By Byrne Harrison
Name: Doris Mirescu
Play: From Dawn Till Night
Relationship to play: Conceived, Designed and Directed
Doris Mirescu is a Romanian-born freelance director and writer. She is also the founder of New York based theatre company Dangerous Ground. Her most recent productions include John Cassavetes’ Husbands (Under the Radar festival at the Public Theater) and 3!, a multimedia experiment based on Fassbinder’s 1979 film The Third Generation (PS122 as part of the undergroundzero festival- winner of the 2009 undergroundzero “Best Production” Award). She directed Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore at the Visual Arts Theatre, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, Madness of Day by Maurice Blanchot and Neil LaBute’s The Distance from Here, all at Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory. She also directed the American Premiere of Paul Solomon’s Aching to go Home at the Epic Center Theatre (Kalamazoo) and Battle of Black and Dogs by Bernard-Marie Koltès as part of Koltès New York 2003, a festival which she also produced (Ohio Theater). Directing credits include Story of Rats, her adaptation of works by French writer Georges Bataille (Chashama) and the European Premiere of Les Nuits Sans Lune by French playwright Véronique Olmi (Parc de La Villette, Paris). Other New York credits include: Silence of Snow (Soho Rep) and Cocteau’s The Handsome Hunk. Ms. Mirescu was the assistant director of French director Brigitte Jaques, with whom she worked on Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (La Comédie, Geneva, Switzerland) and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost (Western Michigan University) and assisted Mr. Andrei Serban on Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Grand Théâtre of Geneva. Ms. Mirescu was four times the recipient of Etant Donnés, the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts. She holds a Summa Cum Laude Master of Arts in French Literature from Paris-IV Sorbonne as well as an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University. She has taught Advanced Acting and Directing at The School of Visual Arts, worked as a theatre and film critic for the Swiss magazine Scènes and as a translator/interpreter for Lincoln Center Theater, the Centre Chorégraphique de Montpellier and the French Cultural Services in New York. She is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. She is also a member of the Actors Studio Playwright and Director’s Workshop.
How long have you been involved in theatre and what is your background?
My parents left Romania when I was three years old. They didn’t want to raise a child in a dictatorship. I lived in Paris, did some of my studies there - literature at the Sorbonne - at the same time studying acting, theatre. Then I went to New York to study film and theatre. After I got my MFA at Columbia University, I founded my company, Dangerous Ground. So theatre has always been at the core… like a profound gesture of freedom, rebellion also… a political gesture. Something to give voice to the world we live in. And also what we aspire to… what we long for. The pain of being alive.
What led you to found Dangerous Ground?
The name of the company echoes one of my most beloved films, “On Dangerous Ground” by the great artist rebel Nicholas Ray. So danger is key. What I am looking for is what shatters the heart, the soul, what is dangerous… life is dangerous, messy, chaotic, sad, beautiful. Emotions contained in silence, nothingness. The simplest gestures. The quotidian. Time also. Dangerous Ground uses multimedia as an ultimate gesture of revelation. At the core is the erosion of human life, when we go beyond the wall of what is constructed, protected and we look at the wounds, at the trash, at what is hidden away. I am interested in raw emotion. In broken, ruptured things. It is the crack which I find most important, because therein is revealed something essential about human-ness. The imperfect is magnificent. What is unpolished, raw, hard. Not necessarily precise. Open…
This play concludes your Fassbinder trilogy. What drew you to Fassbinder's works?
Fassbinder is a revolutionary filmmaker. Danger is at the core of his work. The anarchy of imagination he used to say… He had the extraordinary ability to mix film and theatre and create a unique environment that revealed something very powerful about the world. He created disturbance in the most profound most moving way. Art is a disturbance. It creates discomfort. Awe. Each time I watch a Fassbinder film, I am in awe. Amazed at the risks he is taking and his willingness to destroy the obvious structure, to throw it all away. To look underneath.
Danger is there, always. This new piece is an ode to that danger… vivid and true. Real.
What are your hopes for this production?
The most important gift is that of performance. Which my friend Paul Bargetto, offered to us.
We need to be in the present… now… in the most fragile, vulnerable time… when the piece is about to take a life of its own. So every day is renewed and becomes the future.
What is next for you after undergroundzero?
A trip to Europe. Sleep. And then new work in the making. With my extraordinary friend and writer Ilana Ozernoy.
From Dawn till Night (The Earth is Uninhabitable Like the Moon)
Directed by Doris Mirescu & Produced by Dangerous Ground Productions
150 First Ave at 9th St.
July 21 & 23 @ 9pm, July 22 @ 7pm, July 24 & 25 @ 5pm - Upstairs Venue