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A MARKET DAY
Cast: Dorina MARTINOVICS, Csilla RADNAY, András PÁL, Ádam POROGI, Rozi LOVAS
Eliza SODRÓ, György GAZSÓ, József KELEMEN, Zsolt LÁSZLÓ, Zoltán SCHNEIDER, Gábor RÓBERT, Árpád NÉMEDI, Bettina JÓZSA / Anna BOROS, Benett VILMÁNYI
Márton KOVÁCS violin
Csaba GYULAI percussion/gadulka
Ádám Móser accordion
Árpád NÉMEDI dulcimer
Dramaturg: István MOHÁCSI
Costume Design: Kriszta REMETE
Stage Design: Zsolt KHELL
Lights: Sándor BAUMGARTNER
Music: Márton KOVÁCS
Assistant Director: Zsófi ARI
Director: JÁNOS MOHÁCSI
Date I saw This Show: 1 December, 2019
What I Saw
Performed with English surtitles on December 1 (the day after the festival concluded) A Market Day was included as an optional, suggested addendum to the dunaPart offerings. A handful of American colleagues and I were lucky to catch the performance on our last night before departing Budapest. A Market Day, based on true events and adapted from a contemporary Hungarian novel, is set in 1946, just as the war has ended and a few of the surviving Jews are returning to their village in the Hungarian countryside. The play tells the story of the town’s response to their return, with predictable and sobering results. Mob rule, animated by fear and prejudice, give way to vigilante justice as history is repeated in a violent pogrom.
The production is a triumph of ensemble virtuosity. The entire cast of eighteen (fourteen actors and four musicians) are on stage for the whole production and collaboratively tell the story of this fictive town. The bare stage has little more than wood benches and chairs as set. It is bordered by long wooden planks that hang vertically around the stage perimeter which are used by actors and musicians as a kind of giant xylophone—creating complex soundscapes and percussion that underscore and sew the transitions together. In staging and in story this production reminded me very much of Rebecca Taichman and Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which employed similar ensemble techniques and brought together actors and live musicians to tell the story. The production was not flawless (the story ranges, the stage was crowded for the number of performers, and two hours and twenty minutes is too long a run time not to have an interval), but it was beautifully told and the lead performance by Csilla Radnay was pitch perfect.
Postscript: A Market Day will be coming to the States and performed at HERE in NYC in 2020.
About the Artist
The eponym of the theater of Nagymező Street has been watching the visitors of the institution in his long coat and with hands in pockets since 2009 now. However, this is not the only reason as to why Radnóti Theater is an interesting product of the capital’s theater scene: the titles on the repertoire, marked by the names of Chekhov, Gogol or Ibsen, do not necessarily suggest that “wild and modern”, progressive characteristic that gives the spice of Nagymező Street’s theater. Their primary goal is to strike a balance between various directions and classic traditions while keeping up a modern approach. Each year, the theater offers four premieres, and eight plays in its repertoire.