DIRECTED BY: DELI SZÓFIA
TRANSLATED BY: JANKÓ-SZÉP YVETTE
TRANSLATED BY: JANKÓ-SZÉP YVETTE
DIRECTED BY: DELI SZÓFIA
ANDI: Bartha Boróka
JULI: Szilágyi Míra
ENI: D. Gulácsi Zsuzsanna
Set designer: Huszár Kató
Costume designer: Sikó Doró
Composer: Kolozsi Borsos Gábor, Sosovicza Anna
Dramaturgy: B. Markó Orsolya
If someone asked you today how you are, would you tell them the truth? Maybe not? Before you answer, you probably assess your relationship first with the person asking the question. If you answer honestly at all.
But what happens when you can no longer hide the ever-increasing anger and despair in the depths of your soul, and slowly all hell breaks loose, and you are no longer the master of yourself or your feelings, and your fearfully guarded comfort bubble suddenly bursts out, like a chewing gum? Then what?
Then there is CHAOS.
In our chaos, you can see three women driven to the brink of a nervous breakdown by social pressure and the constant drive. However, the realization is liberating: once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up!
We recommend this performance to those who start the morning nervously until they their daily dose of coffee.
Our show is about women and made by women – for everyone!
Mika Myllyaho is a contemporary Finnish playwright, actor and director of the Finnish National Theatre since 2010. His second play, Chaos, published in 2008, follows the lives of three women in their thirties. The story of Eni, Juli and Andi is a dark comedy of women trapped by society’s expectations, in which the seemingly ordinary lives of seemingly ordinary women suddenly turn into a series of hair-raising extremes. When the world’s troubles become too much for them, they sit down over a cup of coffee and try to discover the causes and consequences of their crises. As the three Graces try to get out of their comfort zones, their relaxed afternoons at the café turn into fights, grave-digging and even police raids.
Chaos descends into real chaos, successfully blurring the lines between pity and humour, compassion and contempt, tragedy and light-hearted laughter.
ABOUT THE THEATRE
Figura Studio Theatre based in Gheorgheni is the only Hungarian theatre in Transylvania which’s founding document contains the word “experimental”. Between 1984 and 1990 it was an experimental theatre group with the leadership of László Bocsárdi. It gained institutional form on the 1st of September 1990 under the name of Figura Studio Theatre, with the approval of the ministry of culture
Despite the administrative problems (long periods without heated rehearsal rooms, financial problems) Figura is already 33 years old, has been through almost 150 premiers (5-6 productions in a season), this number has been achieved with the help of almost 350 artists in residence. This lead to the conclusion: all the Hungarian theatre companies in Romania have artists with a background at Figura. After numerous national and international exposures it can be said: the critical reception of Figura can only be talked about on prestigious levels.
Figura stuck by its founding principles, its existence is a rarity to this day in the sphere of Transylvanian theatre. It aims to satisfy the expectations of the small town in which it resides and its founding experimentalist principle. In the years of its existence this lead to it staging of traditional, experimental and contemporary theatrical works.
The Finnish playwright, who is also an actor and theatre manager, wrote Chaos as the second part of a drama trilogy. After his first drama Panic, which featured three male characters, Chaos shows the crisis of three women in their thirties, Sofia, Julia and Emmi – Andi, Juli and Eni in the Gheorgheni version – that leads to chaos. There is everything that can fit into crisis situations in women’s lives in six months: cheating, divorce, a love triangle, pregnancy/motherhood, nervous breakdowns, tantrums, drunkenness, career crisis, loss of control. In this context, it is completely justified and natural that both Andi and Eni unexpectedly end up as supporting characters, and both become a court case.
Adding to the neuroticism of the performance is the fact that the actresses playing the three main characters play all the other secondary and episodic characters, that is, the men who appear in the story. Myllyaho pulls the lid off the mental and spiritual crisis of women in their thirties and forties, the still-taboo nervous breakdown-like state that can occur in any woman as a result of piling up relationship and/or workplace problems and increasingly stressful responsibilities. Chaos is extremely raw and honest, but through the revelation of psychological motivations, it is able to simultaneously entertain and understand the deeper connections of the crisis entering the lives of the three female characters with irony.
In a podcast interview with the creative duo, Szófi Deli explains why they chose Chaos: the Figura Stúdió Theatre invited them to stage a play about women with only female characters. Myllyaho’s play seemed to be an ideal choice, according to the instructions of the Finnish playwright, the three female protagonists play secondary – and also episodic – roles – this is a challenge for the actors as well as the directors.
The creative team, composed almost exclusively from female artists (whose only male member is Gábor Kolozsi Borsos, who selected and edited the performance’s music together with Anna Sosovicza) brings to the stage a text that brings the audience of Gherogheni and Transylvania a new perspective, whose Finnish protagonists give an insight into the lifestyle of urban Western women in their thirties. Orsolya B. Markó tried to adapt and enrich the original drama to reflect local current events: thus, compared to the original text, a new side character, the mother character (played by Bartha Boróka), is included, which added value to the original text even though Mika Myllyaho probably deliberately wrote only male supporting characters in the original text. The original play has enough edge even without the Romanian-Hungarian theme, and the original text provides the actors with enough tasks to exploit. The three female protagonists, the psychologist Juli, the school teacher Andi and the journalist Eni, each play 4-5 male supporting characters: Misi, Andi’s husband; the macho man from the cafe (one of the characters in the most important scene of the play); Eni’s obnoxious editor-in-chief; Eni’s husband, the narcissistic Leo; or Juli’s bipolar patient, with whom she is expecting a child. Based only on the supporting characters listed here, you can feel how neurotic the story is, and how polarized we see male-female relationships through the prism of crisis situations of women on the verge of madness. Chaos is not a simple talk show, but a constantly spinning tragicomedy listing the increasingly escalating situations in the lives of the three women, with which we move towards the unpredictable conclusion. The visuals, also dreamed up by young career starters, Kató Huszár’s scenery and the costumes designed by Doró Sikó also help with this neurosis: the bright colors, the multifunctional space structures, from which someone can emerge at any moment, the movable elements that facilitate scene changes and the depressing black-and-white chalk drawings-like costumes, which are worn by the secondary characters, all reinforce the metacommunicative character of the space
Deli-B Markó’s frame-like structured Chaos ends with the image of the chaos queens waiting behind bars – what could be a better solution to this ending than ABBA’s Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight? Maybe this would even turn Mika Myllyaho’s well-disguised, mocking smile into a laugh…
Pálffy Zsófia (Játéktér 2022/1)