The stage rotates from countryside to countryside

In cultural life, the adjective “rural” still sounds bad. Nor can God lose that damn qualifying, condescending overtone. Yet it is no longer at all easy to say what, for example, rural theater means. That it is not in Pécs, not in Debrecen, not in Szeged – but in the countryside. That is, not Pest. Is it just that the situation still looks like the existence of a massive theatrical elite in Budapest, the cream, with the greatest actors and directors, a sophisticated audience? Far from it. Of course, we could also describe the change in such a way that there is no theatrical elite in the capital. But that’s another question. The point is that theatrical life has become much more mobile, with castle walls collapsing among the country’s companies, actors everywhere happy to work, going anywhere, and a director’s competition in Szombathely as much as in Budapest. In short, the theme of rural theaters could be slowly let go. But the opposite seems to be happening. Since theatrical broadcasts on the M5 channel have become relatively regular again, the program has been dominated by rural and cross-border performances. This could even be seen as a welcome step towards the promotion of a nationally interpreted theater culture, but now the shift in the other direction is disproportionate. In this context, it is also a remarkable event that this year the Association of Rural Theater Directors, with the support of the National Cultural Fund and the EMMI State Secretariat for Culture, launched the Rural Theaters portal (, which provides thorough, up-to-date also offering interviews and historical curiosities. Both the public television company and the website will have many positive benefits in creating a broader national cultural horizon, but this loud discovery of rural art life seems to be a bit of a cultural warrior, with the adjective “rural” suggesting a “true national” meaning. The topic has been covered by a TV show for six years, which has not received much attention to date. How he would have received it, since it was not a cultural policy endeavor, a local patriotic defiance, but simply brought to life by sober recognition and dedicated daily work. Plus, in rural television. Local channels have felt that it is not very effective to be too close to cultural events in their own area. So they thought of a boldness, they got together, and they made a joint theatrical magazine show under the direction of Szeged TV. The Rotating Stage reports monthly on the productions of rural theaters. The individual reports are prepared by the local staff, the transformation into a show is the responsibility of the people of Szeged, the editor-in-chief Gabriella Csala and the presenter who replaces Tamás Márok, Ramóna Hajdu-Balogh. What is sympathetic about the Rotating Stage is that it lacks an excited cultural policy mission. He follows the work and performances of city theaters only modestly. This regular, meaningful newsletter will compile valuable documentation over time. If we take a look at the material posted on YouTube, we can immediately notice processes. Above all, of course, as a result of the epidemic situation: several recommended performances could not reach the audience for months, we can follow the efforts of the streaming period, and then caution in the repertoire after reopening. Objectivity also helps to understand that there are beautiful principles, aspirations here or there, unfortunately, there is still content in the adjective “rural”, if not in the sense of a managerial qualification. In many theaters, one does not feel the stability, as if the performances radiate contingency, there are few bold ventures. At the same time, the quiet, modest, instrumental sound of the show weakens its impact beyond one point. The structure is too monotonous: usually four presentations from four cities, mandatory scene plays (poor sound quality), short interviews, why this, why so, why good, why difficult. I miss portraits, problem-solving conversations, reports. The network goes well, on TV and on the stages, but after a while the question arises: Why? Is there some elementary driving force to this, or is everyone just doing their job nicely? And, of course, one can hope that only the structural monotony of the Revolving Stage gives birth to monotony with its bored skeptical question marks, but our own experiences, our current relationship with art, suggest that it adjusts to the general state of culture in the mood of the show. Enough to spin through the interviews. The questions, no matter how common, could be answered in depth, there would be time for it. But for most creators, no fire burns, their words do not reflect passion. We love to do it, we live from it, we do it. Let’s play theater, but now we don’t feel what it’s like to do Theater. We can’t even feel it because nothing makes it feel needed. Any cultural policy can pound itself, now for some reason the situation is low. And there is no difference between Budapest and the Countryside, Szeged, Szombathely and Paris. (Nice word)

Source: Népszava by

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