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From Athens To London

Everybody Struggles With The Exposition

Young Hungarian Playwrights in Berlin

Tibor Solténszky the President of the Federation, a dramaturg

and trainer himself, spent a week in Berlin this May as a tutor

at the Festival of Young European Playwrights. The festival is

an Australian initiative to fight against the dominance of

European plays on their stages, to promote young Australian

playwrights. But the initiative quickly spread around the

world: every second year there is a world festival in Australia,

in the interim years there are continental festivals in Africa

and Europe. Germany facilitated the European festival second

time. The first such meeting was two years ago in Frankfurt,

this one was held parallel with the 19th Youth Theatre Festival

of Germany.

Thirty-five young playwrights from fourteen different

European countries met at the festival where they had a

chance to read plays of the others, have a group discussion on

their play and one-to-one chats with different tutors, drama

experts. In the international body of tutors you can find Carl

Miller from the Royal Court Theatre, London, Nirav Christoph

playwright and professor of writing from Amsterdam and

Alina Nelega Cadariu who organised the first Rumanian con-temporary

play festival.

Three young Hungarian playwrights: Vera Filó, Anna

Haraszti and Sándor Lajos who were the Hungarian partici-pants

in the festival have a conversation after returning home

with Tibor Solténszky and Judit Cziráki, who is the Interplay

contact person for Hungary.

The basic question is if the young playwrights got some-thing

useful to bring home. Each of the three young Hungari-an

ones think it was useful. Sándor Lajos felt it was good to

see that from Athens to London young playwrights struggle

with the same problems. Anna Haraszti also shares a similar

experience: she is one who writes in English and she met

other writers who use another language but their mother

tongue. Vera Filó got similar reactions to her play she had

received at home, so she feels she has to write a more „con-sumable“



The conversation touches the delicate issues if playwriting

can be taught at all, and if the existing terminology to speak

about plays is sufficient enough to describe new intentions,

new structures.

One of the most important outcomes of a festival is if the

plays begin to travel. Vera Filó’s play arouse the curiosity of

the Greek tutor who might stage it in Athens some time and a

Polish play might be first produced in Hungary. And of course,

many lasting friendships and professional contacts were made

in Berlin. The Polish delegation announced that the next Euro-pean

festival in year 2000 will be held in Poland.

Where Is The Arvisura?

An interview with István Somogyi

Arvisura means True Word. This is a name internationally

known for a Hungarian amateur-alternative theatre which up

to recently was based in Szkéné Theatre. This spring István

Somogyi, the founder of the company left the Szkéné with

some young members of the group and started to work in

Pinceszínház (Basement Theatre). He is asked by Szilárd Zala

about what happened and what will happen.

First István Somogyi tells the story how his young compa-ny

called Study Group became Arvisura, how he found the

name, more precisely, how the name found him. This word is

the title of a huge manuscript written by Zoltán Pál, who

became shaman during the World War II. He regularly fell

into trance and then put down what he was „dictated“ during

the trance. From these fragments we can read the story of the

Hungarians and their relatives in the past six thousand years.

István Somogyi was given some chapters of the script - at the

time they were rehearsing Master and Margarita - to try and

do something with it. He realised that this name was meant to

express what they thought about their work.

He left the majority of his actors because he wanted to

declare he wants to do spiritual theatre. It requires a different

attitude from the actors, an understanding, devotion that the

„old“ members did not want to take. It became clear when

they started to talk about the plans of the new performance

titled Madách. The spiritual actor is described by István Somo-gyi

as a priest who goes into his church every evening and

celebrates a mass even if nobody else is there.


He invited professional actors, too, to make the new per-formance.

He is open to other types of working methods, that

is why he is looking forward to work in the National Theatre

this spring.

As to the future, he is convinced that he has got a spe-cial

task to work on the underworld. For that purpose the

Basement Theatre - despite of its inconveniences - is the

proper place. He got plans with Macbeth, a play that is so

connected to that world of instincts. There is a problem with

the actors, too, they do not know anything about what is

under the waist, acting usually involves the face, the mind,

speech, hands. Nothing under or behind. So he has his task

for the future.

