dr. Gábor Horváth

How did you get in touch with arts and theatre?

At high school, thanks to some of my fantastic teachers, I became a theatre addict. At that time, probably the University Theatre was the only place in Budapest where, with today’s terminology, alternative performances could be seen, such as Béla Éless’ King Ubu, which was a determining experience for me. We went to state theatres two or three times a week too, of course, and I also participated at the high school literary theatre. We created a very unconventional Petőfi-event, in which we tried to show a new side of Petőfi. We approached his figure not from his romantic revolutionary side, instead we were curious about the 24-25-year-old anarchist kid. But we also organized a Sándor Weöres event with a special attitude where the poet himself was present too. I still have this love for theatrical perspectives seeking original realizations. As a student I acted, directed and produced, I quarrelled with school managers, I was Eyeoore from Winnie the Pooh. Finally, I didn’t become an actor nor a director, but thank God, now I am able to help those who do this. This is how I met Maladype. When the idea came to renovate the flat at Bimbó street in the 2nd district (which was previously my advocate office), we decided with my wife, Anikó Németh, costume and fashion designer, that it could function not only as a apartment but also as a theatre. With this madness of mine I visited Orsi Karafiáth, who didn’t hesitate much and said she want to participate in this. Last year we finished the renovation of the Third Place and the season of 2016/2017 was our first to finish.

How does the space determine the genre or limit your freedom? Because after all, this is an apartment, a part of a multi-storied house we are talking about, where you held your season closing event on your terrace.

The space gives opportunity to many forms of implementation. As you mentioned, we held our season closing event - the bossa nova evening of Rozina Pátkai Trio and Zsófia Bán - on our terrace which added a mediterranean atmosphere to the event. We always mention the Third Place as an apartment theatre, but we have no genre restrictions and I want to keep the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ characteristic of it. Our only expectation is quality. Concerning this, I am an elitist. To decide what’s good or not is not a question of majority vote. This is why - I must emphasise this - I don’t want to become a trendy place.

During the past years you saw a lot of theatre performances, you followed the Hungarian theatre life. The Kravchenko performance by Zoli Balázs was one of the first to be presented for the audience of the Third Place. When did you meet Maladype before opening the Third Place?

Unfortunately, very late, this is why I missed some performances, which I regret. The Marriage of Figaro was the first Maladype performance I saw and I was overwhelmed by it. I couldn’t find the words to the performance at the Mikszáth square. Later, of course, I saw all the premieres and I told Zoli Balázs the silly joke: when the peasant walks into the zoo and sees a giraffe he says: ‘I am telling you, there’s no such creature!’. It is an inexplicable miracle that in today’s world, they can maintain a theatre like this with the given circumstances for 17 years now.

You support Maladype for years now, with your help, the theatre could get new chairs for the audience, and you also financed most part of the documentary created on the Kravchenko tour. Why do you find it important to have such a close relationship with Maladype Theatre?

Maladype represents a quality which is very-very rare today - not just in theatre life - and I cannot let these performances disappear due to financial reasons. I expressed it several times: if someone is lucky enough to not have everyday financial problems, it is a basic obligation to give back. I found this opportunity in theatre: from which I gained a lot I am able to give some back.

This relationship with the theatre became even closer recently because - as we mentioned Gábor’s wife - Anikó Németh became the costume designer of Zoltán Balázs’ direction of Csongor and Tünde, which debuts on August 11 at the Castle Theatre of Gyula.

Yes, it’s true, Anikó works as a costume designer - usually with opera performances - and as I see it, Zoli and Anikó really found each other in the work. Thanks to that, now I have to cook for myself. When they sit down, the talk for 6 hours straight and I am sure their cooperation will result in something very exciting. I am very curious about the show and most certainly I will watch the miracle they create with my eyes and mouth wide open.