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28 November -  8 December 2014


The Contemporary Drama Festival Budapest is organized this year for the 12th time, running between 28 November and 8 December. Besides foreign performances, an international conference, workshops, staged reading events, a round table talk and concerts, CDF presents the most progressive and most inspiring theatre performances and projects in its Hungarian Showcase, staying faithful to its original mission. These performances were selected out of the performances that have premiered in the last season and the beginning of the current season, based on the recommendations of a professional jury consisting of seven members.

Viktória Kulcsár (production manager), Ildikó Lőkös (dramaturg), Ákos Németh (playwright), Katalin Ágnes Szűcs (critic), István Ugrai (production manager), Balázs Urbán (critic) and Anikó Varga (critic) have chosen these performances, because these embrace progressivity in their aesthetical form and in their content, the ability for debate and reflection on reality. They compel the audience to ask questions. These performances carry hope and the belief in development and the future in themselves.

Could there be a better credo for a decade-long, and at this point, internationally acclaimed festival? Especially for a festival that is looking for the progressive in the contemporary. For a festival that has an unbroken belief in that there are such theatre workshops and such theatremakers existing, who want to talk about the current reality, who dare not to only talk about the beautiful, who reflect on the current social and political situation which they live in, who are familiar with the current means of theatre, who compel you for communication. These performances are uniquely Hungarian, but they drew up something universal, in other words, they are worth presenting to an international audience.

This year, the Festival pays particular attention to and creates several programmes focusing on young/new Hungarian performance writing and playwriting. You could see the stage adaptation of young playwright Csaba Mikó’s latest play. In the framework of a day-long event, professionals and young playwright entrants are going to discuss the present and the future of Hungarian playwriting, accompanied by reading extracts from these young playwrights’ works. The play Sztrodzsegon, written by László Potozky (who graduated at the University of Târgu-Mureş as a playwright), is going to be staged by Yorick Studio, directed by Aba Sebestyén. In the Festival Club, young theatre-lovers/professionals are going to have discussions with foreign translators of Hungarian plays, and also, you could be present at the launch of the book called DráMAI mesék: kortárs magyar gyerekdarabok (Dramatic Tales:  Contemporary Hungarian Children’s Plays).


Hungarian Showcase Programme

The basis of the festival is made out of the theatre performances reflecting on and reacting to our present, made either in city theatres, or in independent workshops. When we take a look at the directors, we could find not only the already world-wide acclaimed ones, but also the ones who have just entered the Hungarian theatre scene. Among the productions, there are going to be Hungarian performances, two foreign performances of Hungarian concern, and even a foreign guest performance.

The latter three performances are real highlights of the Hungarian Showcase Programme.

One of these performances is a highlight because it is a ‘first’ in the history of CDF: the audience can see the premiere of a contemporary Hungarian playwright’s drama as a guest performance from Germany for the first time. The aforementioned play is The Fatherless, written by Csaba Mikó, which is about an undiscussed question in Hungarian society, namely the interpretation and the construction of the past. Now, you can see The Fatherless in the production of Theater Regensburg, directed by Michael Lippold. In Germany Mikó Csaba became known in 2005, when his play the Father, or the Anatomy of a Murderer was produced as a staged reading production at the contemporary European drama section of the Heidelberger Stückmarkt – a theatre festival and forum for European contemporary drama – representing Hungary. With this play, he won the European Author Prize of the festival. In the next year the theatre of Heidelberg premiered the play. The translation was made by Arpad Dobriban and Stephanie Junge. Since then they are the main advocates of Mikó’s plays in Germany. They translated four of Mikó’s plays to German.

The other performance is important because productions of Hungarian-speaking theatres abroad are really rare to be seen in Budapest. GroundFloor Group is a really highly acclaimed and well-known company in Romania; they have received several awards and prizes for their works.  They often take part in national and international festivals, but they are not too well-known in Budapest yet. Their interdisciplinary performance is called Parallel, which deals with sexual identity. It has been co-directed by Ferenc Sinkó, actor of the National Hungarian Theatre in Cluj, and Leta Popescu, who has graduated as a director at the University of Cluj, and who is currently working in Hungary with K2 Theatre. (Their co-production is to be expected in December 2014.)

Let’s just see what the other performances are about in a few words:

The Government Inspector, directed by Viktor Bodó, shows the nature of corruption, adapting the original play to the current Hungarian situation. Emma Bovary (played by Emőke Kiss-Végh) is telling a story about the mindset of a married woman. Foam of the Days, by the University of Theatre and Film Arts, goes against the Hungarian theatre traditions, with the use of cartoon like elements, pop cult references it speaks about really important questions concerning the youth. No Place for the Likes of You, performance of the Mohácsi brothers, compels us to remember the victims of World War II. Forte Company asks questions about tolerance in their performance The Clearing. Diary of the Guy at the Deli Counter is a fantastic puppet-monodrama performed by András Ötvös; it is about love, rigidness, life and dead meat. Anybodyanytime, the new production by Béla Pinter, presents us the designer drug called LIFE. The young creators of Citizenship confront their audience with the shortcomings of their order of values. Concert-theatre piece Hungari, created by Péter Kárpáti, discusses the topic of immigration based on chat logs and blog posts. Long Day’s Journey into Night, Sándor Zsótér’s performance in Kecskemét, shows us the deterioration of a seemingly idyllic American family - in a manner that is really familiar to us. Slovakian performance artist-director Sláva Daubnerová’s performance Untitled was inspired by photographs made by an American photographer with a tragic fate; its theme is transiency.