The Seventh Penny Is

Always Missing

The Térszínház was recently awarded by the Cultural Com-mittee

of the Budapest Municipality as the Best Alternative

Theatre of the year. On this occasion one of the big daily

papers published an interview with Hunor Bucz, the

founder and artistic director of the group since the 60s. We

publish the article with the courtesy of the journalist, László


Hunor Bucz answers the question why they are „alter-native“

with a joke: „Alternative theatre is the one which

can survive without money.“ Another question about the

differences of the early years and the last decade reveals

some similarities of the „soft dictatorship“ of the late com-munist

era and today’s dictatorship of money. No doubt,

this freedom is much better to live in, but if one can not

survive, either for political reasons or financial ones, it

makes almost no difference.

The company often plays at special locations: in churches,

church yards, streets, gardens, among castle ruins. At Advent

they visit famous persons, great contemporary writers like

Péter Esterházy, Miklós Mészöly, Sándor Weöres to create

special atmosphere, to make the holiday holy days. One of

their most successful play „The Boatman From The Moon“

has travelled 20.000 km and been seen by 30.000 specta-tors.

Their favourite is a Christmas mystery play already per-formed

150 times, which they intend to play at least once a

year at Christmas even if the company would cease.


Bucz never wanted to part of system, neither of the

political dictatorship of the past nor the dictatorship of the

present simplicity. But, as he says: „I do as long as I am

able to.“


We Need Music

Subjective notes on the festival

of musical theatres

Zsuzsanna Tóth attended the three day festival named

Scherzo which was again organised in Békéscsaba. She can

see the developments in this comparatively new genre in

amateur theatre - the first such festival was organised

three years ago, and now, the big number of applicants had

to be pre-selected. This had a positive effect on the overall

level of the presentations, most of the presentations met

the basic performance standards.

The author gives a detailed description of what she saw

at the festival, shortly comments on each performing com-pany.

The wide spectrum of amateur musical theatre

includes full length popular plays like the Jungle Book of

PS Rolling Theatre of Miskolc and even experimental pro-ductions

like that of ADY-ÁK from Debrecen. She saw good

choreography, quality team work - like in the Pizza Courier

of the Acting Studio of Csaba -, groups with long history

and newly formed ones, and of course, many high quality

solo performances. She names some promising young

actors and singers who deserve to be seen later on.

She is convinced that it is not enough to sing or dance

well, the quality of acting is the most important in musical

performances, too. This is the area where most of the

groups have to improve their work. Musical theatre is the

most difficult job one can take, because it is the most com-plex

one, it needs training, learning, rehearsing - but that

is where its beauty is.

She is looking forward to attend the next festivals and

asks the reader to cheer for and support the future devel-opment

of the amateur musical theatre in Hungary.


Report on Csurgó

The national final of student theatres’ competition

This year nineteen of more than a hundred applicant got to

Csurgó, this small town close to the Croatian border, where it

was the 16th final of student theatres. The jury: two young

professional directors and a very popular actor conducted the

discussions after each show even in the nights. The author

gives us a detailed list of all the productions and the prizes

and awards of the festival. He appreciates the group work

while does not forget about individual performance when

shortly analyses each production. He misses the university

theatres from the festival, there was only one from Veszprém.

The two winners of the main prizes, the Vicious Circle from

Kistarcsa and the VMG from Budapest will perform at the Kaz-incbarcika

festival in July.

Children played at Tatabánya

The 7th festival of children’s amateur theatre was organ-ised

in Tatabánya this year. The town and its theatre hosted

this festival the second time. Through a series of local and

regional festivals, from among more than a hundred appli-cants,

19 groups arrived at this year’s final, almost half of

them took part in it second time, some seem to be constant


The professional background organisation and technical

assistance resulted in an free and joyful atmosphere. The pro-ductions

reflected the all year round work of the children and

their teachers. Both articles in this volume appreciate the out-standing

performance of the students from Pápa, Western

Hungary who did a shortened version of The Tempest of

Shakespeare. Exciting images, good space, good timing -excellent

team work. Maybe the nicest and most joyful show

was that of the children group Drops from Balassagyarmat

titled Shrieks. Another outstanding moment of the festival

was the performance of Alföld Children’s Theatre with their

satirical fairy tale. Long lasting experience will be what the

Pemzli Stage did in the closing performance in the open air.

