The Top Secret Violin Case
by Sofia Chapman
Audio play now available on Bandcamp! Click HERE
Starring Alana Hunt, Sasha Čuha, Kirri Büchler and Sofia Chapman
Supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants
Copyright Vardos and Sofia Chapman 2020
We acknowledge the Woi Wurrung people as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we recorded
Romania, 1970 something, in the grip of Ceaușescu's oppressive regime.
The Secret Police are gaining a toehold in the domestic sphere, examining every action of civilians and interrogating them to test their loyalties to the communist cause. Brad from Chicago arrives on the scene, hoping to escape his American closet to roam free in Romania, or so he thinks. When he decides to learn Romanian folk music he must negotiate band politics and musicians' egos as well as the Secret Police who may interrogate him on other issues if they catch him...
Alana Hunt - Ionel Stoican, an ambitious violinist
Sasha Čuha - Brad Spiro, an American music student
Kirri Büchler - Tony Covaci, a proud, exclusive contrabassist who flirts with the west
Sofia Chapman - Nicu Valentinu, an accordionist with a secret of his own
Dave Evans - News Reporter
Sofia Chapman - Mom / Mayor Gabi
Will Tait - Vasile, A Grade Securitate (Secret Police) operative
Dave Houston - Dumitru, B grade Securitate operative
Kirri Büchler - Lola, a woman of Paris
About the characters
Meet Brad, a music student from Chicago.
He arrives in Romania to learn folk music
but finds that civil liberties are being whittled down under a megalomaniac leader
and that the right to protest is denied.
What's that he's holding?
Why it's the Jumbo RE73, top of the line recording device.
Is he stealing cultural information,
or is it just the only way of learning anything?
Code Name: Fir Tree (Brad in Romanian).
Everyone must follow his lead on violin,
making each mistake seem intended and correct.
Is this where Ceaușescu got the idea to become a dictator in Romania?
Who is Ionel talking to, is he a recruit for the secret police?
He's actually pretty good on violin
and has won medals for his playing in the provinces,
but should Tony and Nicu steer clear?
Code name: Number One.
He's the pretty boy of the band, flirts with the west,
a risky undertaking in 1970's Romania, and tries to impress a certain woman of Paris
by publishing a much sought after samizdat tract, 'Of Freedom of Ferrets'.
Will Lola find him before the secret police do?
Code name: Ciuciu.
Nicu Valentinu is trying to survive and harmonise with everybody
in the threatening milieu of communist Romania whilst hiding his own secrets.
Here Nicu looks happy and gay,
although a browbeaten and repressed citizen under the Ceaușescu regime...
you may have noticed he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Code name: Squeezy.
Photos by Darren Gill.
The Top Secret Violin Case premiered at La Mama during Midsumma Festival in January 2020, with outside eye by Görkem Acaroğlu and lighting by Teri Steer. Thanks to our Pozible supporters and our sponsors Coffex.
'An extraordinary gleeful exploration of some dark political events that besieged Eastern European countries under communist regimes. This light-hearted approach does not belittle the issues but allows the audience to see how suspicion and paranoia pervaded all aspects of life in countries like Romania... a highly energetic and lively production that is full of unexpected and enchanting moments.'
Patricia Di Risio, Stage Whispers
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