Located at Sibiu's City Hall, the photo exhibition entitled The Actor's Shadow was opened by theater critic Octavian Saiu, Here are his words of creative wisdom upon Lucien's work, words deeply appreciated by both the photographer and the attendants.
Sometimes the rain helps to create a sense of intimacy in an event in which we saw the risk to disperse all of the energies. In the open air it is also the case, so I think sometimes it's better to be together, when we have the feeling that outside is cold and unpleasant. And this is the feeling that this exhibition creates in a sense.
I am very pleased to be here at the opening of this event because I've been looking forward to it and I did not know what to expect. It is the most intimate photo exhibition I have ever seen and I am not exaggerating. It is not just about theater, it is not about certain shows and certain images from the shows, it is about a very personal approach in that experience. It is the eye of the photographer describing for us something that is at once material and immaterial which is the shadow.
There is a wonderful definition of the actor provided by Shakespeare - “The Actor is a Shadow.” It is somewhere between reality and fiction. And of course theater is about shadowing reality, it is not just transfiguring and imitating reality. It' s about providing a shadow of that reality following everywhere and being different in substance, in tone, in implication. For me it is incredibly touching to see shows that are familiar, shows that I have seen, some of them more than once, that I now discover from a completely different angle, from a completely different subjective perspective, that of Lucien Samaha.
It is so much more than just a photo exhibition, it is an art exhibition in the true sense of the term. For me there are certain images that are incredibly powerful, because they are theatrical in their own terms, not because they address something theatrical, but because they create their own theatricality. There is something profoundly tensional in some of them. There is a tension between the real image that once existed live on stage and what you see captured here. There is a tension between the character and the shadow. And there is ultimately a tension between you as a visitor and the rich incredible reality of this festival.
I am very grateful to Lucien Samaha for this spiritual artistic creative gift. And I would like to invite everybody from this festival to pay a visit and try to discover images gathered from last year's edition in your universe. I think this is your universe that incorporates fragments and shadows from the universes of so many artists that were present last year. It reminds me of a show that was iconic for the Romanian theater during communism. It was a show called The Shadow created by David Esrig, a Romanian born German theater maker, who used an actor that was incredibly versatile named Gheorghe Dinied. I never saw that show, I just saw some pictures, but I can tell you that those pictures were very pale and unconvincing. I really wish that show had the chance to be photographed by you, Lucien. It didn't happen, but I think that would have been a historical opportunity.
After his short but complex speech, Octavian Saiu kindly asked Lucien Samaha to share his thoughts on the experience with last night's edition of the International Theater Festival from Sibiu. Video on left.