Leta Popescu has participated in dramatic writing workshops coordinated by Gianina Cărbunariu, Alina Nelega, and Nicoleta Esinencu. She occasionally writes for her own plays, for her own shows, playwrights prose or poetry, and has a blog called “writing exercises” where she publishes perspective/standpoint articles about the Romanian theater. Leta often intervenes in texts that she assembles and signs for the collectively created performances, such as: Open, Parallel, 9 out of 10. She wrote the script for The Splash, a play for children aged 1-4 years old that was performed at Sibiu’s Gong Theater. She also mounted “The Greatest Gulliver” by Gellu Naum, staged by Alexandru Dabija.
In her master project, “From Romanian contemporary prose to performance”, she staged volumes such as Poker and Poker.Black Glass by Bogdan Coșa (the Poker play was created with Adriana Hăgan), A lamp with a hat and Happenings and characters by Florin Lăzărescu (which resulted in the show The End built together with Oana Hodade) and Irresistible by Dan Coman (together with Oana Hodade and Valeriu Cuc, which resulted in the show Ghinga).
She wrote plays/scripts for the “Collage” project together with playwrights such as Peca Ștefan, Elise Wilk and Mihaela Michailov for the (In)Credibile, she co-signed a part of the writings for the show (In)Visible, and she worked on the script for the (In)Correct show, that premiered in 2020.
Who said the Romanian theater is bad? Freedom and responsibility to the state
In Scena.ro nr.2/2018
“This will improve when we have the courage to believe that what we do is important and we won’t have to hide/censor our words.” (Of course, courage comes with innocence/bliss and taking a stance comes with a lot of risks.) How do we get there? If you ask me, going back to our roots might tell us: what are the theater’s functions/purposes? (…) Whenever the theater functions will truly be recognized and known by the headmasters, and the theater students from all sections and classes will be taught how to do their jobs, where their ideas will be celebrated and shared with the world, both as working and collaborating with artist crews as well as working with production teams, only then the Romanian theater will have a stance, a personality and some ideas.”
“In the summer of 2018, a dense and heavy atmosphere presses on Romania’s shoulders. I feel disgust and distrust, I try not to get carried away by fear, and I almost succeed. We remember the teargas protests, us trying to collect signatures for #NoMoreCriminals campaign, our talks about the referendum initiated by the Coalition for Family, the politicians insulting the Romanian diaspora (the strawberry pickers, the fallow workers, the stupid people), the President not doing anything, the endless philosophical debates about the vulgar slogan that was directed to the running party, the “Stop politicizing culture” petition, the shows where we celebrated with deception and propaganda our country, Romania. This all changes the Centenary into a very confusing, sad, and vulgar year. (…) Our signature remains on the posters from our shows, that we produce.” read more
The mission of the Romanian theater: from law to taking responsibility
in Scena.ro nr.4/2018
“Our theaters, as the official name says, are “performing arts institutions” which means that what they do is: produce performance art so that members of different communities and groups can come and watch it. Is this all a theater should do? I would say no. Theaters could change (a lot more things in) communities. I imagine these buildings in city centers as real meeting places. The theater could easily be a public square of ideas, a platform for debates. It has the power to not only produce shows but also have related activities.”
“I never made a better performance or one similar to the ones created by Purcărete, Afrim, Frunză or whoever is nominated for the Uniter prizes. I don’t think I will ever do that. I don’t even think that this is my purpose, nor do I think I can do that. I don’t think I want to do it, at least not in a competitive way. The male directors are my colleagues, they inspire me and disappoint me as much as the female directors do. Maybe we should ask ourselves why we’ve been taught to think a man can do my job better than I do, or that I could never do as nice a job as the other male directors do. On one hand, I never made this my goal in life, and on the other hand, sometimes I even question my own talent. However, talent in the directing art is a separate discussion, one that is critical and transcends gender.It doesn’t consider the purpose of writing either, so I move along. […]” read more…
the column Approaches in Romanian theater”, curated by Leta Popescu
In March 2019, Leta Popescu launches the Scena.ro magazine’s online column: Approaches in Romanian theater.
Leta Popescu: This column was born with the sole purpose of understanding today’s theater. Without disregarding and opposing any ways of thinking, different than mine, or imposing my way of thinking as a universal truth, I open up this space for dialogue. How does this column work? I propose/chose a topic to be debated, and then I invite theater specialists to take a stance on the topic. For starters, I chose this quote that awakens something in me: what does cowardliness mean in theater? Here is the quote:
“We don’t feel the need for a revolution. We don’t know for certain what “theater” will look like tomorrow. We won’t announce anything.
But we will react and take a stance against any cowardliness that contemporary theater has.”
“Cowardliness thrives when there are no clear principals that define “responsibility” . How could someone be courageous and optimistic when most theaters don’t have a clear mission (on why they exist and why they produce art)? For example, who is responsible, and based on what criteria do we decide who is to blame for poor programming / scheduling and who to blame for a lack of consistency in production choices? Where is the responsibility to the community in the proximity of its theater, where is the responsibility (or rather lack of) of the educational and social outreach of the theaters?” read more
“Copeau pretends he doesn’t want a revolution, but instead he wants to put an end to anything he sees as cowardly. Contemporary theater doesn’t need to desire a revolution or abolish anything. But the theater does need to confront itself, to be authentic, honest, and pretentious as much as possible. And yes, this requires courage.” read more…
And yet, nothing is “too much” for our so-called courageous theater: topless women riding alive pigs on the main stage, while pink and green feathers fall from the ceiling, that is possible. But to have a show about the Roma holocaust and Roma slavery, written by a Roma artist who is a woman and who wants to be treated equally as the other artists, not because she is a Roma woman, but rather because she has a story to tell, is apparently “too much”, or so I’ve been told. read more…
Leta Popescu launched her blog in 2008 entitled “an amateur critique”. For over two years, Leta wrote about theater. She did interviews, promoted actors and directors, and announced/promoted different shows from different theaters in Bucharest. In time, the blog shifted to more “writing exercises,” a space where Leta writes personal essays rarely. She doesn’t write anymore about theater, only in her doctoral thesis.