The Bald SopranoTHE BALD SOPRANO
Partly counter-pantomime

Duration: 70 minutes
Playwright: Eugene Ionesco – Veronika Karsai
Director: Veronika Karsai
Performers: Melange Pantomimtársulás (Melange Pantomime Company)

It is pantomime…or something like that for no speech can be heard, except for the stage direction in the play’s introduction (dubbed by Armand Kautzky) and for some murmurs. The conversations “take the forms” of movements, but these gests are as comical and as nonsensical, regarding the possibilities of making contact between humans, as the dialogues of the original play.

The “counter-pantomime” as the genre’s label covers unconcealed self-irony: the pattern of the pantomime’s formal language or the music illustrations lacking meaning are all the objects of mild mock in the performance such as the existing but not living personalities and situations. The piece thus promises enthusiastic entertainment; however – as the original play – it covers impossible depths; the ambitious spectator may observe it to their taste.

First performance: March 2001. Budapest, Thália Színház, Új Stúdió (Thália Theatre, New Studio)

Premier: 2001. március, Budapest, Thália Színház, Új Stúdió

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Items from the Audience Hand-out

WHAT A STRANGE RECIPE, or a cup of hints how to rationally interpret The Bald Soprano

Ingredients:
Two pairs of Smiths (one might be of Martins, as well), one piece of troubled Fire Chief, one whole Mary (with a potty if possible), 12 ounces (35 dg) of anecdotes, a pinch of Strange, a head of Impossible, little Amazing (in season, let’s use Fantastic), and a pinhead of What a Chance. Work off the ingredients; this might be, as well. The best is to prepare ourselves the night before, so we will rest until the next day. Fill it with sweet, salt, bitter, or acid stuffing; any kind, I don’t remember. Cook it in hot oven (hopefully, something bursts into flames) until the English clock strikes twenty-nine.

PROOF HOW WACKY FIGURES THERE ARE
Excerptions from the drama

While going somewhere, you can experience gaudy things. Today; for instance, I witnessed with my own two eyes a man in the tube-railway: he was sitting on a seat and was reading a paper calmly.

I am going, hopping along the street when suddenly I glimpse a man. The gentleman was fine looking, and he had a long…no…rather short moustache, and…well…it is said that my fantasy might hypertrophy, but the man in question sank on one of his knees and bent down. I stepped closer to see what he was doing… He tied his shoe-laces because they had got loose.

THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN STORY-TELLING
Excerptions from the drama

Once, a groom brought a bouquet of flowers to her bride who thanked it. But before she could actually thank him, the groom – in order to read her a lesson – without a word, he wrested the flowers out of her hands, declared taking back the bouquet, said goodbye, and, with the flowers, dissolved into thin air.

Once, an ox met an elephant. This asked it: “And you? Why didn’t you swallow your trunk?” – “Because I’m a dog,” replied that and got on resentfully.

Polycanders glittered / in the forest / A stone caught fire / A castle caught fire / The trees caught fire / The men caught fire / The women caught fire / The birds caught fire / The fish caught fire / The water caught fire / The sky caught fire / The ash caught fire / The smoke caught fire / The fire caught fire / Everything caught fire / Caught fire, caught fire

Once, a snake went to a fox and said: “I think we know each other.” – “I think it, too,” replied the fox. “Then,” the snake said, “Lend me some money.” – “A fox never lends anything,” replied the canny animal and jumped flop into a deep valley full of strawberries. The snake had been waiting for him and laughed devilishly. The fox unsheathed howling his knife: “I’ll put the fear of God into you,” he cried and ran away. But to his despair, the snake was faster. With a well-aimed blow, he bashed the fox on the head; the fox broke into a thousand of shivers. And meanwhile, he yelled ceaselessly: “No! No!”

 

Performers:

Mr. Smith: Zoltán Tarcsa (guest performer)
Mrs. Smith: Veronika Karsai
Mr. Martin: Gábor Várvári
Mrs. Martin: Orsolya Várvári-Illés
Mary, a szobalány: Krisztina Nagy-Tyukos / Kata Bodor / Borbála Karsai
A tűzoltóparancsnok: Attila Gábor Balogh / Tamás Varga (guest performer)

 

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