Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Bundes

Leaving is not an option?

Current artistic positions from Hungary / 9.–16.3.2014

To stay or to leave?
Many people in Hungary toy with the idea of going abroad. In recent years alone, 500,000 of them have left their native land. Since the conservative Fidesz party took over the government in 2010, Hungary has been radically remodelling itself, both in terms of the politics of power and of ideology. This also affects the independent theatre scene, which has had to battle with significant restrictions.

With the one-week festival Leaving is not an option? from March 9 to 16, HAU Hebbel am Ufer presents current artistic positions from Hungary on all three stages. The vital Hungarian scene takes a critical and realistic look at current developments both in the country and also beyond the borders to Europe.

The festival will be kicked off by Csaba Polgár and the HOPPart Company, who will be in HAU1 on March 9 and 10 with Korijolánusz, based on Shakespeare and set in Hungary after the fall of Communism. How cynical to do the promises of the future from that time sound today, after large portions of the political class have failed in their dealings with power? The play was awarded best independent production of 2011 by the Association of Hungarian Theatre Critics.   

Kornél Mundruczó, whose films and theatre productions have met with international acclaim, is one of the directors who have decided to remain in Hungary despite all the difficulties. In Dementia, or the Day of My Great Happiness – a production by Proton Theatre – he and his co-author Kata Webér take the closure of a well-known psychiatric hospital in Budapest as the basis for their play. The Lipot was bought by an investor, the patients ended up on the streets. “Dementia” is a dazzling musical farce about the chasms of a society that we are all confronted by. At HAU2 from March 9 to 11.

In the context of the festival, HAU also presents four German premieres:

In Acts of the Pitbull, Péter Kárpáti and Secret Company use dark, absurd humour to show what happens when a prophet appears in contemporary Budapest. All he finds are crises – personal, existential and moral. Béla Pintér’s Our Secrets / Titkaink takes place in one of those dance halls where rural folklore was being rediscovered in the ‘80s, showing former informants who had become the ladies and gentlemen of society. Hungari is a concert performance by Árpád Kákonyi, Péter Kárpáti and the HOPPart Company. They reveal how virtual space has become a substitute for home for those who have emigrated. Adrienn Hód is considered one of the most important voices in Hungary’s contemporary dance scene. Dawn, the current production by her company Hodworks, focuses on the naked human body.

Further items on the program include the documentary film project Menjek / Maradjak (Leave/Stay) by SpeakEasy Project and the installation text war pic by Little Warsaw, for which András Gálik and Bálint Havas will open a studio in HAU2. A video documentation will show works from Krétakör from 2008 to 2012 daily at HAU2.

The discursive framework will be formed by the two events Gehen oder Bleiben? and Es ist ein Leben ohne Illusionen, in which artists and journalists from Hungary and Germany will get into conversation.

“Leaving is not an option?“ will also be the occasion for the second edition of the HAU publication series, to be released on February 22. The publication will include contributions by the festival artists, interviews, and a photo series from Budapest.

Supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

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