Since its premiere at the National Theatre in Budapest last autumn, Részegek (The Drunks), directed by Victor Ryzhakov, has been bringing down the house. It is shortlisted for the summer 2017 POSzT (National Theatre Festival in Pécs), too, where the previous season’s most highly esteemed Hungarian productions are presented each year.
Shakespeare is a landmark in the construction of tragedy: he intersperses tragedy with novelistic and dramatic threads – he opens the play with a novelistic drama and we are faced with this novelistic drama actually up to the actors’ play. Here the drama does not, really cannot, yet slide into tragedy. Hamlet starts with a test: he needs to ascertain his apprehension whether time is really out of joint. Tragedy is still to follow; Hamlet would not be the tragic hero of modern times if he passed up this experiment, if he did not start with the intellectual’s certitude and took combat with mere conviction or prejudice, if he simply accepted the revenge.
Georgian stage director David Doiashvili (b. 1971) is a returning guest at the National Theatre in Budapest. He made his mark by Macbeth at MITEM I in 2014 with his company (Vaso Abashidze State Music and Drama Theatre, Tbilisi, Georgia); it was a success at numerous international festivals and won several awards.
Valery Fokin (1946) is a stage director, artistic director, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation and the recipient of several prestigious awards. He won the top award of the most famous Russian theatre festival, the Golden Mask, twice. In 1991 he established the Meyerhold Centre in Moscow, one of the capital’s notable contemporary art centres which he also led for two decades. He is currently the artistic director of the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, established in 1756.
Theatres are continuously looking for texts and topics, the hic et nunc relevant ways for expression. And probably this is the main reason why we turn to these great literary achievements because these days there are not many really significant new texts. Contemporary authors do not address theatre audiences in either a very shallow, lurid way or by contriving intellectual acrobatic stunts, they do not really reach the directors’ hearts. Meanwhile there are some miracle-works, which force a man to express himself, his environment, his feelings about life through them. There are no consciously thought-out, simple concepts through which these epic works attract attention, but they demand to be performed by their own power.