Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Daniel C. Gerould

Committee Members

Marvin Carlson

Judith Milhous

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


This study examines the plays and productions of three contemporary Romanian playwrights—Iosif Naghiu, Dumitru Radu Popescu, and Marin Sorescu—as they reflect the changing cultural policies and climate of Romania from 1968 to 1998. The three case studies demonstrate that, faced with harsh political censorship during the Ceausescu years and economic difficulties since the overthrow of communism in 1989, contemporary Romanian drama and theatre has nevertheless maintained an artistic merit and integrity deserving of wider acknowledgment. Romanian directors are well-known internationally but, paradoxically, the drama of Romania, despite close linguistic connections to Western Europe, has received far less attention than has been given to Polish or Czech drama, for example.

The work is organized into four chronological periods: (1) the "thaw" of 1968–1971, a time of experimentation with form and content when the three authors, already known for their poetry or fiction, first established their reputations as dramatists, (2) the cultural revolution of 1971, when previously acceptable or even acclaimed works were removed from production if not suitably optimistic or clearly advancing the socialist agenda, (3) the years of increasing censorship from 1972 to 1989, when the three authors developed diverse strategies for publishing and producing works of merit and integrity within the strictures of censorship, and (4) the 1989 revolution and its aftermath, when political discourse, previously encoded in literature and theatre, could be openly conducted, necessitating a new function for the theatres. Selected works by the three authors are described and analyzed, together with an overview of their political context, production history, and reception. In a concluding discussion, the three case studies are compared with the patterns seen in the careers of other contemporary Romanian playwrights and the outlook for continued achievements in Romanian drama is evaluated. Throughout the cycles of relaxation and constriction of artistic possibilities from 1968 to 1998, many Romanian playwrights have adapted to the new circumstances and found ways to preserve their artistry and honesty.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.