Illyés Gyula Hungarian National Theatre, Berehove (Ukraine)
12th November 2018, Novi Sad Theatre, large scene 19h
Duration of performance: 2 hours and 10 minutes, without break
Writer: Miklós ZELEI
Director: Attila VIDNYÁNSZKY
Stage and costume design: Oleksandr BILOZUB
Gyimocska Soviet borderer: Oleg MELNYICSUK
Zoltán Zoltán, the groom: Józseg RÁCZ
Juli, the bride: Viktória TARPAI
Jancsi, a political party secretary: Imre SZABÓ
The wife of Jancsi: Ildikó BÉRES
Dr. Zoltán, neurosurgeon: András KACSUR
Anna, a local kolkhoznik: Magdolna VASS
Major Izumrud Abdullovics Szultannuradov: Viktor IVASKOVICS
Lityinant Glubinko: István SŐTÉR
Tejbusz Irina Szergejevna: Melinda OROSZ
Aunty Bözse, kolkohoznik: Andrea KACSUR
Uncle Jenci, pensioner: József VARGA
Pásztor Elemér, the local roman catholic priest: László TÓTH
John Zoltán from Arizona: Attila FERENCI
Mrs. Mary Zoltán: Natália GÁL
Danyiela, wife of major Szultannuradov: Júlia D. FORNOSI
Reporter: Ibolya OROSZ
(In memory of Csaba Lőrincz)
About the show
Romeo and Juliet from two sides of the Iron Curtain: a grotesque story of an unfulfilled, tragic love in two acts at the western border of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, the last winter of the existence of a great empire, and the decay when the Iron Curtain of the East became the golden curtain of the West.
A family wants to bury a late Soviet citizen, the Hungarian Zoltán Zoltanovich Zoltán, , a well-known calves grower, in accordance with his will, on the other side of the border, in a family tomb located in the territory of Czechoslovakia, next to his former bride Julija Kapusi, who died of sorrow when her dear was taken to the gulag.
Neither the iron curtain, nor the official border crossing is opened to the cortege. The border service arrests the deceased (!) And buries him in the yard. After the fall of communism, the family dug him up to put him in a tomb near the bride. Their plan, however, does not work … How and why doesn’t it work we can see in this game full of black humor and missed opportunities.
The writer Zelei Miklós explores the history of Mali Selmenci and Velké Selmence, and he even writes about this in his book Divided Village. These villages were an integral part of the Hungarian kingdom until 1920, and then they joined Czechoslovakia to return to Hungary after Vienna’s first decision. After the Second World War, when the USSR expanded its borders to the West and attached to itself the Hungarian part of Ukraine, Mali Selmenci joined the USSR and the Velké Selmence joined Czechoslovakia. The border was pulled down the main village street. The writer himself played a major role in the fact that the international media paid attention to the divided village. In the main street in Semenci, they eventually destroyed the iron curtain, and on December 23, 2005, the border was opened.
The story Zoltan reburied by Zelei Miklós is based on a twenty-year study on this subject. With this play a typical Hungarian problem is risen to a universal level. The specificity and the credibility of the play is that it is performed by an ensemble that experiences situations from the text in their everyday life.
The inhabitants of a small village are a coffin on their backs for two hours and almost half a century. In the meantime they risk their lives and their integrity for the habit, tradition, and their own value order. We understand them, but we feel that their efforts are futile, the past, though unresolved, can not be changed.
It is not that we do not understand them because of their principles, not because of some divine commands, because in the end the text of Miklós Zelei and the arrangement of Attila Vidnyánszky is about freewill and the suppression of power, so we have to understand this for our own liberal values.
The story of the split village is a highly plastic (but somewhat too direct) terrain that focuses on the traumas of Hungarians living in torn apart areas. The Berehovians talk about a micro story that is not the cries of the Little and the Great Hungary, but how when families and friendships break apart, it confronts the rhetoric of power with their love.
About the theater
In Transcarpathia, a professional theater company never existed. That the theater-loving audiences could still have seen theatrical performances is thanks to the enthusiastic artists of the Berehove National Theater. In the summer of 1989, local newspapers reported that in the new school year that was about to start the Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University, in order to develop theatrical life of Hungarians in Transcarpathia, opened a drama course in Hungarian. In the following days, a talent competition was held for the selection of young people who were interested in acting. Four years later, the 16-member class academy became the founders of the professional Hungarian theater of Transcarpathia.
At the very beginnings, there were many plans about where the company’s home would be in Berehove. In the end, the former Oroszlán Hostel gave first a temporary, then a permanent home to the theater. The Ukrainian state took over the renovation of the building, while Hungary started to build the interior of the building and to fully finance the purchase of light and sound technology. The company won the special prize of the jury at the Chersonesus games in Sevastopol for their rendition of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot won at the Lemberg Golden Lion Festival in 1995.