Snake it easy
The first weekend of the 2nd International Forest Festival of Thessaloniki couldn’t have gone better, with a double show of Your Kingdom from Hungarian Forte Company, who rearranges renowned writer Sándor Tar’s oeuvre into a new, unexpected and uncanny shape, offering to the audience an unprecedented experience.
Il primo fine settimana del 2° Festival Internazionale della Foresta di Salonicco non poteva andare meglio: con un doppio spettacolo de Your Kingdom della compagnia ungherese Forte, l’opera del rinomato scrittore Sándor Tar viene riarrangiata in una forma nuova, inaspettata e sbalorditiva, offrendo agli spettatori un’esperienza davvero senza precedenti.
Το πρώτο Σαββατοκύριακο του 2ου Διεθνές Φεστιβάλ Δάσους Θεσσαλονίκης δεν θα μπορούσε να έχει πάει καλύτερα, με μια διπλή παρ’ασταση του έργου Your Kingdom από την ουγγρική Forte Company, οι οποία αναδιατάσσει το έργο του γνωστού συγγραφέα Sándor Tar σε ένα νέο, απροσδόκητο και εκπληκτικό σχήμα προσφέροντας στο κοινό μια άνευ προηγουμένου εμπειρία.
Poverty, and the whole gamut of social adversity surrounding it, has certainly been one of the central themes of Hungarian literature since the nineteenth century. It is in this context that Sándor Tar, one of the most important contemporary writers of the country, used to work his creative magic on paper. Coming from an impoverished family himself and having worked as a manual labourer most of his life, Tar chronicled the harsh yet often humorous realities of the working class in cities, industrial provinces and in the post-agrarian rural world. Held by many responsible for creating some of the best depictions of the human cost of the post-Kádár era, the late writer of novels and short-stories fell under the magnifier of the award-winning Hungarian Forte Company founded by director-choreographer Csaba Horváth who, with the help of playwright Judit Garai and writer Tibor Keresztury, managed to translate the losses resulting from reckless social policies described by Tar into a «so far unknown form of expression in Hungary […], a new, homogeneous language with the help of bodies, voices, dance, music and text».
Your Kingdom, a double-entendre referring either to the vast opus of Tar or to the long-gone and yet still topical Kingdom of Hungary, is a physical theatre performance like no other: thanks to a whopping cast of 11 strong and highly expressive interpreters, Horváth’s vision comes easily into form, blending the flesh of hardworking socialist labourers with everyday factory materials, thus creating a highly-complex and multi-layered play. As with Tar’s short stories, Your Kingdom can be read in many ways, looking for a common thread in the lives of the downtrodden, the marginalized and the forgotten, or simply by accepting the humanistic cognizance poured into every single tale, a radical gesture of solidarity toward his fellow Hungarian disenfranchised citizens. Far from being presumptuous, the company delivers a personal take on the «mental disintegration of the personality» of an essential and disgraced writer through a skilful representation of a selection of tell-tale cross sections of a dog-eat-dog world.
Through the synchronized sighs of a machine-shaped humanity, the Forte Company offers an ever-changing flow of bodies and voices that fills the eye of the audience for two hours without a moment of tedium, stretching, bending and interweaving limbs with maniacal precision, turning the stage into an appalling soul-crushing factory, a hostel for socialist labourers, a bar full of angry racists and a train leading nowhere. Broken heroes animated by exquisite artists who, quite surprisingly, manage to give to each and every character a detailed life of his own, just like Tar used to do with his mindful descriptions and scorching perspicacity. And if it true what his fellow writer and close friend, Tibor Keresztury wrote in his obituary, that «his oeuvre can easily be compared to the works of the most significant masters of the genre… it is, from the first word to the last, undeniably authentic and true», we can easily say the same for Your Kingdom, and authentic and true masterpiece.
The show was played at
Leof. Meg. Alexandrou – Thessaloniki
Monday 2 July 2018
Forte Company presents
based on the short stories of renowned Hungarian writer Sándor Tar (1941-2005)
director Csaba Horváth
dramaturgy Judit Garai
performers Máté Andrássy, László Fehér, Nóra Földeáki, László Hevesi, Barnabás Horkay, József Kádas, Niké Kurta, Norbert Nagy, Máté Novkov, Márton Pallag, Emőke Zsigmond