“Parallel Lives – 20th Century through the Eyes of Secret Police” is a project of the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra connecting artists, co-producers and cooperating institutions from six countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Artists from former socialist countries created six theatre productions based on the study of materials preserved in the archives of secret police organizations operating in former Soviet bloc countries. Authentic stories intersperse with interviews with the witnesses to that era, agents, victims and other people whose lives had been affected by the activities of the secret police. All these productions will have their world premieres during the International Theatre Festival Divadelná in Nitra, Slovakia between 27 September – 2 October 2013.

Gianina Cărbunariu has chosen to work on the case of Mugur Călinescu.

Mugur Călinescu (28 May 1965 – 13 February 1985) was just 17 and a pupil at A.T. Laurian High School in Botoşani when, in September 1981, he alerted the departments of the Securitate for a month because he wrote on panels and walls inscriptions intended to arouse in people a reaction to the way the rights and freedoms of citizens were being flagrantly disregarded and to the disastrous state of the Romanian economy in that period. After Mugur was caught, he was continuously asked to come to the Securitate. Two years after the September 1981 episode, Mugur Călinescu fell ill with leukaemia. He died in 1985.

“Alongside documents written in the wooden language of the oppressive apparatus of the period (plans for measures, informative notes, analytic notes, etc.), the 200 pages of dossier no. 738 concerning “the Pupil” also preserve the declarations of a young man who succeeded in remaining faithful to his own convictions in spite of the pressures of the Securitate and the lack of solidarity shown by those around him. I believe that young people need role models that they can understand, and Mugur Călinescu is, from this point of view, offers a fitting model of attitude.

I first came across the case of Mugur Călinescu when I read “The King’s Clothes” written by the respected historian and essayist Marius Oprea, in his book “Six Ways to Die”. A copy of the “Pupil” dossier, together with interviews conducted with Mugur’s mother and with two officers involved in the case were made available by the historian and activist Mihail Bumbeş. I take this opportunity to thank him for his assistance.

As in the case of the play “X mm out of Y km”, presented two years ago at the Paintbrush Factory in Cluj and based on a minute in the dossier of the journalist and dissident Dorin Tudoran, the approach adopted was an interrogation of the document by theatrical means. The script on which “Typographic Capital Letters” is based is a collage of ready-made materials (documents and interviews), but the play is an exercise of imagination, a work of fiction that attempts to question these traces of reality in recent history and the way in which they help us to understand the world in which we live today.”

Gianina Cărbunariu