Trill Zsolt, Vass Magdolna és Rácz József

Impressions of the 30-year-old Transcarpathian Regional Hungarian Drama Theatre

The Transcarpathian Regional Hungarian Drama Theatre, founded in 1993, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, which will also be commemorated as part of the 10th MITEM. Speaking of which, we asked the theater’s three artists, the founder Zsolt Trill, as well as Magdolna Vass and József Rácz.

– As one of the founders of the theater, how do you evaluate the past three decades?

Zsolt Trill: As in human life, events in the history of theater did not always go according to plan. We have experienced many beautiful and good things in the past three decades, but the current situation can only get better.

– What do you most like to think back to?

ZST: Definitely for the beginning. We practically entered a vacuum and we had no idea how things would turn out. Even then, Ukrainian and Hungarian relations were uncertain, but we knew what we wanted, we did our job, and in the first years we were completely happy. It was a lucky combination on the part of the members, because we had nothing else to worry about but the theater.

Magdolna Vass: I came to the theater five years after it was established, which practically became my family. I have a lot of memories, but perhaps I remember the Three Sisters performance the most. For years, we could only rehearse in a small room, read to each other from the drama and try to find the opening of the performance.

József Rácz: I have also been a member since 1998. I remember that in the early 2000s, we didn’t get the promised actors’ apartments, and I simply moved into the theater for 14 years, so I didn’t even have to leave after one performance. It was a difficult time, but I think of it fondly.

– What can the company give to the Hungarian community living there?

JR: It means incredible to the people who live here that there is a place where they can meet the culture in their native language. It is something that is theirs that no one can take away from them. They can claim it as their own and feel that they belong somewhere. Incidentally, this was also one of Attila Vidnyánszky’s main motivations at the start.

MV: Our viewers must know that they can count on us. Already in the first period of the theater, a theater-loving audience was formed, who today bring their children to the performances, which is a great joy. Our task is to be able to break people out of everyday life even in the most difficult situations. By the way, we have a children’s performance that we can also perform in a bunker. This is a great experience for them and maybe we will alleviate something of their fear.

– How do you see and how do you want to see the future?

ZST: I would like to see as many dedicated young actors as possible who imagine their future here, because they are the key to the survival of Hungarian-language acting. And it is our task to find this supply from the Transcarpathian communities. This is the Hungarian theater’s only chance.

MV: I would be happy if this family, including the spectators, were to expand, and everyone would have the opportunity to hear Hungarian spoken in this theater for many years to come. I wish that the children who come to us now will be able to bring their own children to the Transcarpathian Regional Hungarian Drama Theater in the same way. They will be able to tell them how they experienced the theater and what performances they saw. 

JR: I hope that we will be able to return home one day, since the outbreak of the war we have not been able to do so together with several company members. As Zsolt says, the most important thing would be if the young people can find their place in Transcarpathia. It won’t depend on me, I want to play even when we celebrate the next thirty years.

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