The grand Budapest theatrical extravaganza

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The grand Budapest theatrical extravaganza

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The Hungarian capital Budapest has been hosting an international theatre exchange as part of the annual Budapest Spring Festival.

Around 20 companies from 13 countries have come together to perform and share ideas.

The event, organised by the National Theatre, honours the 19th century Hungarian poet and playwright Imre Madách.

Andras Kozma, who organised the event, said: “We wanted to show exciting theatre to the audience and the performers.”

“These companies have never been to Budapest before. For previous festivals we invited groups from neighbouring countries, but this year we have companies from Georgia, Bulgaria and the Tatar State Theatre, the Iraqi National Theatre and the Ankara State Theatre.”

The Iraqi National Theatre showcased ‘The Camp’ a contemporary drama written and directed by Mohammed Al-Hadi.

The play concentrates on the intensity of everyday life in post-war Iraq.

Award winning actress Labwa Arab described how she prepared for her role: “I watched lots of videos, I met a lot of women and I picked up on their emotions. It was very intense. When I think about the performances and when I rehearse, it kind of drains me, because of the emotions. For me it is a big responsibility to show it in the correct way.”

The Alexandrinsky Theatre from St Petersburg performed an adaptation of “The Gambler” by Dostoyevsky called ‘The Zero Liturgy’ with the stage transformed into a roulette wheel.

Company director Valery Fokin said:” I really feel the tradition of Russian theatre.”

“Our company is 258 years old, one of the oldest theatres in Europe and the first national theatre in Russia. The tradition is the foundation, but theatre is not a museum. We have to be fresh and vibrant this is at the heart of theatre.”

The Moscow Art Theatre provided an example of this vibrancy in ‘Gogolrevizor’, which placed Gogol’s grotesque characters in contemporary Russia.

The festival provides the perfect platform for students to learn theatrical skills from different cultures.

“Russian artists have a different theatrical language, so we can use this to find interesting solutions for staging techniques and scene setting. Meeting and seeing each other is the creative base,” said Sandor Berettyan, one of the drama students in Budapest.

The festival runs until April 7 at the National Theatre in Budapest.

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