Visitors’ Programme

The Contemporary Drama Festival Budapest was created in 1997 with the aim to facilitate cooperation and dialogue between Hungarian and international theatre professionals. The main goal of the organizers has not changed since the very beginning: to promote Hungarian theatre on an international market and to give professionals a chance to meet each other, and to possibly invite Hungarian theatres to introduce themselves abroad, allowing the creation of co-productions and long-term collaborations.

This year we are expecting 22 theatre professionals (theatre critics, theatrologists, artistic directors, dramaturgs and curators, artistic directors from theatre festivals) as our guests, who have the possibility and opportunity to see the performances selected by our Festival Jury with English surtitles or simultaneous English translation.

In the Hungarian theatre scene, the Visitors’ Programme is the first initiative of its kind, which has helped several Hungarian companies and performances to achieve international success, and we are happy and proud to announce that we are continuing the program, and we are hosting renowned theatre professionals and creators from all over the world.

This year, the members of the Visitors’ Programme have the possibility to visit the Desiré Central Station International Regional Contemporary Theatre Festival in Subotica, Serbia and the Interferences International Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania as a result to the collaboration of the three festivals. This way, they can get a clearer picture about the region’s theatrical tendencies.


International Conference and Workshops

On December 5, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, in co-operation with the CDF, is holding an international conference accompanied by workshops, as a professional programme of the festival, in Jurányi Art Incubator House, titled Culture for Free? – Hope for a New Theatre, or the Theatre of Hope?

In the first part of the day-long conference, there are two panels with international participants. In the second part, in the afternoon, the participants can choose from two simultaneously held workshops.

The first panel is going to be opened by the presentation of the director of Holzmarkt Cooperative, Berlin, which is followed by a round-table talk about self-sustainable culture production and creation. After that, there is a discussion about the theatre of hope (which is also the slogan of the festival this year), with both national and international participants. In the afternoon, one workshop is going to give the opportunity for participants (PR, press and customer service officers of Hungarian theatres) to get to know the promotional possibilities given by digital media and web 2.0. The other workshop is going to be held by the Lifeboat Unit of Sputnik Shipping Company about a new genre they invented, the theatre boardgame in connection with their new performance Sociopoly.


Discussions about the Future of Hungarian Playwriting

On 29 November, the CDF is organizing discussions about a really interesting topic, the future of Hungarian playwriting. It can be heard really often how hard the situation is for contemporary plays in Hungary, and that there are only few premieres and few opportunities for young playwrights to introduce themselves. However, there are people claiming the opposite, that several talented young people emerge, who have the opportunity to present their plays in either city theatres or in the independent scene. They are being helped out by dramaturgs and famous playwrights, creating many forums for them, even within institutionalized frameworks. Dramaturg Ildikó Lőkös is going to talk to András Forgách, Péter Horváth, Péter Kárpáti, Tibor Solténszky and László Upor, who are going to introduce one of their students each. In between the discussions, the actors of K2 Theatre are going to read excerpts of plays written by young dramatists. As the highlight of the evening, the audience can see the world premiere of Sztrodzsegon, a play written by László Potozky (who graduated as a playwright in Târgu Mureş).


Industry Series

Due to the big success last year, we are going to organize the Industry Series this year, too. This year, the festival also gives an opportunity to those theatremakers, whose works have been mentioned by the jury in the selection process as contenders, but have not become a part of the final line-up of the Hungarian Showcase, to present their performances in the framework of presentations to the foreign guests of the festival. This way, new relationships and collaborations might set off between Hungarian and international theatres and companies.


Festival Club

This year’s Festival Club, hosted at Auróra, a community place that has opened freshly, is organized by the interns and volunteers of the festival, who are all taking part in higher education, learning arts and theatre. In the programme series,  that run daily from the afternoon to late night,  among others,  the book DráMAI mesék: kortárs magyar gyerekdarabok (Dramatic Tales:  Contemporary Hungarian Children’s Plays)  is going to be presented to the audience and there is going to be an afternoon of improvisational theatre thanks to Momentán Junior (At The Moment Junior). Also, young music bands are going to be introduced, with Hungarian actor band Harmadik Figyelmeztetés (Third Warning) also having a gig. The Closing Party is going to be held by the band Sonar Bistro.

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