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First Hungarian Theater Festival Announced

First Hungarian Theater Festival Announced

Top Hungarian theaters bringing their performances, concerts and workshops to New York City in June.

Some of the most renowned theater productions from Hungary are coming to New York this June to participate in the first-ever Hungarian theater festival in the City. Titled Hungary Live Festival, the five-day long event dedicated to the most exciting theater in Hungary. The Festival will take place between June 23 and 27 in various venues around the City including the Abrons Arts Center, LaMaMa ETC and Nublu 151.

The productions and other events (with the exception of k2 Company's 'Moonstone') will be performed in English. Tickets and RSVP available on the festival's website at

Hungary Live Festival is the first Hungarian theater festival in New York, and will be the home of several Hungarian theater productions as well as panel discussions, acting workshops and two unique concerts.

The Hungary Live Festival's lineup will include three theater performances: 'Ghetto Sheriff' by the Örkény Theater, 'Moonstone' by the k2 Company and a special 'concert-theatre' piece titled 'Searching Hands' written by renowned Hungarian writer George Konrád, conceived by Róbert Alföldi and Márton Kovács and performed by Adam Boncz. The Festival will also include two concerts by the Szakertok ('Experts') band and the BEKVART band, and will feature a unique panel discussion titled 'Hungary In Focus' about the differences and similarities between contemporary Hungarian and American theater. During the festival interested actors may also participate in a free acting workshop led by Hungarian actress Esztella Levkó.

The idea of the Hungary Live Festival was conceived two years ago, when one of Hungary's most exciting new theater companies, the k2 Company, traveled to the New York City to do research on Hungarian immigrants who had left Hungary around the revolution in 1956. On their return to Hungary, k2 Company's actress Anna Boros was so inspired by the journey, that she came up with the idea of a one-of-a-kind Hungarian theater festival in New York that would build a cultural bridge between the two continents. The long-term goal of the festival is to organize a bi-annual event in order to strengthen the connection between the two nations through their shared cultural experiences.

Hungary Live Festival also aims to open an ongoing cultural dialogue and inspire artistic influence between the two countries. It is the explicit goal of the festival to reach a wider audience beyond the Hungarian-speaking population of New York City and introduce Hungarian theater to all art-loving New Yorkers, therefore most of the productions and events (with the exception of k2 Company's 'Moonstone') will be performed in English.

The Hungary Live Festival was made possible with generous support from the NKA National Cultural Fund of Hungary, Balassi Institute in New York, Consulate General of Hungary in New York, Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C., Ministry of Human Capacities, Hangfoglaló Program, EMIH, Thalia Theater, Orlai Produkciós Iroda, Summa Arcium, Performer's Rights Protection Association Office, TMU Trust for Mutual Understanding, LOT Airlines, Abrons Arts Center, Pilvax Plaxers, Erzsébet Molnár Rajec, Gábor Lammel, Hybrid M?vészeti és Kultúrális Nonprofit KFT.

Poster design by Anna Korolovszky


"Ghetto Sheriff" presented by the Örkény Theatre (Budapest), directed by János Mohácsi

Wed, June 27 at 7:30 PM

Abrons Arts Center

Tickets: $20

Performed in English

How can we talk about the biggest trauma of the 20th century, the Holocaust? According to the renowned director, János Mohácsi and his former students, we can do so with the help of Jewish jokes and songs, documents from the 30's and 40's, and by reciting them - in pitch darkness.

The texts were selected by János Mohácsi and the actors, predominantly from personal reminiscences: Texts from the film "Shoah" by Claude Lanzmann, case studies, survivor testimonies, literary works, diary notes, historical sources, official reports and personal collections to evoke the historical period and the mood of the time.

