The Maladype Theatre launched its “Crossroads” project in 2011. The program’s main goal is to present artistic directions, theatres and workshops that represent new trends in cultural life, enhance new artistic initiatives, help in establishing new ways of contacts with the audience and foster ties among different countries. That way the European independent theatres are given the possibility to cooperate and establish a network that helps them in creating new meeting points for dialogue and interaction.
The Maladype Theatre has benefited a lot from its international ties: by establishing them it has the possibility to get acquainted with various theatrical troupes, traditions and institutions. We consider our important task also to present new trends, and young talents to our spectators. We invite theatres and performances that can adapt easily themselves to our location and technical conditions.
How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients
The relations between Maladype and the US theatrical life became closer during the Hungarian Showcase of Spring 2013 where Zoltán Balázs's direction of King Ubu earned a major success. The smashing performance was followed by an American tour in 2014: the company celebrated the 100th anniversary of King Ubu at Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA, while the also “globe-trotting” EggsHell was staged at Trap Door Theatre in Chicago.
The director met the Romanian-born playwright, who now lives in France, in 2011 at the SIBFEST International Theatre Festival where Maladype performed Büchner's Leonce and Lena, a play with scenes of multiple variations. During the Matei Vișniec-days organized at the Maladype Base on Mikszáth Square in December 2013, the world-renowned artist traveled to Budapest to meet with Hungarian audiences and to see The Story of The Panda Bears Told By a Saxophonist Who Has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt performed by Maladype actors inspired by works of fine art. The idea of staging the playwright's visionary absurdist play Dada Cabaret penned on the centenary of Dadaism in international collaboration in the 100th year of the movement was born during this visit. Co-produced with Gábriel Gábor Farkas and his orchestra, the play is set to have its premiere in Fall 2016, featuring the author himself in many of the scenes.
About the play:
The young Soviet writer Yuri Petrovsky receives the State Prize, directly from Glorious Comrade Stalin himself, for his short stories on building socialism. The Writers' Union picks him out for a special task: they mandate him to give ideological training to the insane. So, he explains the story of communism through a series of short narratives to the patients of a mental institution. His commanders' instructions were: “Use all of your talent and patriotism so that our mentally ill can also feed on the hope that the Great October Socialist Revolution kindled in the hearts of workers of the world...".
About Trap Door Theatre:
Beata Pilch's main mission is to present contemporary European works. Her theater is characterized by the combination of old traditions and modern tools to illustrate the absurdities in today's modern society. The theater company established its permanent home in Chicago in 1994, where American audiences have since enjoyed more than seventy of their performances.
Writer: Matei Vișniec
Translation: Jeremy Lawrence, Catherine Popesco
Director: Balázs Zoltán
Set Desinger: Aaron O'Neill
Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski
Music Composer: Danny Rockett
Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic
Makeup Desinger: Zsófia Ötvös
Lighting: Richard Norwood
Assistans of director: Emily Lotspeich, Gary Damico
The play is performed in English with Hungarian subtitles.
„No wonder this production, the company’s third Vișniec offering performed by mostly Trap Door regulars, fires on all cylinders for 75 engrossing minutes. Director Zoltán Balázs’s angular, stylized staging is hilarious, perplexing, and harrowing—often all at the same time.”
Justin Hayford, The Chicago Reader
“Thankfully the best part of Trap Door’s great Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, Simina Contras, remains an absolutely mesmerizing stage presence, even when it’s only her disembodied voice calling out bets on the patients’ window-watching game. I would go to any show advertising her participation. Similarly, Pilch is magnetically maniacal in multiple roles, the director of the loony bin turned full on loon. Despite the flaws, Director Zoltán Balázs creates extremely spellbinding vignettes in what amounts to a sort of slow-motion work of contemporary movement art. Aaron O’Neill’s simple set of cascading doors provides a perfect ethereal counterpart for the insanity.“
Clint May, Chicago Theater Beat
„Balázs has developed a physical acting method that can build and communicate a story without words. It is a beautiful thing to watch.”
Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Theatre by Numbers
More links to reviews of the performance: