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King Oedipus by Sophocles and Jon Fosse

The Csiky Gergely Theatre’s (Kaposvár) performance

Location: National Theatre, Kaszás Attila Hall

Date: 2 December 2010. 5 pm.

75 minutes without a break

in Hungarian with English subtitles




Pál Kocsis, István Znamenák, Zsolt Kovács, Virág Csapó, László Szula, József Kelemen, István Gyuricza, Ibolya Csonka, Zita Horváth, Panni Rácz, Eleonóra Tóth, Árpád Némedi, Oszkár Nyári, János Sarkadi Kiss, Egyed Serf

Translator: Csilla Mária Krisár

Set design: Viola Fodor

Costumes: Kriszta Remete

Music: Tamás Rozs

Assistant to the Director: Mónika Hatvani

Director: Gábor Rusznyák

„The secret of Rusznyák’s directing is that while he is going against Jon Fosse’s text, he is also working together with it in the same time. The carefully considered, hermetically closed performance, which is pure, simple and elaborated in every detail, creates or rather rewrites the cultural context by means of the senses, which evokes the origin of the myth, but is also separated by being located to an ageless past.” (Melánia Miklós, Revizor)

Gabor Rusznyak is one of the most significant members of the mid-generation of Hungarian directors, who has never belonged to the Hungarian mainstream theatre until now. He was born in 1976, graduated as a teacher in 1994, than as a theatre director in 2000. Between 2000 and 2001 he was a member of Vigszinhaz, one of Hungary’s biggest municipal theatres. From 2002 to 2003 he was an artist of the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj, the most important Hungarian theatre in Transylvania, and between 2003 and 2010 he has been director then artistic director of Csiky Gergely Szinhaz in Kaposvar. His shows’ main features are the analytical attitude, the new approach of classical texts, the new horizons of interpretation and the continuous reflecting to the contemporary reality.

The theatre of Kaposvar, a city with a population of 70000, was built in 1911 and has a permanent company since 1955. Csiky Gergely Szinhaz is the most important location of the theatrical history of the seventies: the processes that marked the world theatre of the fifties had arrived to Hungary here. Besides the modernity in forms, the performances of Kaposvar involved a veiled protestation against the communist regime. The theatre was hallmarked by such artists of international repute as Laszlo Babarczy, Tamas Ascher or Gabor Zsambeki. The most significant theatre of the last decades of the century, Katona Jozsef Szinhaz was formed by members of Csiky Gergely Szinhaz in 1982.
Nowadays, the theatre of Kaposvar is trying to find its own ways and profile. Laszlo Babarczy, who was managing the company for 30 years, retired in 2007, and since then moderate success and ambivalent seasons has defined the theatre: there were both commercial shows of doubtful value and art theatre productions could be found in the repertory as well; for instance, Anatoly Vasilev was directing in Kaposvar in 2009.

The show King Oedipus is using both Sophocles’ text and Jon Fosse’s rewrite, and tells the story of Oedipus in a 75-minute-long, ageless thriller. The show, built by the union of text, motion (quasi choreography) and music, could easily be referred to the present and any other ages. Besides this agelessness plenty of cultural overtones, like Viola Fodor’s staggered amphitheatre-like but rectangular set, make the reception more complicated to the audience. (Status)symbols – bones, pipes, bells, shields, etc. – hanging from the gallery, being moved by the staff in golden masks (gods, playing with humans?) give a ritual character to the stage setting. In the course of time the emblematic objects define the rank and class of every character – the internal need of decoding the symbols and the widening and/but simplification of meaning is able to keep the spectator in constant intellectual excitement. Although the production does not let one go with mere textual parallels and overtones. Rusznyak makes it clear that he is not only speaking to us but about us: we are the people of Theba, members of the chorus are sitting among us, Theiresias and the two shepherds who once had nursed Oedipus arrive (and return) from the auditorium. The show is an accurate and consistent, and hermetically closed aesthetic system and an exciting crime story as well.