MU Theatre
Premiere at 25.01.2019.

Do you like competitions in which knowledge is nothing while blind loyalty, cynicism, good contacts and unbuttoned blouses and shirts are most appreciated? This interactive theatre game show is hosted by the fictitious Hungarikum Agency and offers honourable membership and the Knight of Cross from the Order of Merit of the Hungarikum Agency for the person who scores the highest in the heavily bureaucratic, three-round direct elimination game. Contestants – the spectators – have to demonstrate their in depth knowledge of Hungarikums and their emotional attachment to these top achievements of the nation. The game was created based on the website of the Hungarikum Committee established in 2012 and it includes questions related to lesser known Hungarian values so even the best prepared will face challenges.

Hungarikum refers to a unique Hungarian produce, invention, cultural heritage or heritage site that are defined as the most unique and exceptional achievements of the Hungarian Nation. For a list of Hungarikums please visit http://www.hungarikum.hu/en

The performance is based on the creators’ experiences as participants of competitions, job interviews and members of decision-making bodies themselves. These are situations the spectators can relate to and the participatory format makes it possible for them to recall their own experiences and discuss them during the game or at the informal wine tasting that follows. Remaining ironic and playful with a lot of humour, this sharp satire zooms in on the power structure of these everyday situations by exposing the abuse of power and generating a discourse around its various forms and practices. The chosen Hungarikum theme is an opportunity to explore what counter-selective mechanisms might be at play as a nation’s symbols and values, its communicated image are determined as part of a political discourse.

The first version of the project was shown in 2016 at the gallery space of “Doorbell 12”.  A developed version was created for OPEN Festival in 2017. The official premiere was in 2019 at MU Theatre.

“… it is not the scores but networks and subjective likeability that are important and being quick, because time is running out, it was taken up by the drinking. What is most important, is that the event takes place, the money assigned is spent and the report has the necessary number of stamps on it. Sustaining the system is a priority opposed to creating or doing something meaningful. And how easy it was to go along! The story is in fact quite familiar. In order to be able to play we have to accept the rules official and set by the participants in situ and have to pretend everything is ok like that. I am a most unscrupulous player and state that I want to make Hungarian a lingua franca through my writing as a theatre critic and I actually win the game.”
(Andrea Rádai, Magyar Narancs)

Photos: Krisztina Csányi/Alina Vincze/László Dinea

Creators and Performers: Kristóf Kelemen, Bence György Pálinkás, Júlia Regényi, Judit Tarr
Cameraman: Alina Vincze
Technical Manager: Ferenc Payer
Concept: Kristóf Kelemen, Bence György Pálinkás

Special thanks: University of Theatre and Film Arts, Judit Böröcz, Hédi Dorogman

Supporter: NKA