a dark fairy tale




“If you have ever looked at someone from a very different background and wondered if maybe they had it so much better (or worse) than you did, this play is for you.” - DISCOVER HOLLYWOOD / Rachel Flanning 

Graphic Design by Agnes Laszlo


Shari was born into a war-torn country, alone and fending for herself; Clara grew up in New York with seemingly the best of everything. These two very different characters, who led very different lives, undertake a surreal journey to meet in an explosive encounter and discover a shared secret from their past in TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale. In this dramedy written by award-winning playwright Saviana Stanescu, you'll piece together a life that was torn apart by war as the characters -- our alternate identities -- find themselves reunited after 30 years. With suspense and humor, the artists bring the eclectic imagery of the Los Angles Art Scene to Europe.

Through the exploration of identity TOYS ultimately asks what it means to belong.   

“Performances are compelling, if inscrutable by design. They also evolve over time. Ubrankovics’s lovely wide-eyed turn as the pampered American girl gradually turns into something more taut and urgent, while Skovran’s fierce Shari starts out angry but then reveals unexpected vulnerabilities and kindnesses. Overall TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale is a fascinatingly complex and not entirely comprehensible drama that actually leaves some vivid impressions for a long time after.” - Stage Raw / Paul Birchall

“When the world is entrenched in a state of political frenzy, it’s inevitable that theater will emphatically take to the stage, creating a new forum for debate. The story and performance carry the show. This is a story that needs to be told.” -Culture Spot LA / Natalie Kessel


TOYS: A Dark Fairy has been selected to perform at the INTERFERENCES International Theater Festival in Cluj Napoca

at the Hungarian Theater of Cluj, November 30th and December 1st.

For more info visit:

The tour follows with Budapest! We perform as a special program section of the Contemporary Drama Festival, the venue is the KATONA JOZSEF THEATER, SUFNI stage. Dates are December 9th at 7:15pm, 10th at 3pm and 7:15pm

For more info visit:


The Author

Saviana Stanescu


(playwright, poet, screenwriter, performer,teacher, ARTivist, journalist, curator)


Saviana Stanescu is a Romanian-born award-winning playwright. Her work has been widely presented internationally and in the US. 



Recent productions include  "Ants" at NJ Rep, “For a Barbarian Woman” (a co-production Fordham/EST), “Aliens with extraordinary skills” at Women’s Project (published by Samuel French), “Bechnya” at Hudson Theatre in LA,"Waxing West" (2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-length Script) at La MaMa Theatre, "Suspendida" and “Vicious Dogs on Premises” (with Witness Relocation) at Ontological Theatre, “Polanski Polanski” and “Aurolac Blues” at HERE Arts Center, “The E-Dating Project”at Strasberg Institute for Theatre&Film, and the site-specific "I want what you have" at the World Financial Center.


“Aliens with extraordinary skills” (Inmigrantes con Habilidades Extraordinarias) and “Final Countdown” (Cuenta Regresiva) ran for 8 months in Mexico City at Teatro La Capilla and Teatro El Milagro. “Bucharest Underground” won the 2007 Marulic Prize for Best European Radio-Drama.  In Stockholm, Sweden, Saviana’s play “White Embers” produced by Dramalabbet made it in the TOP 3 of Best Plays in 2008, and in NYC is published by Samuel French as one of their 2010 OOB festival winners.


































He has taught classes and workshops for actors and directors in Spain, the UK, Germany and France.From 2007 he serves as Head of Directing at the Theatre and Dance Department of the University of California, San Diego. From March 2006 to April 2008 (when the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj joined the UTE), he was an individual member of the Union of the Theatres of Europe. Founder in 2007 and artistic director of the Interferences International Theatre Festival in Cluj.



  • UNITER  (Romanian Theater Union)

- Nominated for Best Performance Award, 2011 (Leonce and Lena)
- Nominated to the Best Performance Award, 2005 (Waiting for Godot)
- Nominated to the Best Performance Award, 2003 (Jacques or the Obedience)
- Award for Excellence – 2002
- Best Director of the Year in Romania (1984–ATM, 1987–ATM, 1993, 1997 and 2008)
- Best Performance of the Year (1989, 1992, 2008)

  • Hevesi Sándor Prise - ITI (International Theatre Institute) Award (2011)

  • Ambassador of Hungarian Culture (2009)

  • Media Excellency Prize (2008)

  • International Festival of Short Plays(2013) - Best Directing

  • The Festival of the Romanian Comedy (2007) – Best Directing

  • Golden Apple Award (2007)

  • The Festival of the Romanian Dramaturgy (2004) – Best Directing

  • Szabadság Prize (2004)

  • Artist Meritorious of Hungary (2002)

  • The Distinction of the Romanian President (2000)

