András Csíky has departed from the visibly living.
In the case of an actor, this statement has a charged meaning, since it is the actor who brings the hidden qualities of human existence to the surface and makes them visible. András Csíky's exceptionally rich career is enhanced by the great recallable moments of being seen from one scene to the next.
"Every new, unknown moment carries the excitement of a birth", he says in one of his public speeches, and then speaks with a touching directness about the "moment of truth". The theatre's contract with itself is to share and participate in the moment of truth. Anyone who has been present at András Csíky's rehearsals as a fellow artist or even as an observer has experienced the phenomenal events of the birth of meaning. For András Csíky possessed a special, one might say unusual, sensual intelligence, like very few in the profession, but he did not only bring it to bear in the theatre profession. I am not just referring to his lively wit, which spectacularly transcended professional boundaries, and not only to his elegant and subtle sense of humour, but also to the subtlety with which he conveyed theatrical knowledge, this unmistakable impression of existence, both towards his colleagues and the audience.
One of the key words of his creative credo was presence. And let's face it, there is no more mysterious concept in theatrical practice than presence itself. After all, for thousands of years, presence has been the terminus technicus not of human presence but of divine presence, describing that saturated moment of present time when the spectator has benefited from the immediate proximity of the divine, that is, of the Creator. Confidence in our existence is strengthened in us by the experience of presence, and our sense of communal responsibility is both empowered and made resolute.
Among his many large-scale, formative roles, we should now highlight the old servant in the production of Misunderstanding, rewriting the Gospel, who utters only three words on stage. András Csíky, on the other hand, not only exemplified Divine Presence with his constant and intense participation, but also, as it were, made it manifest in the soul of the spectator. This role was a concentrated demonstration of how our tactful contemporary András Csíky thought and created. He even cultivated his art in the hope of revealing the Universe, since the intangible presence, or, in his words, this scientifically unprovable but still empirically documentable material, authenticated the hidden workings of the Soul flowing within and amongst us. The reality of a substance that enters time, but is not subject to the laws of transient time. Even after our death, it preserves our face and our eyes' light and takes us with it to the other side of Time.
But András Csíky was not snatched from the visible by death. He had decided much earlier, more than a decade and a half ago now, that he would no longer perform on stage, either in Cluj or elsewhere. His absence, this unrepentant hiding and manifest solitude, alongside his unforgettable stage and film roles, will remain in our memory as a kind of last great performance, a solitary performance, so to speak.
It is a difficult legacy. It is an ethical testament far more serious and disturbing than the creative ethos that earned the respect and esteem of his peers. It is almost impossible to match his delightful humour, his generosity and the equally legendary pedagogical devotion to which his illustrious pupils now refer with joy and gratitude. His proximity to the theatre paradoxically turned his absence into a glowing presence. We felt the irreplaceable loss in many subsequent performances, but this breathlessness seemed to be a constant call to us from Rilke's archaic Apollo's Torso: "Change your life!"
Cluj-Napoca, January 16, 2024