At 18, you’re a “big kid”. At 18, you can do anything. At 18, you’re allowed to be allowed anything. Your body is a furious noise that pierces your eardrums with the intensity of a battle cry. At 18, you feel you could explode into tens of reckless pieces of freedom. At 18, you tear down the wall of prohibitions and you shatter the taboos that branded your desires and fettered your expectations.
Not Allowed Under 18 is the embodiment of a rubber-band conflict. On one end are the children who want to decide for themselves and who, at a certain point, are overwhelmed by the weight of their own decisions; on the other end are the parents who oscillate between semi-maturity, temporary absence, and hyper-involvement in the life of their children. Children searching frantically for a path to follow and parents who only want what is best for their children. However, sometimes “the best” weighs on everyone. Each of them becomes the prisoner of a laden anguish.
Few things are truly forbidden to those below 18. And I’m speaking from experience. Prohibiting teenagers from smoking, drinking, and doing drugs is part of a normative act that should be obeyed, but those who think teenagers wait until they come of age to experiment with these are idealists. This is not the point; these three synapses are the clichés we conjure up when we label a young person as “reckless” – for behavior that is taken out of context increasingly often. Mihaela Mihailov’s text and Lenuș Moraru’s staging bring the three sins into discussion à poignet, but they do not overemphasize them. Their purpose is to dig deeper into the parents’ oral essayistic exercises, which pass by unheeded by the young delinquents, and thus reach the parents’ fundamental fears, which are reasonable, but incorrectly appealed to in the upbringing they give their children. Those biting retorts that have become the norm – “What do you know?”, “You’re not allowed to”, “Shut up!”, which parent-child communication is reduced to. A contemporary subject that is gladly received in the ever-expanding context of education.
Sabina Balan – LiterNet.ro – Who is talking to whom?
...I did not identify anything that was farfetched or unrealistic. The music is perfectly compatible with each sequence and personality. The lights are warm, and the stage design, constantly engaged and remodeled, could be your next home. The door that was involuntarily broken was rapidly integrated into the script and used as a pretext for disagreement and jokes. Many amusing lines leave you, as a spectator, puzzled – the stories behind them are not truly amusing, nor are they treated as such, but you are too involved in the speeches, the confusion, and the reactions not to laugh at them and at yourself, the one you were and the one you are.
Andra Pavel – Semne Bune – Not Allowed Under 18
...Lenuș Teodora Moraru turned Not Allowed Under 18, Mihaela Michailov’s play, into a text that broaches a clear topic: the double standard that parents apply to teenagers. A young woman of almost 18 years old (17 years, 3 months), rebellious and “unruly”, her parents divorced, is at odds with her father’s new girlfriend, herself a little older than 18. While the first is treated as a minor, the second is regarded as a woman. Lulu the child and Mona the lover/child give the father (and later on the mother as well) a chance to manifest a “well-meaning” hypocrisy. In practice, the double standard does exist, but neither of the adults can be accused of meaning any harm. On the other hand, both are susceptible to superficiality in their relationship with the child, to rigidity in their approaches, to an unintended egotism. They pose as good parents who have been overpowered by an unmanageable child. Could that be so? The law draws a clear line between mature and immature, but the law is only a construct. It is the parents who are making a mistake, who fail to register their child’s development into a young adult, and who see the child as no more than a responsibility. Lulu (the expressive and gifted Iulia Samson) is emotionally abandoned by her family, becomes a hostage of her parents’ mentalities, and her rebellion – sex, alcohol, drugs, truancy – is the answer to negative stimuli: the disintegration of her family, the open conflict between her parents, her demotion to second place in her parents’ lives (each of them wants to “start life anew”), the tense rapport between her and her parents etc. Essentially, the two generations have suspended every means of communication.
Oana Stoica – Dilema veche – Childhood died at dawn