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Tasnádi István: Cupido

The Örkény Theatre’s performance in co-operation with the ALKA.T, the Nézőművészeti Kft., and the Orlai Productions

Location: Belvárosi Theatre
Date: 4th December 2010, 10:30 PM

90 minutes without break
In Hungarian with English subtitles




Anikó Für, Tibor Gazdag, Eszter Csákányi, Zoltán Mucsi, László Katona, Nóra Diána Takács, Péter Scherer, Zsófia Budai

Costumes: Lili Izsák

Scenography: Géza Szöllősi

Coreography: Gábor Katona

Music: Gábor Keresztes

Puppets: Gábor Tengely

Production leader: Eszter Gyulay

Producer: Tibor Orlai

Director: István Tasnádi.

“It’s your first night in a swinger club. In a place where petty bourgeois morality is not valid, where boundaries of society fall down, you can try everything; fulfil yourself with other people on the side of the beloved person, rediscovering yourself and each other. After the sobriety of the day the wildness of the night is waiting for you with the sweetness of the forbidden fruit after the saccharin taste of conformism! The only question is if you are strong enough to live with this infinite freedom.” (Cupido Intimate Bar)

István Tasnádi was born in 1970 and graduated in theatre theory. He has been publishing poems, theatre reviews and later plays since 1992. In 1996 he was one of the founders of Bárka Theatre where he worked as a dramaturge in the next five seasons. In 2001 he signed with Árpád Schilling’s company, Krétakör (Chalk Circle), where he was working as a dramaturge also, while many of his plays were performed in the direction of Schilling. During the years at Krétakör, his interest turned to social questions in his playwrighting, be he often rewrote classics and the entertaining pieces were not far from him either. After the transformation of Krétakör he was one of the founders of the ALKA.T causal theatre team, which members were mostly the former Krétakör actors. Their first production, Phaidra Fitness, located in a gym, which rethinks the myth of Phaidra became a huge success: the performance, written and directed by Tasnádi, was awarded as the best independent theatre production by the Hungarian Theatre Critics’ Association and was invited to several international festivals.

With Cupido, Tasnádi continues what he began with Phaidra Fitness: he wrote and directed the performance himself. He does not belie his Bárka and Krétakör theatre self with his work methods either: it is obvious that the play has been written to the actors that assumes the kind of confidential theatre-making, which might be the biggest virtue of the system of companies – within a causal company. The text of the play was not completed intentionally, but it was formed by collective inspiration during the rehearsals.

Cupido analyses the crisis of the traditional family model, the constant rush of the society and the bond of sex, politics and economy, which is more and more emphasised. The story takes place in a swinger club where the husband and the wife go so they could heat up their marriage. It is their first time there, where they find a group of people who are already perfectly used to each other, and it turns out soon that the place is not only location of sexual but political power games as well.

Orlai Productions was founded by the businessman Tibor Orlai in 2006. Its aim is to produce performances and concerts that have not only artistic values but also the interest of a wide audience, and that are able to become successful in the sense of business as well. It mostly limits itself to quality popular culture but all of its productions have a social message. Orlai Productions is quite productive: it created eighteen productions in the last five years, among which there is puppet production for children, juvenile performance, film adaptation, musical night (actor-concert), classical boulevard-play, contemporary Hungarian and foreign play as well.

“Tasnádi István’s play, Cupido is based on an excellent idea: a few people gather in a swinger club and after some confusion, high and low points it turns out, that this forced freedom, this liberating shamelessness actually recreates what it is trying to break with, only in different combination. The lesson – i.e. the conclusion – is as good as the basic idea. The beginning is also good: the more ambitious wife, who is about to get sick of her husband, wants and gets this special night: they obviously don’t fit in, so after all the predictable and unpredictable turns they find themselves next to each other at dawn. But this is the dramatic tension itself, at least in an ideal case.” (Judit Csáki, Magyar Narancs)