november 11, 2023

Upstairs Foyer


Dramaturg Katalin Demeter will be in conversation with Adrienne Darvay Nagy.

2023 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's complete works, of his 'First Folio', edited by his friends and printed seven years after the playwright's death. And in Cluj-Napoca, exactly 230 years ago premiered the first ever Hungarian language production of Hamlet in the history of the world theatre, and the man who played the title character and was born 260 years ago, János Patkó Kótsi, essentially marked out the direction of the current Hungarian theatre on a 'Hamletian' basis, which, during a five-week tour of Shakespeare's homeland just 30 years ago, came to international attention and became the best-known and perhaps most respected Hungarian-language theatre in the world. The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj has also been a member of the Union of European Theatres for precisely a decade and a half.

The author of this volume could be called Horatio (or "Horatienne"), in so far as the evocative name denotes a "chronicler", a kind of historian, in the most meaningful context of theatrical morals of the humanist tradition. But I prefer to call myself a "hamletologist." For a quarter of a century now, I have been using Shakespeare's dramatic universe as an anthropological tool in its own right, and as a way of seeing things and analysing phenomena. This book, which I am now launching, is proof of this, since it covers the entire history of Hungarian theatre in Cluj from its beginnings to the present day, despite the fact that after 1945, apart from the guest performance of György Harag's 1959 production of Hamlet in Satu Mare, there were practically only two Hungarian-language Hamlet productions in the Transylvanian capital, and they were both staged by Gábor Tompa, 35 years apart.
Adrienne Darvay Nagy