At the first press conference of the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj for the 2023 calendar year, members of the press had the opportunity to meet the creators of the production that will premiere on Sunday, February 5 at 7 pm. The performance, directed by László Bocsárdi, and based on Zsigmond Móricz's drama Relatives will be presented in the studio space on the theatre's main stage.
At the press conference preceding the premiere, Gábor Tompa emphasised that Móricz's most powerful novel of social criticism, published more than 90 years ago, is still relevant today: "Obviously, Móricz's story is set in Hungary in the 1930s, but this phenomenon has now become global. The corruption, nepotism, the corruption scandals and the embezzlement-dominated ruling class in the novel do not need to force the topicality of the story, as we seem to be living in a direct continuation of it, not only here in our country, but worldwide."
The director added that understanding the complexity of the story, and thus the topicality of the performance, can help us understand the situation we live in today: "it was important for me to see through the confusion of that time to better understand what is happening today." He also stressed that he was primarily interested in the tragedy of the protagonist, István Kopjáss, who is the key figure in the story and with whom he admits to identifying: "I can identify with him in that there are a lot of conflicting forces at work in him: the will to do something, but also the desire for a better life, which are in conflict with each other. How can one move from one day to the next without being able to look in the mirror? It's an extremely important work from a moral point of view, and obviously the big question for me was how fortunate it is to deal with morality in the theatre today, and how interested audiences are in it."
Commenting on the adaptation of the novel, which has a multifaceted plot, dramaturg Ágnes Kali said that from the very beginning the director had "a very specific image in his mind that the whole story revolves around the main character, Pista. Once we found this path, it was easier to start to rewrite this realistic novel into a theatrical time and space where both the characters and the events appear in the context of Pista's story. This was the main decision that determined the script later on."
Set designer József Bartha also spoke about the creation of the space for the production in relation to the multi-faceted plot and the scenes taking place in many locations: "it was important to be able to make changes quickly between scenes, so we didn't overcrowd the space. We have a tasselled curtain and a basic carpet, and into this space we have various pieces of completely transparent, stripped-down furniture that dynamically roll in, and we can only see the skeleton of the furniture. In my view, these further enhance the presence of the actors, of the human body."
The adaptation of the text and the stylized space defined by the director's vision also required an elemental style of acting on the part of the actors, with great help from choreographer Noémi Bezsán: "with the stage movement and the choreographed parts, I tried to amplify the acting in this vision that Laci had devised, which tended towards the grotesque. To lift the characters from the plane of reality through their movements, while not making detached pieces in the structure of the performance, but integral to the characters."
The lead role of the play is portrayed by Gábor Viola, with additional roles by Emőke Kató, Enikő Györgyjakab, Miklós Bács, Áron Dimény, Loránd Farkas, Attila Orbán, József Bíró, Éva Imre, Csilla Varga, Gizella Kicsid, Tamás Kiss, Zsolt Gedő, Gergő Bíró, Hunor Fazakas, Gergő Filep and Botond Tulogdi.
Alongside the director, the production's creative team includes Ágnes Kali dramaturg, József Bartha set designer, Zsuzsanna Cs. Kiss costume designer, Noémi Bezsán choreographer and Tamás Bányai lighting consultant.
Tickets for the premiere of the Móricz adaptation scheduled for February 5, as well as for additional performances set for February 6 and 15, can be purchased at the theatre's ticket office (weekdays between 10 am and 2 pm) and online at www.biletmaster.ro.