Hungarian Acacia is full of irony, Divadelná Nitra welcomes the REaction

06.09.2018 09:09

An extraordinarily humorous piece – a spoofery grasp of everyday political marketing – will be presented by 5 Hungarian Performers, including a leading duo Kristóf Kelemen and Bence György Pálinkás, at the International Festival Divadelná Nitra 2018. With production Hungarian Acacia they will be presented for the first time at the festival, which will start on September 28 and will be held till October 3 this year.

The very idea that started the creation of the production is reaction to political development in Hungary, but also a deep probe into the myths of Hungarian society. Divadelná Nitra Festival, as part of the thematic game with the prefixes and syllables of the RE concept, connected the production Hungarian Acacia with the same thematic term REaction. 

The basis for the satirical production is extremely simple: while the European Union has included the false acacia in the list of invasive species to be eradicated, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán fights for it. The Hungarians consider the species, which arrived from North America 300 years ago, to be their national tree.

"Modest requirements for soil conditions, the rapid growth and the versatile use of the above-mentioned species were reasons for the black locust to become one of the most favourite trees for the Hungarians and it occupies almost a quarter of the total forest cover. That is why, despite the possible negative impact on the environment, it is an important tree. Moreover, it is exceptionally durable wood. However, it does not only bring benefits to the economy of the country, but it is also a source of inspiration for Hungarian writers and visual artists. Together with acacia honey the false acacia became a national symbol, included in the Hungarian collection of values Hungarikum," says Ján Balaj, one of the main programme curators of the Divadelná Nitra.

Performers start a pseudo-political action based on the reality staging. By actions shifted to the border of absurdity, they "fight" for the black locust. Recordings of their real activity as civil activists, which form the backdrop of theatre production Hungarian Acacia, are projected over the theatre stage, which is covered with clay and full of plants.

The example of devoted actions by creators is planting acacia in the middle of winter in one of the Hungarian national parks. They found that there was no single acacia in the whole park.
"To understand this production, you do not need any special knowledge of botany; production does not concern environmental issues either. But it clearly points out how the various ideologies, which misuse the scientific facts in their arguments (excluded from the context), use the acacia tree to enforce their opinions or to justify their interests," wrote Kitti Gosztola, a Hungarian artist, about the production in Artmagazin.

"In the end, however, the work of a group of young creators can be perceived in a much wider context. It is paradoxical that the national symbol of the country, where the xenophobic relationship to racial and ethnic minorities grows stronger, is an alien plant. Based on the example of the false acacia, creators are talking about ways of migration, inclusion and isolation, which are also related to the current negative attitude of a significant part of society towards the recruitment of migrants from the Near East," says Ján Balaj.

Kristóf Kelemen, the leading star of the Hungarian theatre company, is at the forefront of a group of 5 performers. In his previous work, he has took part in various theatre projects – from classical and contemporary drama, through documentary and physical theatre, to opera, musical and performances with homeless people. The visual artist Bence György Pálinkás devoted himself to modern movements of fine arts. His interactive installation Multifilter, in which the viewer by his movement in the space turned on and changed the sound of individual stories from five televisions and sound channels, was also introduced in Kosice White Night 2012.

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