Moon Over Buffalo in Moldova

We were very pleased and honored to learn that Moon Over Buffalo will be staged this fall in Romanian translation at the V. Alecsandri State Theatre in the city of Balti, Moldova, sponsored by the American Embassy in Moldova.

Director Neil Fleckman was kind enough to answer our questions about his production:

You directed Twentieth Century at the State Theatre of Moldova several years ago (pictured below). How did this experience influence your decision to direct another play by Ken Ludwig?

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In the fall of 2007 I staged Ken Ludwig's Twentieth Century for the National Theatre of Gagauzia, in the Gagauzia Autonomous Region of Moldova. Gagauzia is populated by ethnic Turks, since the time of the Ottoman Empire. Although there is a Gagauz dialect of Turkish, the production was in the Russian language. The project was supported by the American Embassy in Moldova, and the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The American Ambassador and other officials from the Embassy attended the premiere, at the invitation of the Governor of Gagauzia. A full house of local citizenry welcomed Twentieth Century with sustained appreciation, laughter, and applause. This prompted the Embassy to give Ken Ludwig the utmost priority, when seeking repertory for the current cultural project at the Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre in Balti, Moldova.

How do your actors respond to Ken's style of modern American comedy?

Virtually all the adult actors I cast in Moldova have professional training at state academies in both Moscow and Chisinau. The younger actors have spent four rigorous years at the Arts Academy in Chisinau. They are attuned to theatre in its multiple forms, and are plastic in their approach to creating characters and relationships onstage. Although none have played American comedies before, Ken Ludwig's work is so rich in human comedy, the actors are able to bridge the many miles between our countries. Especially as Ken sheds light on the virtues and foibles of theatre folk, performers in Moldova can identify parallels with their own experience, and individually connect to Ken's themes.

What do you find most exciting about directing Moon Over Buffalo for
Moldovan audiences?

When the American Government sponsors, and I direct, Moon Over Buffalo for the Moldovan public, we are creating a new audience for an American master playwright. This process of introduction, coupled with actors who are able to inhabit Ken's garments with such spontaneity, is highly rewarding to all of us who join in realizing a Ken Ludwig piece.