Abstracts of No. 2023/4, Volume 12

Abstracts of No. 2023/4, Volume 12

FOOD AND THEATRE À LA CARTE

“Why Cheap Art” Manifesto by Bread and Puppet Theater
The Bread & Puppet Theater is a politically radical puppet theater, and was established in the early sixties by Peter Schumann, a sculptor, dancer and baker emigrated from Germany, and his wife Elka. It was active during the Vietnam War in anti-war protests, primarily in New York City, many people remember it as central to the political spectacle of the time, as its enormous puppets (often ten to fifteen feet tall) were a fixture of many demonstrations.

In 1974 Bread & Puppet moved to a farm in Glover in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The farm is home to a cow, several pigs, chickens, and puppeteers, as well as indoor and outdoor performance spaces, a printshop, a store, and a large museum showcasing over four decades of the company’s work.

The Bread & Puppet Theater operates under what they call the “Why Cheap Art” Manifesto. This a principle that states art should be accessible to the public: productions are free or paid for by donation, and related art is for sale “for very little money”.

Kinga Kovács: “…There Are a Thousand Moments”. An Interview With Júlia Laczó
Júlia Laczó has two seemingly different professions. Besides her acting career, since 2013, she has been working also as a chef. She could be seen cooking on various occasions, in performances and joint events. Kinga Kovács was also curious to know how these two professions work together, how permeable the boundaries are between them, and what experience can be transferred from one to the other.

Kriszta Kedves: “My Performative Language Involves Putting My Soul on Display.” An Interview With Noémi Szántusz (Noya)
This interview introduces Noémi Noya Szántusz, performer and actor, with whom Kriszta Kedves initiated a discussion primarily focusing on her performance entitled A Nagy Kacsashow (The Big Duck Show). However, Noya’s academic journey, her current performances and future plans are also discussed in the interview.

Zsolt Csepei: CCTV
I’m here in the corner, too, and I am the wisest of them all. Discreetly watching the hustle and bustle, imagining the noise, reading lips. What about them? Who’s dressed up nice and who comfortably, who wears glasses, who dons a hairstyle like Franz Liszt, who’s alone, who’s with a partner, who’s nervous, who’s relaxed, who’s thirsty, who’s waiting for food, who’s here “just for a minute” and who all the time, who’s awake till morning, who’s who in the Transylvanian theatre buffets?

Our buffet Is…
What is on the Menu in the Hungarian Theatres of Romania
Let us introduce our theatre buffets. We made a survey among the Hungarian theatre companies in Romania asking a few questions about what employees and theatre-goers can quench their thirst or appetite with, in addition to the intellectual nourishment provided by theatre performances.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: Making Sense of Food in Performance. The Table and the Stage (Translated by Kinga Kovács)
What would theatre history look like if it were to be written backwards from the Futurist banquets and Dali dinners and performance art? Canonical histories of theatre take as their point of departure that which counts as theatre in the modern period – namely, theatre as an autonomous art form – and search for its “origins” in fused art forms. Central to the notion of theatre as an independent art are plays, and as an indication of the maturing of this form, a dedicated architecture or theatre (literally a place of seeing). Canonical theatre histories are written with the aim of understanding how modern theatre came to be. Understandably, the search is for corollaries in the past. Thus, Oscar G. Brockett’s History of Theatre is a history of drama and its performance: it does not view courtly banquets, tournaments, royal entries, and street pageants as performance genres in their own right but as occasions for plays and playlets. Such histories attend not to the fusion but to the seeds of what would become an independent art form called theatre.

Noémi Csaholczi: Syrup
The scene entitled Syrup is a punchy story based on a real-life situation, in which a Szekler family discusses what kind of syrup each of them likes. The scene was created as an exercise in playwriting at a master’s course of the Târgu Mureș University of Arts.

CRITICISM

Orsolya Marton: At Home in the Theatre
(14th dráMA Contemporary Theatre Meeting in Odorheiu Secuiesc)
Orsolya Marton reports on the 14th dráMA festival, which, in keeping with its mission, aims to draw attention to the staging of contemporary texts often overshadowed in repertoires by the representations of classics. This year, the motto “Home… are you?!” was the common theme of the performances, which mostly focused on belonging and the need for community. Over 6 days, festival-goers had the opportunity to see 13 main stage, studio or pub theatre performances, followed again by professional discussions this year.

Kincső Szakács: A Theatre Festival for Teenagers? Of Course!
(8th Children and Youth Theatre Meeting “Lurkó”)
The 8th Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting “Lurkó” was organised again last year after a gap of several years. This year, the first part of the 8th edition of the “Lurkó” Festival, held in September, was aimed to appeal to teenagers. The report by Kincső Szakács analyses the productions seen, grouping them in three unequal, subjective categories: classroom performances, educational performances and the stand-alone musical standup entitled 1v1.

Zsuzsanna István: The Title Is the Children’s Loud Puppet-Theatre Shout That Opened the Fux Festival in Oradea
(6th Fux Fest – Transylvanian Hungarian Professional Puppet Theatre Festival, Oradea)
Every two years, the Lilliput Company of the Szigligeti Theatre in Oradea organises the Festival of Transylvanian Hungarian Professional Puppet Theatres bearing the name Fux Fest. The festival, with various techniques and themes. Zsuzsanna István interprets them according to four criteria: musicality, the staging of old and new tales, the appeal to teenagers and interactivity.

Leonidasz Purosz: Sofia Mix, with Extras
(International Theatre Festival “Alter-Ego”, Sofia)
The “Alter-Ego” Theatre Festival, having a fifteen-year long history in Sofia, welcomes primarily non-verbal or English-language productions from all over the world. Leonidasz Purosz spent two months in Bulgaria as a volunteer for the organiser, the Alma Alter Theatre Workshop, and, in addition to his organisational duties, wrote reviews of all ten performances participating in the festival.

Katalin Gyürky: We Belong Together… or We Don’t
(14th Colloquium of National Minorities’ Theatres in Miercurea Ciuc)
This year, the Figura Studio Theatre of Gheorgheni organised the 14th edition of the Colloquium of National Minorities’ Theatres between 18 and 31 October 2023. Katalin Gyürky visited one of the “outsourced” venues of the festival in Miercurea Ciuc, and reports on four productions that may at first seem disparate in style and genre, but prove to be interlinkable in many ways.

Tünde Kocsis: Entitled to Exist
(Beyond the Golden Hour. A co-production of the Reactor cultural centre and the Waiting Room Project, Cluj-Napoca)
Beyond the Golden Hour, a new piece in the series of Transylvanian theatre productions that explore Hungarian-Romanian relations after the regime change, is not the first, nor the last theatre project that dissects the issue of Hungarian and Romanian national identity. Tünde Kocsis considers this a timely topic since, in her view, there is hardly any adult in our world, regardless of nationality, who has not experienced the fears associated with belonging to a minority.

DRAMA

Gabriel Sandu: I Forgot (Translated by Tímea-Vanda Nagyosy)
“I forgot”, a fictionalisation of a real case inspired by the story of a kid from a small city in Romania, Galați, who was isolated by his mother in a garage and raised to believe that he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. A story about memory, affection, about things that we thought we forgot, but that always follow us. A coming of age that starts from Galați, arrives in Berlin and makes one last stop in Bucharest. A story about our need to be significant, about the little everyday messianism, about what is left after the first love, about the power of the projections of others on our life.