This project is about interpreting a Hungarian play named Liliom, in partnership with a director from East 15 Acting School of London, Lindsey Higgins.
Liliom is a 1909 play written by Fernec Molnar. It is a legend in seven scenes and a prologue based in the outskirts of Budapest.
Matthew Lloyd who adapted the original version, describes Liliom as a « fairy tale for adults, a story about gender issues that looks at the less privileges class and talks about the Authority and its opposite. The fairground is a magic site, malevolent and scary but still attractive, while the Beyond is where Liliom is judged for his violence against a woman by other women.»
In order to evoke and underpin the atmosphere of marginalisation and ghettoization that overlooks the play, our interpretation of it takes place in a "dilapidated" gypsy carnival in the outskirts of Budapest in the modern days.
We read between the lines of the text a fight against a stereotypical gypsy world, by its nature vulnerable, precarious and dangerous.
In the pre Prologue the audience is welcomed by a first chorus played by Jobbik vigilantes, the current anti Roma party, with flyers and newspapers about the anti gypsies’ Propaganda. In the mean time, a second chorus, performed by members of a gypsy community, fits up the scenario for the Prologue as a camp pervaded by piles of clothes and laundry.
Blurred images of fugitives and prisoners are projected on the walls of the theatre and on the laundry’s surfaces, to introduce the political and social issue, the main theme of the play.
This is a story about a fragile microcosm rejected by the brutal and over industrialised side of the city.
Our set, designed for the Young Vic Theatre, is "nomadic" as the characters of the play are. The audience is sat in the round of the theatre.
The itinerant performance is characterised by crossover actions, along the two main diagonals of the Young Vic. There is a fluid and continuous fit up and lose of scenic elements moved and relocated by the actors on stage, scene by scene.
The only static structure, placed in one of the four corners, is a telegraph Pole, a glimpse on the city, to its violence and racism against the gypsy community.
The fight between different moralities, inside and outside the gypsy world, is symbolised by a latent presence on stage.
During the early scenes, it is represented by a group of marionettes operated by the actors in the carousel world. In the Beyond scene, that presence becomes a huge triple sides mask hung from the ceiling.
They both symbolise the Judgement and the moral Authority that people have to deal with either in this world and in the Afterlife.