They say the best way to get to know each other is to go on a trip. The best way to get to know contemporary theatre is to go to the Theatre Olympics.
This year the Hungarian capital has rightly become the theatre capital of the world: not only flags from many countries have gathered here (given the variety of languages spoken in the auditorium – people from all over the world come here), but also all genres of theatre and related arts. Here one rejoices in the vivid theatrical experiences that swept across the city, just like the opening ceremony of the Theatre Olympiad itself, which was an immersive journey. What makes this place sad, however, is the realization that it is impossible to embrace the immensity (more than 750 events and performances). In choosing one thing you automatically deny yourself the other, but each time you become convinced that you have made the right choice.
The energy of the theatre transforms the city, the audience, spaces and even time. Here the time stretches (it is possible to prolong a beautiful moment), then it contracts (when you understand that the performance has already ended and it will never be encored). Journey, movement, travelling are the dominant features of the Theatre Olympics in Hungary. It seems that the theatre has finally emerged from quarantine and lockdown and set out to wander freely through the city, the country and people’s minds and souls. It is not a journey for a clear purpose, not a wandering after the Golden Fleece. The process is more important than the result, and the game is more important than the victory. That is the essence of theatre.
But the peculiarity is that forgetting about winning and not striving for concrete result and striving to the unknown you end up with both victory and result. It refers both to the creators of performances and their spectators who rush into this theatrical path with childlike directness and faith in the best. Perhaps that is why one of the highlights of the Theatre Olympics was the performance Young Barbarians directed by Attila Vidnyánszky Jr., a play-adventure, improvisation, a play-journey without beginning and end, without route or destination, without borders or limits.
Young Barbarians is based on Miklós Vecsei H’s text and the improvisation of the actors. The story is based on the true story of the friendship between two pillars of Hungarian national music – Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. The title of the performance refers to Béla Bartók’s Allegro Barbaro and corresponds to its rapid pace. But even if you have never heard of these composers or their music, Attila Vidnyánszky, director and artistic director of the 10th Theatre Olympics, will definitely fall in love with Hungarian music. Young Barbarians is a reckless spectacle of youth and expression, lively theatre energy and the vitality of music. And as you know, there is as much art in every art as there is music in it. Here, TOKOS band, whose music by Dávid Mester resonates in the memory long after the performance, is responsible for the musical passions…