1956-2016: A Festive Comedy
November 4, 2016 8.15pm (doors: 8pm)
Manhattan Movement and Arts Center | 248 West 60th Street, New York | (Subway to Columbus Circle or Lincoln Center)
1956 -1968 -1980
Pro Progressione - Culture in Progress, Balassi Institute - Hungarian Cultural Center with the Consulate General of Hungary in New York present 1956-2016: A Festive Comedy. 1956, 1968 and 1980 were years of anti-Soviet popular uprisings in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Each shook the system of informal empire to its core and laid bare the oppression that alone could uphold the dictatorial regimes. On the day of the defeat of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the New York premiere of the piece will revisit the heroism and the ambivalence of these years. Featuring new work from Krisztián Gergye, one of the most prominent contemporary dance choreographers,1956-2016 asks a piercing, deeply disturbing pair of questions: how can heroism remain viable as a political attitude and how can remembrance continue to function in the mediatized and relativizing environment of the late modern sign economy.
Further contributors to the program include composer Péter Zombola, writer András Pályi, visual artist Erzsébet Vojnich, photographer Dániel Dömölky, Artlocator's Udeme Etentuk and Accord Quartet. With the very special participation of operatic soprano phenomenon Viktória Vizin.
1956-2016: A Festive Comedy
Conceived and produced on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the events of 1956, this Gesamtkunstwerk production evokes the atmosphere of the days of the revolution. In addition to Hungary, the anti-communist revolutions and uprisings of the region are also represented, highlighting the common pool of experiences that have shaped Central Europe. The creators seek to explore the possibilities of a dialogue between the present and such events of history which no longer have a relevance for current politics but which have not yet receded into the mist of memory — with the participation of artists for whom the period of Soviet rule is already “history. Dancing amidst the stage installation, Erzsébet Vojnich’s paintings made for this piece specifically, featuring an extract from Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine and excerpts from texts by Péter Nádas and Tibor Hajas, meandering along the border between theatre and performance art, this piece and its characters cross multiple iron curtains between blocs of countries, past and present, as well as genres in the arts.
Viktoria Vizin is an internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano whose has performed, inter alia, at the Metropolitan Opera, the Hungarian State Opera House and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She has attracted widespread attention through her interpretation of Carmen, and has gone on to create a broad artistic portfolio by involvements in multiple other genres.
Accord Quartet was formed in 2001 by four students of the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest. They went on to win several national and international prizes, including as the 1st prize of the Brahms Competition and the Junior Prima Prize. From 2012 on, the members of Accord Quartet have started to teach at the college level and to give master classes in Hungary, Japan and the US.
A student of biology, Anita Barabás turned to dance while studying at the Eötvös University of Budapest. Between 2004 and 2011 she was a dancer in the Dance Dimensions - Modern Dance Company in Budapest. Since 2011 she has taught dance and ballet for kids aged between 3-18. Currently she is a member of the MU Terminal Contemporary Dance Company.
Eszter Bánfalvi studied in Budapest, Hungary and in Kansas in the United States. Between 1999 and 2001 she worked at the New Theatre in Budapest. She graduated from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest. She subsequently joined the ensemble of the Hungarian National Theatre under the leadership of Róbert Alföldi. After the management change at the National Theater, she became a freelance artist. Since 2014 she has been working with the troupe of the Weöres Sándor Theatre in Szombathely, Hungary.
Kelemen Barna Bányai
Kelemen Barna Bányai attended high school and subsequently graduated from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Targu Mures, Romania. Between 2006 and 2015 he worked at the the National Theater in Targu Mures. In 2015 he relocated to Hungary and joined the Weöres Sándor Theatre in Szombathely, Hungary.
Tamás Rétfalvi studied with Gábor Máté, a legendary instructor at the University of Theater and Film Arts in Budapest, where he graduated in 2012. Since then he has been a member of the Radnóti Theatre in Budapest. In 2014, he was awarded the Junior Prima price of Hungary.
During his high school years he was studying event planning and programming. For a short time he was working as a graphic designer. He studied visual communication and design at The University of Applied Arts in Budapest. He started dancing under the influence of Rita Deák Varga, director of choreographing. He works together with several dance and theater companies in Hungary.
Péter Zombola (Music)
Péter Zombola is a Hungarian composer. Several works by him have been premiered at foreign and Hungarian music festivals. He composes film and incidental music, as well. He was a doctoral student of musical composition at the Liszt Academy of Music between 2006 and 2009, where he received his DLA in 2010. He teaches at the Faculty of Voice Performance and Music at the University of Theater and Film Arts and at Eszterházy Károly University while working as the artistic coordinator for the Symphonic Orchestra of the Hungarian Public Radio (MR).
Pályi András (Dramaturgy)
András Pályi is a writer and translator. He has also worked as a dramaturg and journalist. His achievements have been recognized with multiple domestic and international awards. He has garnered attention in Hungary also as the translator of Witold Gombrowicz and Adam Michnik. A former president of the Hungarian Association of Fiction Writers, he has published fiction himself, but also essays and other prose works.
Erzsébet Vojnich (Visual Art)
Erzsébet Vojnich was born in 1953 in Budapest. She attended vocational secondary school for arts and crafts and went on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. She was a member of the legendary collective Studio of Young Artists who left their mark on the subversive neo-avantgarde of the late socialist period. She is the recipient of numerious prize, including the Derkovits scholarship, the highest honor for young artists at the time, the Munkácy Prize and the Prima Primissima Award. An artist with noted collectors, she has been the participant of important group shows abroad and in Hungary
Dániel Dömölky (Photography)
Dániel Dömölky is a photographer, visual artist who graduated in 2009 from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art’s Architecture Department. Currently Dömölky is working as freelance photographer in the field of theater, dance, art documentary, commercial, architecture and conceptual photography.
Krisztián Gergye (Director, Choreographer)
Krisztián Gergye is a director, choreographer, dancer and actor. Since 2001 he has created performances, first as one-off projects, later with regular co-creators and finally with his own Company. He frequently includes contemporary opera singers in his pieces and also contributes as dancer to concerts, contemporary dance operas, drama and opera pieces. His work is distinguished by its focus on the spiritual as expressed in movement. He has guest performed with most of the first tier Hungarian dance ensembles while winning several prizes both for his creative work and as a performer. As a choreographer, he was twice nominated the Rudolf Lábán Prize, while in 2008 he was named the Year’s Best Choreographer by the Association of Hungarian Dance Artists. He has been a dancer with the ensemble of the National Theater and for French-Hungarian star choreographer Pál Frenák.
US performances of 1956-2016 are sponsored by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight 60th Anniversary Memorial Board.