Elise Wilk

In September 2013, my play “The Green Cat” had a reading in Rome, at Short Theatre Festival. It was the first reading in the programme Fabulamundi and the first time for one of my plays to travel outside Romania. In 2014, another reading organized by Fabulamundi followed, this time at Deutsches Theater Berlin. The play was also published in the anthology Scene 17 at Theater der Zeit publishing house. Before coming to Berlin, I received a phone call. It was from Henschel Schauspiel, one of the most important agencies in Germany, that does a very good job in promoting plays from Eastern Europe. “Every year we receive Scene, and every year we fall in love with a play from this anthology. This time, it was yours”, said the agent. Today, my plays are represented worldwide by Henschel Schauspiel. And only half a year after this phone call, in February 2015, I received an email from my agent. The news were incredible:  she wrote that the Green Cat will be produced by Schauspielhaus Zürich, maybe the most important theatre in Switzerland. And this was only the beginning. I often think that without Fabulamundi this beautiful journey would never have happened.

I believe that a theatre play must, first of all, tell a story. I’m interested in a theatre that is alive, actual, about here and now. I am particularly concerned about the way politics influences the private lives of people.
In theatre, the story will always exist. The only thing that changes through time is the way stories are told.  And because all stories have already been said, as a playwright I am permanently searching for new structures, for new ways to tell a story. For me, the architecture of a play is very important and I try to build up my texts like musical compositions in which each character has its own, distinct voice.

See below all the activities involving Elise Wilk in the frame of Fabulamundi.

Elise Wilk was born on July 29th, 1981, in Braşov, Romania. She studied Journalism at the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. She has an MA in Literature and Communication from the Transilvania-University in Braşov and an MA in Playwriting from the University of Arts in Târgu-Mureş.

In 2008, her first play, “It happened on a Thursday”, won the “dramAcum” playwriting contest, which aimed at discovering the most important texts of Romanian contemporary dramaturgy. Since then, her plays were staged in theatres from Romania and abroad and translated into several languages. In 2013, Elise Wilk won the “Irish Embassy Award for an emerging Romanian playwright” with her play “The green cat”. In 2014, she was selected in the Forum of Young European Playwrights from the Wiesbaden Theatre Bienale, the biggest theatre festival for contemporary plays in Europe. In the same year, Forbes Magazine Romania included her among the young trendsetters of the year. In 2015, Elise Wilk was one of the 4 playwrights to join the programme Hot Ink at the Lark Theatre in New York. Her plays “Paper airplanes” (winner of the Romanian Național Drama Prize în 2015) and „Crocodile” (winner of the Național Monodrama Playwriting Prize) are, together with „The green cat”, part of a trilogy about teenagers.

Elise Wilk translates theatre plays from German to Romanian. In 2017 she took part of the international theatre translating workshop at Mülheimer Theatertage (Germany).

Paper Planes

Three boys, three girls, the first day of school in tenth grade. Their parents are working in Italy or Spain, the teenagers are raised by relatives. Miki, the new one, gets a ball in the back- this is the harmless prelude of a series of humiliations and blackmailing by his classmates Bobo and Alex. Miki tries to seek refuge in his own imagination and in his friendship with Lena. Alex, the star of the girls, breaks up with Lena. From then on, he would rather kiss her best friend Laura. Growing up is not very easy: Andra thinks she’s too fat and decides not to leave the house anymore, Bobo is coping with the illness of his grandmother, Lena is abused by her sister’s boyfriend. On the last day of school, Miki enters the classroom all dressed in black with his uncle’s gun in the backpack.

“Paper Planes” is a short and painful excursion into the secret universe of adolescence: a jungle populated by burning planes, phosphorescent giraffes, violence, love and loneliness. The play tackles one of the least comfortable topics of today’s Romania: the stolen childhood of those forced to come of age in the absence of their parents, gone to seek work abroad. Last, but not least, “Paper planes” is a poetic, but uncompromising insight into the way in which a society so sick it keeps parents away from their children, is prone to destroy innocence and beautiful childhood dreams.

Characters: 6 (3w, 3 m)
Romanian Drama Prize, 2015
Translations available in: English, French, German, Hungarian, Greek.