  • Critics' Award (ITI Romania, 1997)

  • “Interference”- Price of Romanian Culture Foundation (1997)

  • Best Performance of the Year in Yugoslavia (1990)

  • Best Foreign Performance of the Year in England (1993)

  • ”I. L. Caragiale" National Theatre Festival – Best Directing (1992, 1996)

  • Hungarian National Theatre Festival (1996) – Best Director

  • International Theatre Festival - Chişinău (1994)

       - Best Director
       - Best Performance

  • Theaterpreis, Stuttgart (1995)

  • Open Society Foundation Romania - Prize for Contemporary Arts theatre, 1998

  • Nomination for The Irish Times Award - 1999 for Waiting for Godot

  • Best First Feature Award, International Film Festival, Salerno, Italy, for Chinese Defence

The Director



Julia Ubrankovics


(creative, producer, visionaire, artist)

Gabor Tompa


(professor, artistic director, teacher, head of directing at UCSD, curator)

Tunde Skovran


(creative, producer, visionaire, artist)


He graduated in stage and film directing at the I.L. Caragiale Theatre and Film Academy in Bucharest in 1981 as a student of Liviu Ciulei, Mihai Dimiu, Cătălina Buzoianu, founders of the world-famous Romanian school of stage directing. Since 1981 Tompa has directed plays at the Cluj-Napoca Hungarian Theatre in Cluj-Napoca. In 1987 he became the artistic director of the theatre, after the Romanian Revolution of 1989 he became the managing director of the theatre as well. He has staged more the 80 plays and produced other 80 wordlwide.


Since 1989 he has been professor at the Szentgyörgyi István Theatre Academy in Târgu Mureş. He founded the Faculty of Dramatic Art in Cluj and has run its directing programme since 1991. From 1990–1995 he was head of directing at the Theatre Academy in Târgu Mureş; in 1991 he founded the Theatre and Drama Faculty in Cluj-Napoca. In 2005 he directed the M.A. program at Brunel University, London, UK. 




The award winning actress Tunde Skovran was born in Transylvania ( Romania). After graduating from the Dramatic Arts Department of Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, she joined the internationally acclaimed Hungarian State Theater of Cluj-Napoca, where she performed in over 30 productions during a span of 10 years. Her debut in film in 2013 ( "Puzzle") brought her two Best Actress in a Lead Role Awards at international film festivals in NYC and Buffalo. Focusing on her film career, the talented, exotic actress trained with various renown acting teachers in the US.



Julia Ubrankovics is an acclaimed film, television and theater actress. Her career covers 10+ years of work with 19 movies & shorts, 15 theater plays, radio plays and commercials. She was awarded Best Actress at the 40th Hungarian Film Week for her leading role in the film"Virtually a Virgin". In a recent theater success she performed the title role in Ibsen's “Hedda Gabler” in Hawaii, the show ran for 5 weeks with rave reviews.

Soon she will be seen as a recurring character on a new TV series “Children Of  The Machine”, directed by Marco Weber. 



Creative Assistance by AMELIA SBISA and MURIEL BOLAY


Costume Designer

Elisa Benzoni

fashion and costume designer




ELISA was born and raised in Italy, theater and the arts have always been in Elisa’s blood. 

That passion continued after moving to the United States where she received her BA in Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles and a MFA in Costume Design, at UC San Diego. She has worked on more than 10 productions in La Jolla and San Diego with notable directors Tom Dugdale and Kimberly Senior.



Kate Jopson

assistant director


KATE is a professional director and producer living in Los Angeles. In addition, to being the Experience Director for Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, Kate is also the Associate Artistic Director of Circle X Theatre Co. In 2014, she was named one of National Arts Strategy's Creative Community Fellows to develop a production of The Cherry Orchard in her rural hometown.  Directing Credits Include: A Willow Grows Aslant (La Jolla Playhouse—Without Walls Fest.), A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Doll House, Casagemas, Elizabeth I, Cry Old Kingdom (UCSD), The Hanging Odes (Theater Pub), Jesus, She Said (Marin Fringe Festival: Critic's Choice, Best Director). Assistant Directing Credits:  Danton's Death (Gabor Tompa: Seoul Arts Center, South Korea), Sideways (Des McAnuff: La Jolla Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Domenique Lozano: A.C.T), Pastures of Heaven (Jonathan Moscone: CalShakes) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream  (Aaron Posner: CalShakes), Lily’s Revenge (Erika Chong-Shuch: The Magic Theatre), Happy Days (Andrei Belgrader: Boston Court).  Kate was formerly Associate Artistic Director of the all-female Shakespeare  company Woman’s Will in the Bay Area. She has been a guest lecturer at UC San Diego. She holds a B.A in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an M.F.A in Directing from UC San Diego ('14).