Miklós Nyírő - summaries



suddenly I became fed-up with postmodernism: The Polish dramatist Tadeusz Slobodzianek visited Budapest for the Hungarian-Polish dramaturgy symposium. In the interview he gave to Tünde Troján, he talkes about the traditions of his motherland coming to life in the world of his dramas (Pearoller, Czar Nicholas, Prophet Ilja). Slobodzianek was born and spent his childhood in Bialystok, a multinational city and meeting point of Eastern and Western Christianity. Having finished his studies in Cracow he returned to his birth-place where he took part in the foundation of Wierszalin Theatre, the artistic program of which consisted in revealing the cultural and religious roots of the region. After several successful productions, Slobodzianek looks for new directions and works with other theaters. He also directs his own TV- and screen-plays. (p.4.)

looking at oneself: László L. Szigeti wrote a report on the Polish-Hungarian dramaturgy symposium held in Budapest, at the end of which he refers to a relationship-forming training organized by Grotowski - a highly definitive experience for the author, - since it would have been to the advantage of the symposium's participants if they had paid more attention to each other. On the two-day long meeting the main problems of contemporary theatre and playwrighting were discussed, such as the impatient public consuming electronic media, the lack of a new playwright generation, and the estrangement of literature and theatre. Following 1989,the social role of theatre has changed fundamentally in the Eastern European countries and it will take a long period to adapt itself to the new situation. It's striking that while Polish and Hungarian theatres face very similar problems, the Hungarian speakers (e.g. György Spiró playwright, István Nánay critic) were much more pessimistic concerning possible solutions than their Polish counterparts. Besides the problems, dramaturgist Dorota Jovanka Cirlić mentioned positive examples too, such as the theatre of Waldemar Diuk in Zakopane. On the other hand, what others regard as symptoms of a deep ideological crisis, Tadeusz Slobodzianek sees as practical problems surmountable by simple hard work. For him the theatre - even in this changing world, - has remained what it had been before: a rite of initiation, communal experience. (p.5.)

on the spiritual roller-coaster: Tsss's critiques concern the two performances of the Slovensko Mladinsko Gledalią c e (Young Slovenian Scene), a group invited to the Third Műcsarnok Festival. He felt that A Place I Have Never Been-directed by Matja® Pograjc- was unsuccessful because the elaboration was poor in ideas. Climbing and hanging on a metal pole construction, the actors attempt to perform the inner life of a closed community, but unfortunately fail to communicate with the audience. On the other hand, the author praises the serious artistic accomplishment of the play Silence, Silence, Silence... - directed by Vito Taufer,- and likens it to a spiritual roller-coaster that enriches the audience with poetic horror and ever renewing psychic experiences, for the strongly visualized scenes almost provide a catalogue of the basic existence-situations. (p.6.)

"alter-figures" wrapped and naked: Rita Abody gives her opinions on the other two theatre performances of the Third Műcsarnok Festival. The Cosmos Kolej Company arrived from France; director Wladyslaw Znorko was born in Poland. Discourse about mannequins is a performance with strong Eastern European characteristics, regarding both its theme and its style. The production was based on a short story of Bruno Schulz and attempted to respect his spirituality. The audience sits around the stage and watches it through hanging old windows while the scene turns into a shop, a shelter, or a train according to the development of the story. Typical Eastern European characters can be seen in war-scenes, a subject that has been permanently characteristic of Eastern Europe. Perhaps the performance is rather didactic, but the gesture of the actors offering food and drink to the audience at the end of the show creates - in any case - a pleasant atmosphere. The Italian La Societas Raffaello Sanzio doesn't treat the audience so nicely but it's performance yields a deeper experience. In the show about the story of Julius Ceasar based on Shakespeare and Seneca, director Romeo Castelucci applies a highly complex theatrical language. Besides the strong stage-effects (battering ram swinging above the audience, live horse, all sorts of machinery) he employs actors who shape their roles by making use of their extreme physical features. Not only very fat and very thin, nude actors appear on the stage, but also one without a larynx who can only whisper on a hoarse voice. The Italian performance looks for the aesthetical in every shocking and frightening thing, thereby placing the literary material into a completely new context. (p.7.)

body prayer: The English Rambert Dance Company guest-performed in Hungary. Concerning their program Kinga Sáfrány points out that it has a very interesting way of reforming classical ballet, mixing it's technique with elements of other contemporary dance-styles. It is a common feature of the three pieces performed (Petite Mort, Stream, Rooster) that eroticism plays an important role in them, which - suggests the author, - can be accounted for as being the presentation of the man-woman relationship on a psychoanalytic basis. In the Rambert Company's performances, playfulness is combined with serious, almost ritual sensuality; we see the close connection of death-wish and sexual desire (as sketched by Freud) being realized on stage. The last piece is especially a real treat: in that choreographer Christopher Bruce adapted modern rock music (Rolling Stones) to a variation of the Don Juan-motive. (p.8.)

