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At the end of January, Georges Banu (1943-2023), one of the biggest names in world’s theater criticism, died suddenly in Paris. His impressive creative oeuvre, in the international echo after his departure, is compared to Victor Hugo's thought about Balzac: In his life he had more works than days!
His author books on Peter Brook, Giorgio Strehler, Antoine Vitez, Ariana Mnushkin, as well as the biographies dedicated to Bertold Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski and Tadeusz Kantor, enter the inimitable anthological reaches of the creative odysseys of these legends of the world theater, that the spirit of Banu knew how to sublimate and leave them as a legacy for future generations. As the long-time president of the World Association of Theater Critics, he cruised all the meridians and in his endless pilgrimage, from the theaters of the world's capitals to the smallest theaters, between Africa and Asia.
His texts about contemporary directors Luc Bondi, Janis Kokos, Christoph Warlikowski, Patrice Chereau, Christian Lupa and others, were written with such a type of erudition that one of the world's most famous directors, Thomas Ostermeier, on the news of Georges Bunu's death, said: Georges Bunu had a unique and inimitable spirit. He accompanied us all with his criticism based on endless love and his character, and in his eyes we read the living archive of the European theater.
Born in Buzau, Romania, his entire academic career, together with his wife Monique Borie-Banu, was spent at the Sorbonne's Institute of Theater Studies and generations of critics and theater scholars, lovers of European and world theater, as former French culture minister Françoise Niessen, will bear the indelible traces of the spirit of Bunu.
Considering his origin, he was, and remained for his entire life, deeply connected with the Balkans and the terzors of its culture. On October 29, 2017 at the National Theater in Bucharest, he was among the seventeen Balkan creators and intellectuals, who founded the Academia Balkanica Europeana, as the first supranational organization that promotes the spiritual memory of the Balkans on a European pedestal.
Macedonia had the honor to welcome him as a guest at Europa Prima University in 2015 and at the International Theater Festival Actor of Europe in 2017, during the announcement of Ion Caramitru and Marcel Bozonnet as Actors of Europe.
Another curiosity connects Georges Banu with Macedonian culture. Shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Banu publishes the encyclopedic issue of the Art Press magazine, which gathers all the world's theater creators under the title: Theater between the past, present and future. In that thematic issue, the first text in French by the then young Macedonian playwright, living in Paris, Jordan Plevnes, was published, with the title: Prohibitions in the theater of the 20th century.
The irony of fate wanted the last text of Georges Bunu to be the foreword in the latest play by Jordan Plevnes, "Cyril and Methodius - who are you?", which will be published by the Parisian publisher "House of Europe and the Orient" in early spring 2023 .
The title of this preface is: "Jordan Plevnes as a planetary writer".
To him be eternal glory!