David is 11. His father was chosen to be an astronaut and left earth in a wooden box some people buried in the ground. Some day he will be back. But why is David’s mother dating the shady man with the moustache? Why is David not allowed to have painted fingernails and to wear sparkling dresses? Why can’t he be a girl, like Simo, his best friend? And then there is Felix, a boy from school. Every time he appears, David has a strange feeling in the stomach. And there is also a small crocodile inside of David, that bites him in the heart every time he is sad. David experiences gender dysphoria- the belief that there is a mismatch between his biological sex and his gender identity.

According to the 2015 Eurobarometer on discrimination, Romanians have the lowest rate of approval for sexual minorities in the whole of the EU. In the same year, the Coalition for the Family submitted its initiative to constitutionally redefine the family as a “consensual marriage between a man and a woman”. Discrimination and bullying remain widespread in Romania.

Characters: 1 (m)
National Monodrama Prize, 2017.

ROOM 701
Four stories that all happen in the same hotel room, in four different nights. A middle-aged man uses the services of a professional male stripper, hoping to regain his wife. Two newly weds face a delicate problem during their wedding night. The assistant manager of a multinational company and her boss get together in the same room, by strange circumstances. A depressive chambermaid and a tabloid photographer accidentaly met on New Year’s Eve . Four stories about ordinary people living unusual moments . Four atypical love stories . Four stories about loneliness.
8 characters (4f, 4m)

Lena has an airplane tatooed on her neck. She dreams of being as rich as Rihanna and of buying the 10-floor apartment bock she lives in with her sister, because her mother is working in Italy. Miki dreams about conquering the world, like the actor from the poster abive his bed. But in reality, things are different: at school he is bullied by Alex and Bobo, at home his uncle strictly oversees his food ratio. On the roof of the apartment block, where he meets Lena sometimes, life seems easier. On the last page of her biology workbook, Laura writes down the names of every boy she kissed. Andra counts the calories in her meals and is in love with the English teacher. On the last day of school, a tragedy happens that no one anticipated.
6 characters (3m, 3 f)

The green cat
„The green cat” is the story of six teenagers and of a Saturday night that will change their lives forever. Written in „mockumentary” style, the play tells the story of a murder by interviewing all those that are involved. It talks about adolescence, an age when the fragility of emotional balance can easily generate tragedies. It’s about love, about friendship, but first of all it’s about the power of imagination, that helps us escape the grey world we are living in.
6 characters (2 m, 4 w)

Edition 2017-2020

gallery: Three productions of three texts by Romanian Fabulamundi’s playwrights at Short Theatre (Rome)

The thirteenth edition of Short Theatre festival hosted the stage presentations of three texts by three Romanian Fabulamundi's playwrights: from 11th to 15th September took place Leave the kids alone, a sound installation by VicoQuartoMazzini based on Elise Wilk's Paper Planes; on 12th September Mihaela Michailov's Migratory Birds Fly High was on stage, outcome of the residency held by [...]

Press review: Three Romanian Fabulamundi’s playwrights at Short Theatre (Rome)

This year, Short Theatre festival hosted the premieres of three texts by as many Romanian Fabulamundi Playwriting Europe's authors: from 11th to 15th September took place Leave the kids alone, a sound installation by the Italian company VicoQuartoMazzini based on Elise Wilk's Paper Planes; on 12th September Migratory Birds Fly High by Mihaela Michailov was on stage and the day after [...]

Press review: “Avioane de hartie” by Elise Wilk at Teatro Stabile (Genova)

From May 30 to June 9, 2018 Avioane de hartie by the Romanian author Elise Wilk has been performed at Teatro Stabile di Genova. The play is a co-production of PAV and Teatro Stabile di Genova. Here you can find an interview with the author of the text. You can also check the review by [...]

Journal: Elise Wilk about the stage presentation of her text at Theatre Ouvert

Coincidences, Alain Delon and labour migration In April, Fanny Chartres wrote me on Facebook. She was interested in translating my play Paper Planes into French. Shortly after that, I received an email from Caroline Marchilac, manager of the Theatre Ouvert in Paris. She was asking me if there is a French translation of Paper Planes. [...]