The piece was produced in 2012 as a coproduction of Faculty of Arts of Kaposvár University and FÜGE, one of the leading production houses in Budapest for independent performing arts. Soon it became one of the most famous productions in the country. In 2013 the production received an award by the Hungarian Association of Theatre Critics for Best Independent Performance and Best Music, and in the same year it was programmed in the Hungarian Showcase 2013. FÜGE took care of its distribution until 2016, since then it has been regularly presented at the Örkény István Theatre. The play has been performed in several locations, both in Budapest and all around Hungary.

The review of Fidelio noted: At the end of the Ghetto Sheriff performance, we stand up and quietly leave. János Mohacsi again did a brilliant job. But there is no clapping because it is not possible to say Thank You for what we have just heard."

Revizor Online praised the show: " For the darkness of the history János Mohácsi and his cast had to create the darkness of the theatre. Darkness without interval - this is the motif of the Ghetto Sheriff."

Creator: János Mohácsi

Creator-Performers: Eszter Bánfalvi, Csilla Radnay, Ádám Lábodi, Anna Boros, Tamás Keresztény, Máté Lakatos, Bálint Formán, Árpád Némedi, Nóra Rainer-Micsinyei, Diána Nóra Takács, Hella Tolnai and Márton Kovács.

"Moonstone," presented by k2 Theatre (Budapest), directed by Bence Benkó and Péter Fábián

Tue, June 26 at 7:30 PM

Abrons Arts Center

Tickets: FREE (RSVP required)

Performed in Hungarian

What does "collision of cultures" actually mean? The separation from the parent body which leaves an impact on the foreign hostile environment as well as in the following generations? What kind of political and psychological environment had been in Hungary when the revolution broke out sixty years ago? Furthermore, can one expect a similar situation in the near future? Can one actually do anything if one wants to change the present situation? What are adequate forms of resistance? As young theater architects, the creators of 'Moonstone' seek the answers to these questions through the collections and recordings of the personal stories of the survivors of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution who emigrated to America. These interviews were conducted in September 2016 in New York. The purpose of this particular performance is to bring the spirit of 1956's Revolution close to our generation. The dramatization of individual stories and destinies will bring the events of the 1956 Revolution and the War of Independence home to younger generations.

Moonstone is created by Anna Boros, Dániel Borsányi, Zsolt Domokos, Szabolcs Horváth, Emoke Piti.

Music by Szabolcs Horváth.

Poems by Péter Závada.

Directed by Bence Benkó and Péter Fábián

"Searching Hands" by George Konrád, performed by the Szakertok ('Experts') Band and Adam Boncz

Sun, June 24th at 7:30 PM

La MaMa ETC*, Ellen Stewart Theatre

Summer Shares at La Mama*

Tickets: FREE (RSVP required)

Performed in English

*Summer Shares at La MaMa makes theatre spaces available to artists for non-curated productions

George Konrád, the writer of the text of this special 'concert theatre' is one of the well-known figures of contemporary Hungarian literature. Konrád's prose begins at that notorious Wannsee Conference, where cool, calm and sober gentleman decide the fate of the European Jews and their actual destruction. Konrád seeks the answers to the questions: how do we become killers of our own kind? What brings a man to destroy another? Meanwhile he shares stories about his childhood: how he witnessed, as the sky first became grey in his hometown, then turned black and how obscurities, peculiar coincidences, timings, travels back and forth, saved his life eventually, while his relatives almost became victims of that dark age. In this special 'concert-theater' Adam Boncz and the Szakertok ('Experts') Band's concert talk about time, history, like a storyteller reminding the audience of the importance to remember.


Szakertok ('Experts') concert

Sat, June 23rd at 9:00 PM
at Nublu 151

Tickets: FREE (required RSVP)

The Szakertok ('Experts') Band's is one of the most unique musical groups of Hungary. Their repertoire is influenced by the Hungarian, Balkan, Gypsy and Jewish cultures as well as many contemporary international composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

The band was founded in Kaposvár, Hungary at Csiky Gergely Theater in 2000 while they were accompanists for a performance titled 'Just a Nail' directed by János Mohácsi. In the following years they appeared in many theater productions across the country both as musicians and as actors (5606-Mad Soul, Defeated Troops, The Villain of the Village, Yellow Lilly, Devils, You Live Only Once - National Theater of Budapest). Simultaneously, they started touring with their own concerts performing original songs composed by Márton Kovács.

