The Hungarian Brother is Watching You
Budapest, Hungary, 1980, Eastern bloc. The Socialist Workers’ Party is in power, and everyday life has to find its way among a police state, spies, self-publishing dissidents and a culture that is not willing to be vanquished by communist censorship. Our Secrets by the Béla Pintér and Company gives us a bittersweet look on those yellowed days with a very peculiar style, both biting and tender, and an astounding cast. The 52nd Dimitria Festival is up and running.
Budapest, Ungheria, 1980, Blocco orientale. Il Partito Socialista Operaio Ungherese è al potere e la vita di tutti i giorni deve scendere a compromessi con la polizia di stato, le spie, i dissidenti con velleità tipografiche e una cultura che non ha alcuna intenzione di lasciarsi conquistare dalla censura comunista. Our Secrets, della compagnia Béla Pintér and Company, porta sulla scena uno sguardo dolceamaro su quest’epoca ingiallita, sfoggiando uno stile caustico e tenero e un cast invidiabile. Il 52° Festival Dimitria va avanti a tutta forza.
Βουδαπέστη, Ουγγαρία, 1980, Ανατολικό Μπλοκ. Το Σοσιαλιστικό Εργατικό Κόμμα βρίσκεται στην εξουσία και η καθημερινή ζωή πρέπει να βρει το δρόμο της ανάμεσα σε ένα αστυνομικό κράτος, κατασκόπους, αντιφρονούντες που εκδιδούν τις αντιδράσεις τους και μια κουλτούρα που δεν είναι διατεθειμένη να καταστραφεί από την κομμουνιστική λογοκρισία. Το έργο Our Secrets από την Béla Pintér and Company μας δίνει μια γλυκόπικρη ματιά σε αυτές τις κιτρινισμένες μέρες με ένα πολύ περίεργο ύφος, τόσο καυστικός όσο και τρυφερό, μαζί με έναν εκπληκτικό θίασο. Το 52ο Φεστιβάλ Δημητρίων έιναι σε πλήρη λειτουργία.
Few theatrical plays manage to represent the humanity of our shared History as well as Béla Pintér and Company’s Our Secrets does. It is oft easy to chance upon an historical representation of this or that event, but seldom do we indulge on the visceral components that get so easily crunched by the huge gears of fate. And yet, sometimes, someone, puts himself out to stop the relentless ticking of the clock and shine a light on us, the people, the protagonists of that other history, the one that does not end up in the textbooks, but whose importance is paramount to define our present and shape what’s to come.
«Our performance seeks to, by any chance, find an answer to why none of the governments, whether left- or right-wing, have made the list of the Communists’ informers publicly known since the cessation of the Communist rule in Hungary. The stage play introduces a fictitious story to present an alleged way of how those informers may have been recruited and lived their lives». This being the context, director and actor Béla Pintér brings to the Labattoir’s stage a multi-layered tragicomedy that splendidly blends folklore with dissidence and morality with individual needs. Everything, from the omnidirectional microphones to the massive tape-recorder on the background, is carefully used to create a gripping atmosphere that owes a lot to the cinema. As a matter of fact, both lightings and music – the latter live and flawless – are functional to the development of characters and plot which, right from the start, sets up a haunting pace that leaves no space for mistakes.
Singing, dancing, moving and acting at the top of their game, Zoltán Friedenthal, Eszter Csákányi, Hella Roszik, Éva Enyedi, Zsófia Szamosi, Béla Pintér, Szabolcs Thuróczy, Angéla Stefanovics, György Póta and Gábor Pelva fill the stage at all time, highlighting the total lack of privacy of a Socialist police state. Indeed, the clash between individuals and the political structure of a country is one of the themes analysed by the company through the story of István Balla Bán, a songwriter who likes to research Romanian folk songs (from the times of the Hungarian Kingdom, when Transylvania belonged to its territories) and indulge on some unorthodox forms of love with his very nice and very under-age step-daughter. The “secret”, one of the many of the play, is soon discovered by the Party’s prying ears, which promptly use the little inclination (wondrously forgivable, if compared to other much more serious “crimes”) to blackmail and exploit him in an attempt to uncover a network of troublesome individuals.
The play works on many levels throughout its 115 minutes, showing how there’s really no single way to tell a story, but rather a series of points of view as copious as the human beings involved in it. It is indeed wonderful to see how even the most callous of apparatchiks has a soft and pathetic spot, and how the “good guys” can undertake the worst actions, too. It is, after all, a human story.
Béla Pintér’s eye is uncompromising and manages to portray with honesty and precision the ghosts of an age that has been easily forgotten but that still haunts its descendants with its secrets or, better said, Our Secrets.
The show was played at
26th October Street, 35 – Thessaloniki
Wednesday 5 October 2017
The 52nd Dimitria Festival and Béla Pintér and Company present
written and directed by Béla Pintér
dramaturgy Éva Enyedi
costume designer Mari Benedek
costumes designer’s assistant Julcsi Kiss
stage Gábor Tamás
lighting László Varga
sound Zoltán Belényesi
props László Quitt
cast Zoltán Friedenthal, Eszter Csákányi, Hella Roszik, Éva Enyedi, Zsófia Szamosi, Béla Pintér, Szabolcs Thuróczy, Angéla Stefanovics, György Póta and Gábor Pelva
musicians György Póta, Gábor Pelva, Hella Roszik
finances Gyula Inhaizer
productions Anna Hidvégi
director’s assistant Rozi Hajdú