Though it is the final of a nation wide competition, this

festival is not a competition, it is about sharing, being togeth-


er. Besides the festival programme there were different enter-taining

and educational programmes for the children. Out-standing

group performances and directors were awarded.

But what is OM?

Odyssey of the Mind European Festival

21-26. April, The Netherlands

The Odyssey of the Mind was founded by Ed. D. Samuel

Micklus, professor of design at the Glassboro University in

1978. His aim was to help developing the creativity of

young people.

It became popular very soon and spread all over the

world. The winners of the national competitions take part in

the world final in the USA, the national seconds and some

invited teams take part in a European Festival.

Hungary has been a successful participant to OM for the

past six years. Five Hungarian groups (3 from Debrecen, 2

from Budapest) took part in the festival this April. Unfortu-nately

university students have not yet represented Hungary.

The OM is a competition based on very strict regulations,

while expecting initiative of the participants. The programme

tries to explore the possibilities of the individuals. It is com-posed

of different types of tasks, strategic problem identifica-tion,

spontaneous problem solving, mixed group work.

One of the most important aims of OM is the promotion of

the international inter personal co-operation, respecting each


Those who are interested in the future participation will

find the address of the national centre in this volume.

Without Score

Amateur theatre in Keszthely

László Bérczes was member of the jury in the theatre catego-ry

at Helikon Festival the end of April. (The Helikon Festival is

a biannual student cultural festival a Western Hungary.)

Besides reporting on some interesting performances he

saw, he shares with us his great dilemma. One evening he


happened to walk past a church crowded with people. He

went in - it was the competition of choirs in there. And sud-denly

he felt he got the answer on his most serious scruples of

the two days. He heard that one choir was better than the

other. Each of them trained, punctual, concentrated. Not a

bunch of youngsters who came together some days ago want-ing

to participate and hustily learned some songs. It would be

impossible because of the score - and the teacher. You can not

pretend you can read the score...

There are, of course, differences among them. But that is

above the level of being able to sing what is in the score.

This is what he did not find (or seldom found) among the

amateur theatres. They have the courage to go up the stage

and say something. The symptom reminds him of the case of

the football - each Hungarian claims to be an expert of it...

As a positive thinking teacher he could be happy to see so

many young people wanting to do theatre (42 theatre groups

took part in the festival). But... It is more difficult to sing with-out

scores. Maybe it is not worth trying it.

Memories Of Two Masters

On the death of György Uray

and Erzsébet Gál

Ildikó Lőkös, dramaturg and drama teacher remembers the

two outstanding figure of the Hungarian amateur-alternative

theatre, both passed recently.

She remembers the first occasion she met György Uray

some twenty years ago when he launched training for teach-ers

who wanted to make theatre with children. From this

workshop a strong group grew out that became the famous

Gödöllő Studio, lead by Erzsébet Gál. Both of them were

excellent teachers, sensitive artist, great leaders.

András László Nagy also remembers György Uray, who

was not only a great leader of his local theatre for more than

thirty years, but became of national importance as the found-ing

president of the Association of Free Theatres in 1995. As

such he did an enormous work to co-ordinate the adult ama-teur

theatre in Hungary, helped the revival of village the-atres,

organised the festivals of acting schools. We keep his

memory worthily if we continue what he began.


Scuola elementare del teatro

Tadeusz Kantor

Kantor, one of the greatest authentic theatre makers of

this century, lead a course in Italy, at the Paolo Grassi Theatre

Academy of Milan, for the third year students to give an

overview on the most important trends of the avantgardism.

The text of these lecture were then published in 1987 in Ital-ian

by the Ubulibri Publishing Co. They are translated into

Hungarian by Imre Katona.

In this volume we publish the last lesson of the series, in

which Kantor poetically speaks about the twentieth century,

about arts, about man, his soul and imagination.

We quote here the last paragraph:











And now I enter the small chamber of my imagination

and say:



And that’s it, nothing more.

My last advice:

„remember everything and forget about everything...“