Humphrey Bogart in kolozsvár: Katalin Vincellér's article is about the peculiar, though less successful endeavour of the Mozgóház Társulás (Moving-Hause Group).The Plan Sequence Danse is theatre and film at the same time: it grasps the theatricality of shooting (especially that of the long setting).The troupe is waiting for the director at the first Hungarian film-studio, among them Mihály Kertész who - later in America - became world-famous as the director, among others, of Casablanca. The actors haven't seen a motion-picture camera yet, they discover it for themselves playfully and begin shooting immediately. The audience can see simultaneously on the projector the film being made and the shooting itself, that is, how much reality differs from what is finally recorded on the celluloid. The spectator is in a difficult situation insofar as he should pay attention at more than one thing, while the performance yields no directions regarding when and where to it is most worthwhile to turn our attention. It is also a problem that the basic idea - great as it is, - does not in itself fill the performance in its full length, the tricks of film-making remain in the foreground throughout, and the story itself is not interesting enough. (p.9.)

semi-dry, quality clown-joke: We may read Sándor Lajos's compilation about Csaba Méhes, who "celebrated the tenth anniversary of his first stage-appearance with a 'one-person festival' (in Budapest MU Theatre). He celebrates like an old man, although he's only thirty-two, and my impression is that we're not at the end, but rather, at the very beginning of something and we may expect lots of surprise from him." "When I was a child I was crazy about circus, especially clowns. After a while, however, I realized that I was bored with them and that I saw only embarassment in what the many stumpy-noses and big-shoes did and they took us to be stupid. They think I'd laugh at any foolish joke. Many times, what they do hurts already, so much so that I could think the trouble is with me: I've grown old or become disappointed, etc. Yet, Csaba Méhes is the proof for not being so. I'm laughing in tears seeing him. It's not me who is taken to be stupid but clown and audience together, both of us are stupid. Csaba Méhes follows the most noble tradition of clowns, what's more, he developes it into a theatre, a more complex formation. Meanwhile it is humour itself that saves him from the 'violet', overcomplicated manner spreding more and more in avant-garde-alternative circles." (p.11.)

avant-garde at hargita: The Figura Stúdió, a Hungarian troupe working in Gyergyószentmiklós, Transylvania, has been in Budapest for a study-tour. They have participated in different courses and visited nine theatre performances. Sándor Lajos assembled a mosaic from the opinions of the Studio's young actors about the performances they've seen, and he also reviews the history of this small minority theater - founded fourteen years ago - based on conversations with the members of the company. Figura Studio is the smallest of the seven Hungarian theatres in Transylvania, operates in a difficult financial situation, trying to foster the traditions of Hungarian culture but also to experiment in an innovative direction, occasionally along the lines of utterly avant-garde ambitions. (p.12.)

the other face of bulgarian theater: In our series Messzelátó we endeavour to give some information about a selected country's most recent and most interesting avant-garde/alternative/fringe theatre-trends, with the help of an expert. At first, Gergana Geteva (editor of the Sofian periodical Teatr) gives coverage on subjects such as who is in the limelight in Bulgaria, what kind of tendencies are discernable in Bulgarian theatre life. In an overall review she mentions the Sfoumato Theatrical Workshop, which works in the spirit of Grotowski and Barba, the experiments of Boyko Bogdanov, the solitary art of Marius Kourkinsky, and also the internationally known Credo Theatre, Stroke Theatre, and Amarant Dance Studio Formation. (p.13.)


the wicked draughtsssssssman: We may watch/read the "black-and-white" story - titled Left - right/one - two- of the Serbian picture-story drawer Aleksandar Zograf, together with an intimate Zograf-review of our "picture-story-fan" author Tsss. "Zograf collects dreams: he draws lucid, hynogogic, dreep dream stories from the experiences of his friends, his mistress, and his own. These are sad, oppressive visions that are hard to forget, like the first beating and the last hug." (p.17.)

