playwriting and Theatre/Performance Studies at Ithaca College and a Visiting Regional Fellow with Cornell Institute for European Studies.

Saviana has served as Associate Artistic Director for Richard Schechner's East Coast Artists, Director of Eastern European Exchange for Lark Play Development Center, curator of playgroundzero for undergroundzero festival of experimental theatre in NYC, and founder/president of Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York (IASNY).

Cornelia Talmazan (Translator) worked on PlayCo.'s Romania, Kiss Me!

Nadia was the standby for Sister James in Doubt on Broadway.  She will be doing Aaron Sorkin’s new play The Farnsworth Invention at the La Jolla Playhouse this winter.  In adoration of Romanian director Liviu Ciuleu who promised her: “Art is not nice”.

John Boyd (Actor) Pinwheel Freak (Glaxa Studios), The Crusaders (Two Roads Theatre).  Film:  Lady in the Water, The Notorious Bettie Page, Fields of Freedom, Building Girl.  TV:  “Law and Order”.

Chris De Oni (Actor) Theatre: Quira Hudes’ The Adventures of Barrio Grrrl directed by Liesl Tommy (SPF 2005), Tony Kushner’s Good Person of Sezuan (La Jolla Playhouse), Maria Irene Fornes’s Letters from CUBA (Signature Theatre).  Film debut opposite Al Pacino in Sea of Love; Revenge with Kevin Costner; Blown Away with Jeff Bridges.  Next I Believe in America directed by Michael Narvaez.

Robert Hogan (Actor) Broadway: A Few Good Men, Hamlet. Off-Broadway: Accomplices (New Group), Boy (Primary Stages) What Didn’t Happen (Playwrights Horizons), Further Than the Furthest Thing (Manhattan Theatre Club), Never the Sinner  (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Actor), Rutherford and Son (Mint Theatre), On the Bum (Playwrights Horizons), Hope is the Thing With Feathers (Drama Dept.), Waiting for Lefty (Dir: Joanne Woodward), Romania, Kiss Me! (The Play Company). Film: Welcome to Academia (post-production), Universal Signs (p.p.) Borough of Kings, Michael Crighton’s Westworld, Hamburger, the Motion Picture. TV: HBO’s The Wire, Law and Order, L&O Criminal Intent, Deadline, Now and Again, Cosby, Cupid & Cate (Hallmark Hall of Fame), M*A*S*H and many other shows.

Clint Ramos (Set Designer) New York: Public Theater NYSF, Culture Project, Ma-Yi Theatre, MCC, Vineyard Theatre, Red Bull Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, SPF, Foundry Theatre, Rude Mechanicals, Talking Band and others. Regional : American Repertory Theatre, Merrimack Repertory, Baltimore Centerstage, East West Players, Speakeasy Stage, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Opera Boston, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and others.

Oana Botez-Ban (Costume Designer), a native of Romania, has designed for major theater, opera and dance companies including The National Theater of Bucharest and was involved in different international theater festivals such as the Quadrennial Scenography Show in Prague. Oana is part of the first Romanian theater design catalogue, Scenografica. Since 1999, when she moved to New York , her collaborations in theater, opera, film and dance include Robert Woodruff, Richard Foreman, Maya Beiser, Richard Schechner, Blanka Zizka, Brian Kulick, Zelda Fichlander, Annie-B Parson &Paul Lazar , Razvan Dinca, Karin Coonrod, Jay Scheib, Evan Ziporyn, Eduardo Machado, Gus Solomon Jr.&Paradigm, Carmen De Lavallade, Dusan Tynek, Rania Ajami, Gisela Cardenas, Tony Speciale, Pavol Liska & Kelly Copper, Matthew Neenan, Molissa Fenley, Zishan Ugurlu, Michael Sexton, Pig Iron Company, Play Company, Michael Barakiva, Charles Moulton, Ripe Time. MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Princess Grace Recipient, NEA/TCG Career Development Program 2009-2011.

Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Designer) Originally from Maine, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau has lived in Brooklyn for the last 26 years. He has designed extensively throughout New York Off-Broadway, as well as regionally and internationally, for world premiere plays, musicals and operas as well as outdoor spaces and touring productions. He is the recipient of a Tony Award (for The Band’s Visit), two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Henry Hewes Design Awards, and two Village Voice OBIE awards.

Recent designs include Be More Chill on Broadway and London’s West End, the Public Theater / Disney musical Hercules in Central Park, Harvey Fierstein’s Bella Bella for Manhattan Theatre Club and the revival of Christopher Shinn’s Dying City at Second Stage Theater. Postponed or cancelled productions include David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway, a remounting of Anne Baker’s The Antipodes in Los Angeles and the New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Becky Nurse of Salem for Lincoln Center Theater.

Bart Fasbender (Sound Design) Recent/current designs: Slag Heap, Women on Fire and 2003 – 2005 Mentor Projects at Cherry Lane; Boozy at The Culture Project (previously at The Ohio); Reasons for Return at Symphony Space and Are We Here Yet at Tribeca PAC for MoCo; Barbara Bush Never Slept Here, Gheri Dosti and William Hoffman's Shoe Palace Murray at Bernie West Theatre for Circle East; Trust at The Kirk and Sakharam Binder at 59E59 for The Play Company; Legal Snarls, Mark Medoff's Same Life Over and Lakawana Rails Radio Plays for TNT in PA, Pen Pals, Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's Woman of Independent Means and Joanna's Husband and David's Wife at PPT in VA.

Romania’s vibrant new writing movement has already forged an exciting new body of work for the stage. ROMANIA. KISS ME! gave New Yorkers an intimate look at a culture undergoing radical transformation, through the eyes of a new generation of artists

Written by

Nicoleta Esinencu Bogdan Georgescu Vera Ion Ioana Moldovan Cristian Panaite

Directed by

Marcy Arlin Thomas Caruso Jackson Gay Kaipo Schwab Liesl Tommy

Translated by

Roberta Levitow Saviana Stanescu Cornelia Talmazan


Nadia Bowers John Boyd Chris De Oni Robert Hogan

Set Design

Clint Ramos


Oana Botez-Ban

Lighting Design

Tyler Micoleau


Bart Fasbender

Production Stage Manager

Nicole Bouclier

Production Manager

Lester Grant


59E59 Theaters 59 East 59th Street New York, NY