Their New York concert will feature songs that are an integral part of the performances presented at the Festival, but will also feature a different flair as they reinterpret them in a unique and exciting way by creating a new orchestration which fits a larger band. Their music also reveals how close Hungary is to New York. The Szakertok ('Experts') band proves that folk music knows no boundaries and that 'wandering people' help beautiful melodies get anywhere.

As a nod to the multicultural dialogue represented in the Festival, they will be joined on stage by two great American musicians: Matt Darriau and Jessica Lurie.

The musicians of the Szakertok ('Experts') band are: Béla Ágoston, Tamás Bárány, Tibor Bodor "Teskó", Gábor Csíkvár, Attila Kápolnás, Márton Kovács, Árpád Némedi, Tamás Rozs, Tamás Sebesi, Ákos Zságer-Varga

Vocals: Csilla Radnay, Eszter Bánfalvi, Nikolett Pankovits

Guest artists: Matt Darriau, Jessica Lurie

BEKVART concert

Mon, June 25th at 9:00 PM

at Nublu 151

Tickets: FREE (required RSVP)

The BEKVART band also know as the 'Bánfalvi Eszter Quartett' was founded in 2010 by students majoring in acting at the University of Kaposvár. The band self-defines their style as 'pick up the girls' rock. The members of the BEKVART band are all young Hungarian actors which also defines the style of their on-stage performance - there are 6-10 performers, many of them playing on several instruments in order to make the show more exciting.
In 2018 the group released its first album titled „The Seventh Year", and they have just premiered their first music video of their song 'Spritzermann'.

The BEKVART band includes: Ádám Lábodi, Bálint Formán, Tamás Keresztény, Szabolcs Horváth, Beno Fehér Balázs, Rozi Lovas, Sámuel Miksa Garami

Special Events:

"Hungary In Focus" panel discussion moderated by Tamás Jászay

Mon, June 25th at 7:00 PM

Abrons Arts Center

Tickets: FREE (RSVP required)

The discussion will be in English

On June 25th the Hungary Live Festival will present an evening of discussion on the similarities, differences and challenges of today's contemporary Hungarian and American theatre scene. Listening to the experiences of leading theater professionals from both Hungary and the United States, we will get a closer look at structural differences, the trials and tribulations of art financing and the life of a theater artist in both countries.

The discussion is moderated by Tamás Jászay

"Intensive Acting Workshop" led by Esztella Levkó

Mon, June 25th and Tue, June 26th at 10:00AM - 2:00PM

Abrons Arts Center

Tickets: FREE (RSVP required)

The workshop is held in English

The 2-day intensive workshop offers participants the opportunity to learn about a type of theatrical method in which the body is a dynamic, instinctive and honest tool. Its essence is to develop body-consciousness, non-verbal stage expression tools, and stage presence. In addition to physical, rhythm, and team building exercises, live music improvisation will be an important part of the work
Through the various physical exercises, a kind of openness and sensitivity develops within the actor to the physical expression of creative spiritual impulses. The goal is to make our bodies and our movements the primary expression tool in the work, through which we form thoughts, emotions, and relationships with our partners.

Methods applied and taught at the workshop are based on movement, physicality, and music; a kind of theatrical language that transcends cultures. The method is a set of experiences and impulses that have shaped Ms. Levkó's work, both as an actor and a trainer. A significant part of these are the techniques employed by W. Staniewski (OPT Gardzienice leader) and J. Grotowski.
The work is challenging physically, emotionally, and mentally while it stimulates an intuitive and radical search that is different from the text-based acting applied in classical theater and from dance theatre. This is a form of theatre approach in which gestures, impulses, and live music form a whole.


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