In conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the birth of Áron Tamási, the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj will present Áron Tamási's rarely performed play, Ancestral Comfort, directed by László Béres, on Wednesday, October 5, at 8 pm in the theatre's Main Hall. The director is back working with the Cluj company after the highly acclaimed productions of The Lubberly Wizard, Be Faithful Unto Death and Fiddler on the Roof.
Gábor Tompa said at the press conference preceding the premiere that the production of the play is also important for Cluj because in 1924 Áron Tamási submitted Ancestral Comfort anonymously to the drama competition of the Cluj Theatre led by Jenő Janovics, which was not performed at that time, but only received an honorable mention.
The director commented on the theme and the choice of the play: “What struck me about Ancestral Comfort is that Tamási creates a myth of his own, practically a separate universe, similar to the myths of Lorca. In fact, it goes back to the Christian paganism hidden beneath the surface, to the closed community of the Szekler people. The text of the performance is not actually a Hungarian language that we use today. It could best be compared to liturgies, where the text is usually recited, but it is the emotional charge of the text that impacts people. Tamási expresses this in his controversial essay in The Theatre We Want to Build: 'For it is possible to speak in Hungarian for the benefit of the intellect, and it is possible to speak it for the benefit of the nervous system.'
Attila Bokor, the choreographer of the production, spoke about the process of working together: "I combined dances of a ceremonial nature with contemporary modern dance set in a modern world, without forgetting folk dances or the region, i.e. Szeklerland. From this triad we built up the sequences, which the actors performed very well."
Zsolt Bogdán, the lead actor in the production, said about the role: "In my nearly thirty-year career, I think this is the second time I've played Tamási. I could say that I am discovering these scents, these flavors, the underlying meaning of words, as well as the theatre that lies not in the meaning of words, but in the musicality behind the words. Although I am very familiar with this world - I was born in Miercurea-Ciuc - and I have it under my skin, it is extremely difficult to grasp it, to wonder at it and to somehow validate it. It is too close to me, as is the figure of Ádám Csorja. What always impresses me about László Béres is the clarity with which he layers things together, the way he unfolds a scene, and that is what lends this theatre based on minimal means its extremely colorful nuance."
Set and costume designer Gyopár Bocskai, composer Tibor Cári and choreographer Attila Bokor were part of the creative team, alongside the director.
Musicians: Attila Antal (double bass), Balázs Zoltán Gyenge (violin) and Enikő Tatár (clarinet, bass clarinet).
Zsolt Bogdán will play the lead role in Ancestral Comfort, with additional roles portrayed by Attila Orbán, Eszter Román, Áron Dimény, Tamás Kiss, Loránd Farkas, Róbert Laczkó Vass, Ferenc Sinkó, Csaba Marosán, Zsolt Gedő, Gellért Ábrahám, Hunor Fazakas and Botond Tulogdi.
The performance was made possible with the approval of the Tamási Áron Public Benefit Foundation. The production was supported by the Government of Hungary and the Bethlen Gábor Fund.
Tickets for the premiere of Ancestral Comfort and the performances scheduled for October 8 and 26 can be purchased at the theatre's ticket office (weekdays between 10 am and 2 pm) and online at www.biletmaster.ro.