Required poems of Hungarian literature
What does King Edward, the King of England do?
What is something no one should undertake lightly?
What happens to the hawthorn on an autumn night?
We all know the answers. If there is some common ground among us, this is it! How lovely! There is an anthology of poems in our heads. Some people know less, some know plenty, but the core of this knowledge consists of the same verses. Time makes it rusty. Stanzas, lines and adverbs all fall away, sometimes even the name of the poet. But we still stubbornly persist. That anthology lives on in ourselves, somewhere deep inside. It is at the point where we start from scratch, which determines our attitude towards our mother tongue. Some people continuously expand upon it, others let it fade away. Yet, by all means, this is an ember that can rekindle a fire, if given air. Let’s try. Let’s dedicate the stage to the communal memory of poetry.
The performance cites 100 well-known Hungarian poems.
Premiere: 11 April, 2014
Selected by Szabolcs Várady
Edited by Pál Mácsai
Set and costumes by Lili Izsák
Music by Árpád Kákonyi and Tamás Matkó
Stage manager: Tamás Gergely Berta
Prompter: Zita Kanizsay
Assistant to the director: Lotti Nagy and Ariadne Érdi
Directed by Pál Mácsai
The white-washed porch of a peasant house, a bench and a few chairs in front – this is Lili Izsák’s set. Árpád Kákonyi contributes rhythm and music to the production. The rest is just actors and poetry. There is no declamation. After all, this is not a rally where the aim is to fire up the audience. Quite the contrary, we in the auditorium are relaxed and receptive, conducting our separate, inner journeys, linked only by the common act of listening. In this state of casual curiosity, we can suddenly realize what the “Anthem” is really about when Pál Mácsai recites all the stanzas. We can hear the bitterness in the interpretation of “Summons”, as told by Imre Csuja (one of the most perceptive presenters), while he grasps the hand of Éva Kerekes (seated beside him) so as not to be alone perhaps with so much suffering on the “holy peaks of Árpád”, our country’s founder.
“How is this evening more than an event?” I wonder. If it is to be continued, how will it find its place in the Örkény repertoire beside Liliomfi and Hamlet? Well, just as the actors and the entire company occasionally stand beside each other, these poems engage one another and speak about the very thing that theatre at its best always addresses – how do we live here together? That is real drama, is it not?
Judit Csáki / Népszabadság
by Gergő Nagy