All images by Csaba Mészáros
Sea Lavender (Or, The Euphoria of Being)
Directed by Réka Szabó
Performed by: Emese Cuhorka, Éva Fahidi
What I Saw
Sea Lavender was a movement exploration across boundaries of generations, memory, and trauma. I saw a 90-year-old woman dancing with a young adult – it was hard to not imagine her as the younger memories of the elder. Memories poured from both actors in rapid time, with the dancing dream-like and hazy. In reality, Éva Fahidi was enacting her own story, as a Holocaust survivor whose memoir has become famed.
In staging her aging body against the lithe Emese Cuhorka, the story transforms from one of distress into a song of joy. Ironically, faced with the burden of seeing death and despair up close, Éva is able to keep everyday anxieties in check. Meanwhile, Emese is wrapped up in her issues. In comparing themselves against one another, the story has a lilting flow – one has the sense that the women balance each other out and strengthen one another.
I was constantly thinking about questions of legacy during the dancing. Is Emese learning from Éva? When the remaining Holocaust survivors are dead, will their horrors seem less real? Their dance becomes a metaphor for the tricky steps between survival as the world turns from mothers to daughters.
One thing to note about this production is that it is winding and breezy between the emotions of the dancers. It is more about their connections and differences than invested in a particular narrative. If you came to Sea Lavender hoping to hear Éva's story as told in her autobiography, this is a vastly different experience.
Nuts and Bolts
Company Name: The Symptoms
Premiere: 13. October, 2015
Running time: 105 minutes
Performed in Hungarian with simultaneous English translation and surtitles
Dramaturg: Krisztián Peer, Anna Zsigó
Lights: Attila Szirtes
Costume: Szucs Edit
Special accessories: Janka Haraszti
Special thanks to Hodworks for the Senki costume
Directed by: Réka Szabó
Cast Size: 2
Touring Size: 4 total
Translation options: Subtitles or simultaneous translation
Touring history: Berlin, Budapest
Representation: KATALIN KÁPOLNAI
ARTISTIC MANAGER, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
PHONE: +36 70 321 2991
Synopsis: The duet of a 90 year Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor and a young dancer about the euphoria of life. The Symptoms has been an influential member of the Hungarian dance scene for the past 10 years. The company knows no genre boundaries, treating text and movement as equal elements in their performances. Éva Fahidi, the author of the memoir The Soul of Things is a frequent speaker of the Holocaust forums, especially in Germany. Emese Cuhorka is an obstinate boundary-crosser, a brave, venturous performer, who, after many international successes, came back to work again with Réka Szabó, the leader of the Symptoms.
The stake and main question of the performance is whether there is a passage possible between the two worlds, can the experience be conveyed, or vice versa: is it possible to understand the problems of a present-day youngster with such a weighty life behind us as the one bestowed upon Éva, the Holocaust survivor. Is their big common dance even possible?
Eva and Emese: Éva is a passionate joy seeker, while Emese always wants to save everybody. Éva has a habit of never saying goodbye. Emese likes to return home. Their common mother tongue is dance. Éva is one of the last witnesses. Her carefully preserved young woman’s clothes seem to have been tailored on Emese’s figure. Emese is tall, Éva still sees herself as a tall person. They are very similar. The performance is about the gap between an elderly woman living with the memory of the Holocaust and a young woman of our times, about the empathy with each other’s position, about growing old, about living in an old and young body – told with humour, honesty and empathy.
Réka Szabó: She was born in 1969 in Budapest. Attended the Eötvös University, earned a degree in mathematics and computer science while dancing only for serious hobby, the stage was seemingly unattainable dream world. The turnaround was brought in 1994 when Rui Horta, a well-known Portuguese-born choreographer from around the world, came to Hungary to make a piece and she become a member of many excellent professional dancers. She started experimenting with her own in 1995. In 1997, she received the choreographic masterpiece of the Inspiration of the Year and the audience prize of the MU Theater. In 1999 she created purple anthill, which was invited to many prestigious foreign festivals. 1999-2000, she was a member of the Javier de Frutos DC in Mazatlan. She has traveled Europe with an excellent international team. In 2000, she participated as a member of the Artificial Horizon dance band of ex-DV8 dancer Milli Bitterli and DV8 sound engineering technician Mike Casey as an experimental production, presented in Vienna. Presented in February 2001, The selected - legend in filtered light c. which is part of the VII. Alternative Theatrical Review Award for Best Dance Performance . In the same year they presented their work together with Mártya Ladjánszki, What kind of tenderness . The piece had great international success, and then won it at homeVIII. Alternative Theatrical Review Best Dance Award. She is a founding member of the L1 Independent Dance Association, with whom, as a result of four years of work, she has succeeded in setting up a place in the fall of 2001, which is now a decisive meeting, performer and test site for lovers of contemporary dance. She has been building his own company since 2002, and in 2006 she created the Symptom Group. Réka Szabó relies on the personality, creativity and consensus of the participants. The Random, the Loméing, the Nylon Revue and the Karc. She dances herself in pieces. In Hungary and in foreign festivals, she has also given professional and semi-professional training on a number of occasions, with her own company, the Symptom Ensemble, five times a week in the trial. She studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Limon, Graham and Release Techniques, Touch Improvisation, Composition and a mixture of these: Endre Jeszenszky, Gyula Berger, Katalin Lőrinc, Éva Gálik, Eszter Gál, Bill de Young, Joe Alegado, Roberto Galvan, KJ Holmes, Mark Tompkins, Daniel Lapkoff, David Zambrano, Christina de Chatel, Nigel Charnock, Milli Bitterli.