The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht - Orkeny Theater

2011.01.27. 14:56


The Orkeny Theatre, balancing well between the concepts of popular and artistic theatre, embarked on one of their biggest adventures yet when they invited the director Sandor Zsoter to head their first premiere in this season.

He is the oldest ‘young director.' Though awarded every existing prize and continually working with the same permanent team (dramaturg, designers), Zsoter is still able to surprise both critics and spectators. Brecht is an author dear to Zsoter. For instance, he chose to stage The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (a play retelling Hitler's seizure of power in terms of a vegetable marketplace) as one of his exam performances at the University of Theatre in Budapest. Now he is shocking audiences at the downtown theater with the very same parable of the cauliflower business.

What we see is a colorful, witty tale. A gigantic cauliflower lies sprawling on the tiny stage. In the opening scene Arturo Ui, dressed as a rosebud, snuggles up to the giant plant as though in love. The set later transforms quite easily into a courtyard, a family house, or a human brain, while small people with cauliflower faces and skirts struggle inside and around it. The president of the court, who is unable to control Arturo's rise, is a witch with a magic wand. A plastic frog comes out of a witness's mouth instead of testimony.

The fable is refreshed by the grotesque and playful torrent of ideas, and the tragedy of the story is not lost either. Zsoter often ignores gender differences. The role is always played by the person who can handle it best. In this case, the title role is played by Eva Kerekes, a great actress at the Orkeny Theater, who enriches the gangster leader's didactic portrait with surprising nuances. The woman is full of secrets and surface uncertainty. She switches from a comedienne to a blood-sucker without raising her voice. Her naivety is as boundless as her lust for power, and that is why she does not realize for a long time that the object of her experiment has already overgrown her. The monster cannot be restrained.

Hungarian Theatre Critics' Association