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Who Killed Szomna Grancsa? - Giuvlipen

Who Killed Szomna Grancsa?

Cine a omorât-o pe Szomna Grancsa?

The play tells the story of a young Roma girl who believes in the importance of education and does everything she can to keep going to school. But she encounters a lot of difficulties. What can a young student do if her family does not support her? How can she fight prejudices in the school every day? What is our responsibility for the youngsters and in providing equal opportunities for everyone when starting their lives and pursuing their studies? The performance gives an insight into a brave girl’s life who does everything she can for what she believes in, still she finally commits suicide. In the story nobody seems to understand what happened, and everyone has a different point of view. As valid as they all appear – through the characters’ voices – the opinions we hear about Szomna’s suicide can’t actually explain her last act. Everyone plays a plea of not guilty, but one can feel the transgressive side of their narrative. Something is missing and nobody can figure out what. Nevertheless, the play does not intend to give answers.
"...did you know that Szomna Grancsa was the first little Gypsy girl in Frumoasa village who dared to wear jeans? You didn’t know! Did you know that she was the first Gypsy girl in Frumoasa who dared to wear the sweaters and blouses received from charities? Did you know that since the age of nine she wasn’t allowed to walk alone on the street, anywhere, unaccompanied by a male family member? What kind of life is that? Did you know that she started a small revolution on her own? Yes, others followed her example. Other Roma children went to school in jeans and sweaters."


Writer:Mihai Lukács, Mihaela Drăgan, Zita Moldovan
based on the work by Akutagava Rjúnoszuke
Director:Mihai Lukács
Performer:Liana Ceterchi, Mihaela Drăgan, Zita Moldovan
Live Music: Elena Albu
Translation (English): Diana Manole
Translation (Hungarian): Kinga Júlia Király
Premiered:2017, Macaz Theater, Bucharest, Romania



The play follows the story of a 17-year-old Roma girl from Harghita County, who is found hanged in the penthouse of her parents. The story of Szomna cannot be unravelled by either the community or the law people, although each has an explanation of the girl's death. Why this gesture from a girl who, in the eyes of everyone, seemed to be happy? Moreover, Szomna was very religious, her gesture contradicts the beliefs that guided her up to this point throughout her life. She left a message on the wall before she died. What is the significance of it? The statements of those who met her seem to be all true, but they contradict each-other, leaving only the words of the first witness: "I do not understand". Everyone pleads "innocent," although they all live with a sense of guilt.

Inspired by the stories (In Grove and Roshomon) written by Rjúnosuke Akutagawa, and the information that has appeared in the press about this suicide case, the Giuvlipen Company builds the story of who Szomna Grancsa was step by step, in a show that uses the "Rashomon effect" to describe the circumstances in which the same event gives rise to some contradictory interpretations by those who have known her.

Focus scene


‘The vanguard of a Roma revolution, a fightback - through art and activism - after centuries of oppression.’

Reuters Found

‘The women of the Roma feminist theatre company Giuvlipen give voice to a vibrant community surrounded by myth and prejudice.’


‘The stake of the show is not to give an answer to an individual's guilt, but to generate questions about a collapsing social system. Three things favor Szomna's suicide: precariousness, lack of education and discrimination, all packaged in goodwill.’

Dilema Veche

Materials to read

excerpts from the play
In case you would like to request availability to the full play and/or the full video about the performance, write an email to info@romaheroes.org and describe the aim of your request!

photo credits

All rights reserved

*left -> right* 

1: ©Giuvlipen_Mihaela Drăgan, Zita Moldovan

2: ©Giuvlipen_Liana Ceterchi

3: ©Giuvlipen_Mihaela Drăgan, Zita Moldovan

4: ©Giuvlipen_Liana Ceterchi

5: ©Giuvlipen_Zita Moldovan, Mihaela Drăgan