Playwriting

Opheliamachine

Written as a response to Heiner Mueller’s HamletmachineOpheliamachine is a postmodern collage, pastiche, conglomeration of images that rule over our modern, global, virtual sexuality. “It offers an open debate on the pitfalls and the contradictions of the new globalized world – including pathological love, questionable values, conflicts, selfishness, lack of certainties, dissolution of identities, technological dependence.” “An Artaud-inspired pastiche with Ophelia presented as multiple characters, all exploring sexuality in a largely virtual, and globalized world” (Niki Tulk). The play premiered at City Garage Theatre Company in Santa Monica, CA. The production was critically acclaimed, receiving a slew of positive reviews from many LA-based media. Radio station KCRW (local NPR affiliate) picked Opheliamachine as “Thing to See” among “Five Things To Do” in LA.  Opheliamachine was translated and published in the Italian journal, Mimesis

“Difficult comedy of ideas and ideologies honestly stimulates with its perceptiveness . . . Romanska has a vision comprehensive enough to relish irony and pose deeper questions . . . Fiercely meditative mirror . . . Funny yet brutal . . . Don’t be afraid: It is OK, even purgative, to laugh.” — The Hollywood Reporter

“An uncompromising vision. . . . fiercely confrontational new play . . . As densely associative and enigmatic as Muller’s . . . Though Ophelia’s quest for self-determination teeters on the brink of inevitable annihilation, she ‘fails better’ (in Samuel Beckett’s sense). With few traditional theater points of reference to navigate by, her uncompromising journey is not for the intellectually incurious.” — Los Angeles Times

“A vigorous deconstruction of the feminine psyche, image and gender roles . . . Romanska’s script—heavy laden with dense imagery and symbolism—explores love, sex, violence, politics, class sensibilities, feminist aesthetics, the vacuities of mass culture and the timeless mystery of death. This is theater that’s not easily accessible and is devilishly bleak at times, but it’s not without shards of humor, and is relentlessly provocative and challenging.” — LA Weekly

“Stunning Piece of Performance Art . . . Brilliant writing of Magda Romanska takes us on a visionary exploration of love, politics and confused emotions . . . What I can say is, please, don’t miss this. Whether you fully comprehend it or just enjoy it, it is a fabulous treat for your psyche.” — Los Angeles Post

“Romanska gives us an unsettling and internally conflicted picture of global gender relations. She owes more to the tradition of astringently feminist, linguistically challenging playwriting which includes Sarah Kane and Elfriede Jelinek than she owes to Muller. A worthy heir to this legacy, Romanska carves out a space of critical resistance in Opheliamachine, a space where the ugliest and the most beautiful of our desires can exist, as they do in life, side by side, where the death-dealing and life-giving vie for dominance.” — Cultural Weekly

Opheliamachine explores the themes of femininity, power, sex, rage, love, and madness through a faceted portrayal of Ophelia. . . . If you’re looking for a play or a company that ties everything into neat little knots—this probably isn’t for you. If you’re willing to tackle a play as much as experience it—you won’t be disappointed you spent 60 minutes in their world.” — Radio KCRW (NPR)

The Life and Times of Stephen Hawking

The Life and Times of Stephen Hawking was developed at the Lark Theatre and subsequently adapted for zoom at the Roundabout Theatre as part of its Reverb Festival 2021. Based on Goethe’s text of “Doctor Faustus” and influenced by the dramaturgy of Adrienne Kennedy, Heiner Mueller, and Gertrude Stein, the play is a meditation on life, death, body, time, space, and pandemic. When Stephen Hawking makes a bargain with the devil, who pays the price?

“Among [the festival works] that I’d most like to see further developed are Magda Romanska’s The Life and Times of Stephen Hawking, a complex and eerily magnetic offering that includes scenes of cryptic dialogue between A.A. Brenner and Gregg Mozgala as Hawking and Mephistopheles in front of an enlarged black and white chessboard that seems a deliberate homage to early Ingmar Bergman, and another scene of silhouettes of people in wheelchairs being pushed in front of a backdrop of Seurat’s painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte, with a woman repeating the upbeat sentences that people with disabilities hear all the time — ‘You’re such an inspiration” — rending it with so many obnoxious variations that it becomes both comic and pointed.” — New York Theater

Life Is Elsewhere

Life is Elsewhere narrates the changes that pandemic inflicted on those of us for whom our homes became both places of confinement and places of freedom.  The title of the play is Life is Elsewhere. It comes from the quote by French Symbolist poet, Arthur Rimbaud: “True life is elsewhere. We are not in the world.” The idea that we can just pick up what we left off before the pandemic is cruel and unrealistic as families and friends of the dead will have to come to terms with their tragic losses. The play was recorded on Zoom and on Boston Commons as part of the Speakeasy Theatre Company’s Resilience project.

