100 days / 100 stories / 100 directors from 100 countries
About this project
The “Marin Sorescu” National Theatre of Craiova, one of Romania’s biggest theatres and a landmark theatre in Craiova, with a 170-year tradition in theatre production reaching international notoriety, launched an international project called HEKTOMERON on January 15th 2021. This initiative benefits from the high patronage of the UNESCO-ITI organisation and of the the Romanian National Comission for UNESCO, as well as that of the Romanian Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, being a universal message of hope conveyed all around the world during the pandemic times.
Inspired by the Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of novellas written over 650 years ago, the project has staged the book’s 100 short stories which reflect today’s state of the world, in which isolation, fear and death are present just as they were at the time the Decameron was written in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death that struck Florence in 1348.
Starting with January 15th, the project has unfolded 100 stories staged by a different director every day, all of which have been broadcast live on www.hektomeron.com. The project has brought together 100 directors from 100 different countries from all around the world, in order to recreate Boccaccio’s novellas in original manners that speak to the spirit of our times. During the first stage of the Hektomeron project, from January 15th, to April 24th, during 100 days, these daily productions have been seen from 2005 cities from 152 countries worldwide.
Each episode has been performed in Romanian with English subtitles by the “Marin Sorescu” National Theatre’s actors that have worked with 99 foreign artists, Radu Afrim being the sole exception, as he, as our representative director from Romania, has worked with Marius Manole, actor of the National Theatre of Bucharest. All the 100 episodes of the Hektomeron project brought different personal perspectives and techniques, all coming together in creating a coherent bigger picture of the times we are living and also creating a gallery of contemporary theatre from 100 countries. One singular theme comes through, that of man’s resilience when faced with hard times.
The 100 episodes of the Hektomeron project have been united through a 25-hour theatre marathon, interpreted live on 21st of June 2021, creating thus an authentic reproduction of Boccaccio’s Decameron through what is probably the longest theatre show in history – the Hektomeron Day. This performance has been showcased both live, in the “Amza Pellea” hall, as well as on an outdoor screen, on our theatre’s esplanade, and online, on our official website, www.hektomeron.com.
The Hektomeron Day invited its audience to experience a special show, the spectators themselves becoming a part of its production, witnessing the actors’ shifts, the technical teams’ work, the re-enactment of Boccaccio’s medieval world, feeling the whole crew’s emotions and counting every minute of the play, until its very end, which was reached after 25 hours and 32 minutes of live performance. The remarkable duration of this performance was, however, initially imagined as a metaphor of the dreadful and tiring times that we are all confronting with. Together with the actors, the technicians, the volunteers and all the staff members, the spectators were overwhelmed with this experience, just as we have all been because of the pandemic. Besides the Romanian public, viewers from 368 cities and 75 countries from all around the world had the chance to see the live show through our official website, as well as the technical parts of its creation. Eagerly awaiting for the end of these times, everybody could feel the sense of hope that the Hektomeron Day transmitted during its own conclusion, making us feel, yet again, the sentiment of togetherness.
The parallel and the fusion between Boccaccio’s epoch and our own were realised through integrative means such as live music and video projections that filled the short pauses between each episode. Segiu Corbu, Liviu Fărcaș and Victor Mihai reinterpreted the music composed by Gherardello da Firenze and Lorenzo da Fireneze, two Italian musicians who lived in Florence and created their artwork as Giovanni Boccaccio was writing the Decameron. The video projections that complemented the music showed graphics and interactive visual materials depicting the Coronavirus situation in the 100 countries that the Hektomeron project involved.
We are currently in the post-production stage of our adventure, during which we are creating the Hektomeron documentary, a comprehensive material that will present the project’s journey, from its very beginning, from the preparations and the whole process of creation to the Hektomeron Day and the rest of our story, which is yet to be written