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Remembering the Good Old Days

by István Eörsi


Studio (22, Asbóth St.)

Prison monologue

Adapted from the novel of István Eörsi by the same name, the text edited by: László Bagossy and Barbara Ari-Nagy

In the role of István Eörsi: István Znamenák

Design: Lili Izsák
Dramaturg: Barbara Ari-Nagy

Music: Tamás Matkó
Prompter: Éva Horváth
Assistant to the director: Péter Tóth

Director: Csaba Polgár

Special thanks to: Emőke Zsigmond, István Ficza, Kriszta Bíró, Tünde Kókai, Anna Sütő, Nóra Diána Takács, Zsolt Máthé, Zsolt Nagy, Milán Vajda, János Mazura

“I spent at least a decade trying to convince myself to write this book. Suddenly I just felt – in the autumn of 1986 – that if I continued to delay, the material would slip through my fingers. The dead, whom I had feared to revisit, announced that their patience had run out. Already – or, at the time, so it seemed – the writing was not an act of courage. From a literary point of view, one could only rejoice at that. Courage is not an aesthetic category, and historic periods when political risk-taking is judged as artistic merit are to be pitied.”

For his role in the revolution, in 1957, István Eörsi was sentenced to five years and subsequently eight years in jail. He recounts the years of his captivity in his book entitled Remembering the Good Old Days, which not only evokes his everyday life as a prisoner with bitter irony, but also sternly criticises the collective forgetfulness that occurred outside the prison walls during the Kádár-Era “consolidation”. With the aid of this rivetingly honest text, our production addresses this period, its well-known figures and unknown supporting players, as well as this testimony of a witness whose candour is painfully absent in our current public discourse.

Premiere:  October 21, 2106
With the support of Cafe Budapest
Press opening: October 22, 2016
Special opening: October 23, 2016

The performance runs without an intermission. Duration: cca. 85 minutes

LATECOMERS cannot be admitted

The program was supported by  
the Memorial Committee for 1956 Revolution

1956 emlekev logo cmyk

The performance was supported by the Municipality of Budapest 
BP teljes


“The production’s important virtue is that it provides an alternative to the dominant ideology, which appears more and more like a hegemony. It presents the Revolution of 1956 – an exceptionally colourful and therefore controversial topic of intellectual battles to this day – from an aspect that is increasingly crowded out or swept aside. Thus, it lends shading to the picture which we receive nowadays of these events – sometimes glossed over, sometimes plastered in black and white –which occurred sixty years ago. Similarly, it draws renewed attention to István Eörsi, who died barely more than ten years ago, and his prison writings, an outstanding work of Hungarian autobiography.”
Csaba B. Kiss, 7 óra 7

“In his performance of Remembering the Good Old Days, based on István Eörsi’s autobiographical volume, István Znamenák portrays Eörsi. And this brings about a paradox. Accordingly, director Csaba Polgár chooses the monologue format to convey the single narrative when bringing to the stage the events of 1956, which are not recalled consistently to this day. Just how jarring will it be to present us this slippery history confined to the perceptions of a single awareness? For my part, most interesting was whether the performance would be able to speak to those who had no knowledge of Eörsi. (...) The monologue, as edited by László Bagossy and Barbara Ari-Nagy, is a genuine stage text. Primarily, the viewer’s experience is that of radical sincerity. The delivery is intellectually objective and troubling, since it does not try to hide its own flaws, making spectators blush through gales of laughter. It is as though the staging of heroism requires the recognition of flaws, the hidden contradiction in all heroes. From any given time, it is worthwhile to preserve the memory of these stories, precisely because they are not typical.”
Noémi Herczog, Élet és Irodalom



Poster design by Gergő Nagy

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