torture garden - or else szergej departs: Szabolcs T. writes: "Where the body of another ends, where your's only just begins, there one finds the Garden of Torture, a dream of the two TG brothers Allan and David, the fetish and body art club conjured in London, October 1990, where even the pregnant Barbie would abort from the sheer spectacle. On an honoured day of each month, it is here that the ones outcasted from their bodies or closed up in it excessively meet. (...) with a fine and slobbery grumbling, only for this one night turns most of them into that against which they had been warned by the family, into a wolf-man, a satyr, a satire, a western witch. There are typical and archetypal creatures of every kind here. Moral and political rules are violated here, the inertia-system of the outside world becomes mixed up, but not that of the inner world." (p.18.)

a simple opera: On the 27th of January, 1998, Ben Patterson invaded the Műcsarnok with the support of our collective subconscious. Under the pseudonym FMR, our co-worker reports from the spot. "Ben Patterson was born in Pittsburgh, in 1934.In 1960 he moved to Cologne, where he became a pioneer of the radical contemporary music scene. In Wiesbaden, together with George Maciunas, he organized the remarkable International Fluxus Festival in 1962, of which he remained a significant figure till the early seventies when he withdrew in favour of living an "everyday life". For more than 17 years he hasn't taken part actively in artistic life, yet, he appeared occasionally on events like the 20th birthday of the Fluxus in Wiesbaden, or the 1983 Biennial in Saő Paolo. He made his come-back in 1988 by the exhibition called Everyday Life. From 1992 he lives in Germany, again." The last action of the special collective performance was the completion of one of Ben Patterson's own piece of art: "Ben expresses his conviction that having got familiar with the taste of his art we should make an original Ben Patterson composition with the use of fineliner and paper, which - in case it reaches proper standard, - he obviously signs. About that standard he wishes to give no comment, however, it is certain - considering the 60 pounds fineliners at him,- that Ben is a sub/supraconscious fineliner agent." (pp.19-20.)


To get to the whole through the parts: "In our new column we wish to consider such a part of the human document which has as its (not even hidden) goal the unity of present and future with the past, so that they don't diverge. This document is the photography.(...) The photo is a way for us that -being teared from reality- leads toward new knowledge and the 'stretching' of imagination into infinity. According to H.-C. Bresson one has to think before and after taking photographs. That way the photographer participates unwillingly in the discoveries, in the early perception of mysteries, and is able to show the world in a way that has not been known before. The first guest of the BATH-WATER column is Bruno Bourel who arrived in Budapest from Paris. The lights of the city and the people made him to stay here. His working method is clean and extremely simple. The other guest of ours is Zsolt Birtalan, a photographer living in Budapest. The pictures presented here were taken by him in Paris and in New York, between 1995 and 1997." In this column we may read writings on photo, picture, "atmospheres of mediums", the conceivable and the inconceivable, from the pens of Zsolt Birtalan, and Attila Ara-Kovács. (pp.21-28)


The ghost of experiment: Sándor Kiss summarizes his thoughts on the experimental and short films shown at the 29th Hungarian Film Festival. The article is a melancholic and highly descriptive analyses of a "movie-feeling" that has fallen into its pieces. Altogether, it's a sad piece of writing about the Festival, mentioning a few names of talented upcoming artists. (p.29.)

black'n white glassballs: "The rap is spinning, needle in the vein, gun in the pocket. Brooklyn - New York - America. Subculture - multiculture. Whites - blacks - racism. Wealthy-poor. A film about poverty, drug, music, black America." Rita Abody and László L. Szigeti wrote about the black director Vondie Curtis Hall's fisrt film Gridlock'd, that will soon appear in the Budapest cinemas. It "(...) presents the 'soil' from which music springs. Exciting and of high standard; but facile, pretty, and rainbow-like compared to reality." The leading role is played by the legendary and tragic-fated Tupac Shakur. "All in all, the film is far less tragic than its real background. It is light, humorous, and somewhat naive, by no means lies heavy on the stomach, yet, it stirs the heart and the mind.(...) Here and now we can't describe how important the subcultures are and how much chance they have to enter into high culture. But this film has a chance to do so." (pp.30-31)

