Abstracts of No. 2023/1, Volume 12

Abstracts of No. 2023/1, Volume 12

THEATRE AND ECOLOGY

Una Chaudhuri: “There Must Be a Lot of Fish in That Lake”: Toward an Ecological Theater
In this seminal essay from 1994 Chaudhuri discusses the prospects of a possible ecological theater in the shadow of the then approaching millenium. Starting from the deconstruction of the shallow, anthropocentric environmentalism of the realist-humanist drama tradition, Chaudhuri calls for a new ecological theatre practice that participates in the discussion of the crisis of values faced by humanity. Instead of the metaphorical exploitation of nature that may misrepresent the actual ecological issues at hand, she proposes a programmatic resistance to the universalization and metaphorization of nature, so that the arts and humanities could play a role in raising awareness of the imminent ecological disaster.

Işıl Şahin Gülter: Beyond Scientific Facts: Climate Change Crisis in Earthquakes in London
In her study, Işıl Şahin Gülter goes beyond the notion of “ecodramaturgy” to question the extent to which general values can be rethought in the relationship between nature and culture. Drawing on the relationship between climate change theatre and climate science, the paper examines Mike Bartlett’s play Earthquakes in London (2010), in which the playwright offers the audience the opportunity to interact with the climate crisis beyond the scientific approach. In this respect, this study shows that theatre about climate change which appeals to the emotions through story and performance encourages audiences to take action against the climate crisis.

“We See Theatre as a Part of Everyday Life”. Kinga Kovács in Conversation with Enikő Györgyjakab and Csongor Köllő
The Shoshin Theatre Association has been organising residencies and workshops for different communities locally and internationally since 2014. It is a co-partner of several Erasmus+ projects, it has organised four editions of its KaravanAct travelling theatre festival, and the Out of the Frame international theatre forum celebrated its second edition last autumn. Since their inception, they have toured several venues in the countryside and currently operate at the ZIZ Arts and Social Area in Cluj-Napoca. Kinga Kovács interviewed Enikő Györgyjakab and Csongor Köllő, founding members of Shoshin, about its objectives, the projects it has implemented over the years, the use of environmental elements in theatre and the steps taken so far to create a network of rural theatres in Hungary.

Two Dramas of Chantal Bilodeau with an Introduction by Orsolya Marton
The work of the Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator Chantal Bilodeau focuses on the intersection of storytelling and performative awareness raising about the climate crisis. Her two short dramatic texts, It Starts With Me and Mother demonstrate the versatile possibilities of expression and show the performative force of climate change theatre in action.

STUDY

Dóra Schneller: The Relationship Between Theatre and Painting in Antonin Artaud’s Theatrical Writings and Letters
This paper discusses how the French theatre visionary, Antonin Artaud thought about painting and how this influenced the set design in his theatrical work. The author argues that Artaud’s sets reveal a realism that is played up to the extreme, almost surreal, despite the fact that the Alfred Jarry Theatre was able to operate on an extremely small budget. He later gave up this practice and, like Balinese theatre, tried to rediscover the concrete and physical meaning of the stage. The author interprets Artaud’s approach to art and his revolutionary vision through the set design of his most famous performance, The Cenci, as well as through his studies and writings.

CRITICISM

Lilla Turbuly: Identity Waltz
Lilla Turbuly’s review of the Oradea Szigligeti Theatre’s production of Magyarosaurus Dacus follows how director Gianina Cărbunariu and dramaturg Kinga Boros use the life story of adventurous paleontologist Baron Ferenc Nopcsa as the basis for a drama that reflects on the past and present of the Central and Eastern European region.

Kata Köllő: IFESZT Reflections
After a four-year hiatus, the Interethnic Theatre Festival (IFESZT), a travelling festival of Romanian minority (Hungarian, German, Jewish and Roma) theatres, was held again in November 2022 in Satu Mare. The main organiser of the event was again the Harag György Company and its partner, the Proscenium Foundation. The report by Kata Köllő stresses that the organisation of this event is important both because it gives the professionals present a comprehensive picture of minority theatre culture in Romania and because it provides a great opportunity for companies to present themselves to audiences in other cities at a time when, for financial and other reasons, the opportunity to do so is becoming increasingly rare. With a brief analysis of a few representative performances, the author convinces us that the recent IFEST has proved to be a truly meaningful event.

Gábor Beretvás: Passive Resonance
The International Theatre Festival Interferences 2022, organised by The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj, took place in Cluj-Napoca in November 2022. Shakespeare, Beckett and Ionesco were the focus of the eleven-day theatre festival. The predominance of productions linked to Cluj-Napoca gave the event a kind of Cluj mini-event rather than an international festival atmosphere. Gábor Beretvás’s report presents the latest edition of the festival in a thoroughly detailed manner, while providing a comprehensive overview of the event’s past and an analysis of its future potential.

BOOK REVIEW

Anna Holpár: A Roundabout Approach: In Twelve Voices About the Recent Past of Transylvanian Theatre
The collective volume Test – hatalom – intézmény (Body – Power – Institution) reviewed by Anna Holpár comprises scholarly articles written by a colourful group of researchers (teachers and doctoral students of the University of Arts Târgu-Mureș) associated with a project initiated by the two editors of the publication, Ildikó Ungvári Zrínyi and Beatrix Kricsfalusi. The research focused on the structural changes of the theatrical public sphere in Transylvania, exploring the ways in which the power structures of the accepted institutional model of East-European theatres reproduced the hierarchical structures of dictatorial one-party regimes. The multiplicity of voices and research methods in this niche-filling publication is appreciated by the reviewer as an eye-opening challenge.

Mónika Rancz: Chekhov Again?
Mónika Rancz reads and comments on the collection of Patrice Pavis’ plays translated into Hungarian by Éva Patkó, a volume published as part of the DramArt series started by UartPress in collaboration with the Lector Publishing House in order to promote contemporary plays by way of translation. Through the individual and comparative analysis of the three (post-)Chekhovian dramatic texts completed by one non-Chekhovian play written by the well-known theatre scholar, the reviewer sheds light not only on certain common dramaturgical features and motifs in the texts but also on the rich interpretation possibilities of the notion of translation.

Emese Kovács: “It Helps You to Live”
Etelka Bálint’s book Színházi nevelés Erdélyben (Theatre Education in Transylvania) is based on the author’s doctoral thesis and was published by UArtPress, the publishing house of the University of Arts Târgu-Mureș. In her review of the book, Emese Kovács points out that the author, being a teacher of Hungarian language and literature, focuses primarily on pedagogical aspects. Although the sections on the theatrical aspects are clear and detailed, the reviewer sometimes misses a more critical analysis, or does not always understand why a particular performance was included in the overview. The reviewer nevertheless welcomes the theatre education initiatives presented in the volume.

DRAMA

Elise Wilk: Feminin
The central character in Elise Wilk’s drama is a teenage schoolgirl who one day has naked photos of herself posted on the internet, which turns into a scandal. The circumstances of the incident and the nature of bullying at school are gradually explored by the characters around the girl, all of whom are women. At the same time, the individual voices of the sister, mother, aunt, friend, classmate, lawyer, policewoman, teacher, headmistress, and the individual voices associated with the case, outline the different experiences and problems of femininity the mosaic-like image of femininity emphasises the constructed nature of gender roles in society.

Wilk was commissioned to write the play by Gianina Cărbunariu, director of the Youth Theatre in Karachonka, and it was premiered in 2018, with the all-female cast being one of the criteria for the commission. The text, translated by Ferenc André, can be read in our magazine.