“Grief is always tricky. Sometimes it hits us immediately, while for others, it hits long after our loss. Whether a loved one, a job, or even the routines that made up our lives pre-pandemic, we grieved over what made up our former lives. How do we make space for that? Especially after more than a year? In Life is Elsewhere by Magda Romanska, loss and moving past that loss are made more complex while processing the revolving door of current events. — New England Theatre Geek

“The timely question of individual vs. mass death surfaces in Magda Romanska’s bleak Life Is Elsewhere, directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky and starring Darya Denisova as a seriously ill woman recording a video message to the love of her life. “I don’t want to die without you,” she says, even as the play suggests that is likely to be her fate.” — The Boston Globe

Dramaturgy

PERMADEATH

White Snake Projects

“A convincing and engaging tale of friendship and loss” – Boston Classical Review

Videogame Transmedia Opera
Composer: Dan Visconti
Creator and Librettist: Cerise Lim Jacobs
Co-Librettist: Pirate Epstein
Dramaturg: Cori Ellison
Transmedia Consultant: Magda Romanska

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

The Rosenbergs

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

In Penal Colony

Opera

“This was an incredibly powerful representation of the human experience.” – The Boston Musical Intelligencer
“The Rosenbergs is small in scope but large in ambition; it is an accomplished and moving work that demands attention.” – The Arts Fuse

Music: Joachim Holbek
Libretto: Rhea Leman
Directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“This newest production will be counted as another in [BLO’s] column of successes.” – Boston Globe
“Captivating … very well presented, very well sung.” – WGBH
“Unforgettable … a true triumph in the company’s history.” – South Shore Critic

Music: Philip Glass
Libretto: Rudolph Wurlitzer, Based on Franz Kafka
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

Boston Lyric Opera

The Love Potion

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

La Boheme

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

Don Giovanni

Opera

“The haunting BLO staging.” – The Wall Street Journal
“Boston Lyric Opera’s unbearably moving production.” – The New York Times
“BLO serves up a poignant, captivating performance of Frank Martin rarity.” – Boston Classical Review

Conductor: David Angus
Director: David Schweizer
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“One has to applaud Boston Lyric Opera for the boldness of its new production….New setting works intuitively.” – The Boston Globe
“Boston Lyric Opera Breathes New Life Into ‘La Bohème’.” – WBUR
“An impressive evocation of dramatic time and place.” – Boston Classical Review

Conductor: David Angus
Director: Rosetta Cucchi
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“Flagrantly delectable.” – South Shore Critic
Don Giovanni lite delights theater crowd.” – Boston Musical Intelligencer
“A powerful theatrical statement about betrayal and its consequences.” – Boston Theatre Wing
Hits “right to the heart of today’s important social issues.” – The Schiller Institute

Conductor: David Angus
Director: Emma Griffin
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

Boston Lyric Opera

La Traviata

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

Katya Kabanova

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

Lizzie Borden

Opera

“Heartfelt, touching.” – Boston Classical Review
“BLO truly delivered.” – The South Shore Critic
“Much beauty and pathos in the accomplished performances.” – The Boston Musical Intelligencer
“An honest, intimate Traviata.” – The Boston Globe
“It brought a spirited ovation from an appreciative house.” – The Edge

Conductor: Arthur Fagen
Director: Chas Rader-Shieber
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“A consistent, spare and stark vision of Janacek’s opera.” – Boston Classical Review
“Boston Lyric Opera continues its string of vital, provocative productions… gorgeous and intelligent production.” – Musical Intelligencer
“A musical experience that will be long remembered.” – South Shore Critic

Conductor: David Angus
Director: Tim Albery
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“The tale of Lizzie Borden is already pretty operatic, even before hitting the stage. It was the summer of 1892 when she was charged and later acquitted in the brutal axe murders of her father and stepmother in their Fall River home. Now Boston Lyric Opera is taking a new whack at the story, and WGBH arts editor Jared Bowen attended the opening.” – WGBH News

Based on a Scenario by Richard Plant
Realized by Todd Bashore and John Conklin
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

Boston Lyric Opera

I puritani

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

Rigoletto

Opera

Boston Lyric Opera

The Magic Flute

Opera

“It’s a visually striking production. The set, costumes, and color choices were a marvel.” – The Metrowest Daily News
“A vibrant and exciting production of Vincenzo Bellini’s last work,’ I Puritani.’ Overall, the opera is an outstanding success.” –The Boston Musical Intelligencer
“A dark, powerful I Puritani.” – The Boston Globe

Conductor: David Angus
Director: Crystal Manich
Dramatur: Magda Romanska

“Verdi’s aggressively tuneful crowd-pleaser is here returned to something closer to its original setting in and around the Ducal Court of 16th-century Mantua.” – The Boston Globe
“The most remarkable aspect of the production is the way the elements all worked together like a finely tuned engine.” – The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Conductor: Christopher Franklin
Director: Tomer Zvulvun
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

“This is a thoughtfully reimagined Magic Flute that, well staged and exquisitely sung and acted, probes the serious subtext of Mozart’s singspiel.” –The Boston Globe
“The BLO’s The Magic Flute is a momentous artistic manifestation with a strong appeal. You’ll relish the freshness of this interpretation.” – The MIT Tech Online

Conductor: David Angus
Director: Leon Major
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

Cafe Variations

Arts Emerson / Siti Company

“A superb and entertaining investigation into and celebration of love… Like watching a complicated romp at the café.” – Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
“There is a constant sense of longing in the air, but there is also an undercurrent of violence. The final tableau will break your heart.” – The Boston Globe

Written by Charles Mee
Director: Anne Bogart
Music and Lyrics: George and Ira Gershwin
Dramaturg: Magda Romanska

Yale Repertory Theatre

Iphegenia at Aulis

Theatre

Yale University Theatre

Macbeth

Theatre

Cornell University

A Raisin in the Sun

Theatre

Yale University Theatre

The Trial

Theatre

Cornell University

Hamlet

Theatre

Cornell University

Amadeus

Theatre