writer / director / ARTivist
Julia Miles Theatre, Women's Project
“Saviana Stanescu’s “Aliens With Extraordinary Skills” is an enchanting piece of theater, a paean to New York (…)
The NEW YORK TIMES
“Saviana Stanescu introduces us to two remarkable and resilient young women in her new play Aliens with Extraordinary Skills”; in a year where the mainstream theatre season has been proclaimed by the so-called paper of record to be all about men, it's gratifying and valuable to find a smart and intriguing play like this one, not only created by females but also focused squarely on a pair of memorable heroines. (…)
In Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, Stanescu takes the audience into territory that will be uncharted for most of them: the immigrant experience is presented here with candor and without a shred of romanticism (save that tiny bit felt by Nadia for the place she's pinned all of her hopes on). Kudos to the Women's Project for sharing this surprising, smart, and unusual work with audiences.
Saviana Stanescu is walking a very narrow tightrope with Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, a play which deals with serious issues in a very lighthearted way. And yet, she's right to forgo a safety net: propelling herself into the void, Stanescu creates a beautiful, vibrant world, centered around two immigrants--clowns--who face deportation. (…)
WAXING WEST - April 2007, La MaMa Theatre
“Waxing West,” Saviana Stanescu’s intriguing and entertaining new play at La MaMa E.T.C., is an attempt at exorcism, and it is perhaps a hopeful sign that the Ceausescus are ridiculed here as bloodthirsty clowns." (...) Daniela is a free spirit. Certainly she, a sort of Holly Golightly of Bucharest, has foibles of her own (...) Marnye Young is captivating as Daniela, a resilient and resourceful young woman with a twinkle in her eye and a touch of larceny in her heart that are irresistible. Grant Neale and Alexis McGuinness are delightfully malevolent as the Ceausescus. The rest of the eight-member cast, under Benjamin Mosse’s brisk direction, are all good, especially Kathryn Kates as Daniela’s mother and Dan Shaked as her brother, Elvis.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Waxing West is a unique take on the immigrant experience -- specifically a Romanian woman's struggle to adapt to an American world. Playwright Saviana Stanescu has created a world gone awry, in which time lurches sideways and nightmares dominate reality. (...) Stanescu has created a nonlinear piece, taking great liberties with the time frame, and she draws no boundaries between the living and the dead. Still, despite its offbeat format, the story moves forward clearly, and family scenes are lifted from the real world. Stanescu has a gift for creating all-too-believable exchanges among the mother, son, and daughter in Bucharest and between the brother and sister in New York. Such scenes are funny, sharp, and often heartbreaking.
Which is why a play like Saviana Stanescu's Waxing West is so important. (...) The ensemble is excellent, with particularly memorable work coming from Grant Neale as Ceaucescu, Marnye Young as Daniela, and Dan Shaked and Kathryn Kates as her brother and mother. Stanescu's writing is remarkable, shifting non-linearly back and forth through the parts of Daniela's story in a way that resembles the random patterns of memory, and constantly rooted in a laughter-through-tears absurdism that reminds us that Ionesco was also a Romanian emigre. (Note: Stanescu's play Aurolac Blues is published in NYTE's anthology Plays and Playwrights 2006).
Myth America (a collage of pieces by
Arthur Kopit, Israel Horowitz, Theresa Rebeck, Matt Olmos, Jason Grote, Lloyd Suh, Saviana Stanescu)- April 2007, TBG Theatre
Matthew Paul Olmos and Saviana Stanescu look at America as Melting Pot, and their pieces (respectively, "La Mula" and "Flagstories") wound up interesting me the most. (...) Stanescu gives us two immigrants, one from the Dominican Republic, the other from Moldova, who both find that the American Dream is substantially less dreamy than they'd been led to believe. An undercurrent in both pieces is the idea, still so powerful, that America is a Land of Opportunity, notwithstanding all that's wrong with it: Olmos and Stanescu explore this paradox incisively.
YokastaS Redux - March 2005, La MaMa Theatre
With the Romanian writer Saviana Stanescu, and what he (Richard Schechner) calls "sampling" from Euripides, Sophocles and Seneca, he has created the mostly fascinating "YokastaS Redux," a retelling of the story from the perspective of the woman whose biggest moment in Sophocles's "Oedipus Rex" is her rush offstage to hang herself.
THE NEW YORK TIMES