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The Story of the Panda Bears

Told by a Saxophonist Who Has a Girlfriend in  Frankfurt

A man wakes up next to a woman whose name he does not remember; nor does he remember where and how they met, their journey to his apartment or what they did after they got there. The woman is happy to explain, and her recollection of the facts makes him plead with her to stay. She promises to return. He promises to wait for her.

“Nine nights. Fine. But after that, you ask for nothing more.”

Bound by a promise and a bottle of wine, they discover that sometimes all you need to
 approach perfection are nine nights and a broken alarm clock.

With an international cast and crew – Romanian, Icelandic, German, Danish and Chilean – that connected over Visniec’s writing, the performance highlights the unifying force of theatre and its power to become a common language that exceeds any borders.

“Visniec writes charming, nonsugary dialogue, utilizing that rare element in highly romanticized storytelling: silence.”     Tim Lowery: Time Out Chicago

“This play is very dear to me because I try to talk about love, the mystery of love, reincarnation through love, and initiation… about many things that we don’t think about often enough.”    Matei Visniec

Matéi Visniec was born in Romania in 1956. From an early age, he discovered literature as a space dedicated to freedom. He draws his strengths from Kafka, Dostoevsky, Poe, Lautréamont. He loves the Surrealists, the Dadaists, absurd and grotesque theatre, surrealist poetry, fantastic literature, magical realism, and even the realist Anglo-Saxon theatre.
Visniec studied philosophy at Bucharest University and became an active member of the so-called Eighties Generation who left a clear stamp on Romanian literature. He believes in cultural resistance, and in literature’s capacity to demolish totalitarianism. Above all, Matéi Visniec believes that theatre and poetry can denounce manipulation through “great ideas”, as well as brainwashing through ideology.
Before 1987 Matéi Visniec had made a name for himself in Romania with his clear, lucid, bitter poetry. Starting with 1977, he wrote drama; the plays were much circulated in the literary milieus but were barred from staging. In September 1987, Visniec left Romania for France, where he was granted political asylum. He started writing in French and began working for Radio France Internationale.
At present, Visniec has had many of his works staged in France, and some of his plays written in French are published. His plays have been staged in more than 20 countries. In Romania, after the fall of Communism, Matéi Visniec has become one of the most frequently performed authors.
Originally written in French, The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt has been translated into many languages (German, Icelandic, Arabic, Japanese etc) and has been performed all around the world.
Photo Matéi Visniec: Andra Badulesco / all other photos: Hani Hamza


Two women face the truth of the dissolution of the European egalitarian dream.

Everywhere they look things are not equal; in the taxi at the end of the night, on the bench in the middle of a village, in the congregation, in the boardroom, in the home. They tell stories of abortion, sing about violence and dance about menopause. They remember the lies they were told as children and question the hope that things might be different for future generations.

The performance uses puppetry, comedy, song, text and movement to create a hybrid, humorous and powerful perspective on being a woman in Europe today.

“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve” – Timothy 2:1

————-> HEARTBURN show trailer

Performed in English, Polish and Spanish with English surtitles

The Workshop

Your Story: A workshop for everyone who has ever identified as a woman – suitable for +15 – led by British visual artist Jo Johnston and the Heartburn cast.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, January 28 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Attendance is free of charge, but you must register in advance by sending an email to

After seeing the performance of Heartburn, we invite you to attend a free follow up creative workshop where you will work with members of the artistic team to create “story collages” of your experiences and feelings.

The new works of art created in the in workshop can then be uploaded to our website

I Love EU?

A Performative Examination of the EU

Can the European Union be an inspiration for a peaceful postnational world? Is it the non plus ultra expression of what the continent learned from two world wars? Or is it an incredibly strained construct that falls apart at the first signs of a crisis? How does a Eurocentric view differ from that of the increasing number of people forced to leave their homelands and gather at the borders of Europe and the EU in hopes of survival and a dignified existence?

Four performers explore these questions using 50 interviews conducted with EU citizens and non-EU citizens to create an open and interactive evening of theater.

In English and other languages