picturetricks: Gábor Gelencsér's writing on documentary - on the occasion of the 29th Hungarian Film Festival, too, - follows up the metamorphosises of Hungarian documentarism from primitive-film to television worldnet. His starting point is the dilemma that "the film is a reproduction of reality", meanwhile all that we see is the endproduct of a series of decisions made by the man behind the camera. Within our media-galaxy at the door of the third millennium it has become difficult to tell reality from the elements of fiction. "We've replaced our windows to the world by monitor screens", our eyes function as cameras do. But what is the role of the demand to record reality continuously at the end of the twentieth century when the transvestites of this artistic form, namely, pseudo-documentaries, have already made their appearance? (pp.32-33) We'll never die: Zsolt Sőrés writes about how death rises again in Alien 4, a "mixture" of a Hollywood black-and-white monster story and the dark, morbid, European shiver. A real optimist utopia, in which the hero returns to the ecologically recovered Earth. In Alien 4 the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet reinforces the strange and weird atmosphere so typical of his earlier works. We may also learn from the article about the special procedure applied to create a visual world that evokes the future regarding colours and picture-definition. (pp.34-35.)

jean-jaCques lebel exhibition - anthology (from works of young artists): Preliminary review is published about the upcoming exhibitions of the Contemporary Art Museum/Ludwig Museum Budapest. A monumental retrospective show of the world-famous and versatile artist Jean-Jacques Lebel will be open between 2. April and 10. May, featuring the works of Lebel from the sixties onwards. A collective exhibition titled Anthology can be seen during Budapest Spring Festival (19. March -19. April), the participants of which are mainly young artists in their thirties. Although mostly painting is concerned, the show restricts neither artisitc form nor technique. Simultaneously with the show, a volume will appear with the title Anthology, containing works from writers of similar age. (pp.36-37.)


ACCORD-conjuring - Notation-pursuit: This article is about the Fourth Pause-Sign International Festival of Improvisational Music, held in MU Theatre Budapest, in December 1997. It comprises two bodies of text communicating with each other -both written in the spirit of the experimental musical event, - the authors of which are the young writer and critic Zsolt Székelyhidi and one of the participating musicians. We may read evaluations of the concerts and workshops, but also inner comments and reflections on the spontaneous, yet extremely complex practice of improvisation. By expanding the very art of critique, these texts aim at sketching the spirit of metamusical-improvisational functioning that brings about individual aesthetical situations. (pp.38-39)

SZEMZŐ - ISLAND: On the occasion of the new, upcoming CD (titled Relative Things) of the composer Tibor Szemző, the author Attila Ürmös discusses the composer's different activity areas and the more important metaphors of his artistic career,- e.g. that of the "island", which is to signify the lonely man living both linguistically and psychologically in the midst of a community, the mysterious deserted island, and Szemző's own independent artistic stance within the domestic professional field. In this short interview Szemző gives his opinion on the relationship of action-art and music, textual narration, repetitive music, but also on great thinkers and artists who influenced him as a composer and performer, such as the Hungarian Béla Hamvas, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Joseph Beuys. (p.40) Energynoise and spaceturbulence (Noise EssaY): From the pen of Zsolt Sőrés we publish an essay (titled Energynoise and spaceturbulence) on the aesthetics of experimental noise-music. The present issue contains the first part of his text, the remaining parts will be published subsequently. The author starts out with two main topics: the first is the research into hyperspace-energynoise, began by Nikola Tesla and Henry Moray, the theory of which intends to restore - from the viewpoint of art: through the allegory of "noise" taken from the context of the theory - the harmony between man and cosmos. The other viewpoint is the sketching of the different branches and activity areas of today's noise-music, following the trends of electromagnetically produced music during the past decades. The author, himself a practicing experimentalist musician, attempts to bring close for the reader the aesthetics of one of the most avant-garde musical and performance activity area by employing peculiar, sometimes even shocking viewponts in his analysis. (p.41)

Black noise: Within the White noise column, under the title Black noise, we start to offer recommendations regarding records: eight short critiques are included about new or recently published recordings by Morton Feldman (USA), John Zorn (USA), Eugene Chadbourne (USA),Rune Lindblad (Sweden), Mats Gustafsson (Sweden), the Ersbline (Switzerland), the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble (England), as well as CD-anthologies of the Sound Off (Slovakia) and the Crossing Borders (Holland). This inner column aims at making the reader acquainted with the current directions of experimental and avant-garde music and their borderlines. (pp.42-43)
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Miklós Nyírő - summaries