skip to Main Content

Never To Return Again


Never To Return Again was primarily inspired by the tragic story of the „Tengiz Project”.

In the 1980’s Hungarian workers were taken to the environs of Baku to explore gas fields. At the time this was a somewhat envied job, because of the huge paycheck that came with it. But seven or eight years later the news came that seventy percent of the employees got some kind of sickness caused by radiation, and many of them died. Our story is not set in the 80’s, but today. We kept the most typical cultural topoi of the decade, embedded in socialist aesthetics. For example aesthetics: songs of the workers’ movement with lyrics that reflect upon present day „reality”, or „comrade” a term to address each other. We did so because, as much as we live in a democracy, governed by the rules of capitalism, the toxins of the past regime have not yet been completely burned out of our nervous system. We are inclined to welcome great leaders and accept what we are told about good or bad. But don’t worry! We won’t be talking politics in the play, or at least that’s not what the performance revolves around, rather, the audience is treated to an unfolding story of temptation. The temptation of selfish, fallible people who cling to moments, that they believe will never return again, only to lose their lives in the end.


Kuncz- Hella Roszik
Törő- Zsófia Szamosi
Bodolay- Szabolcs Thuróczy
Hoffman- Zoltán Friedenthal
Mr. Freeman- Béla Pintér
Mr. Goodman- László Quitt
Pianist- Antal Kéménczy

Assistant of costume designer: Júlia Kiss
Costume designer: Mari Benedek
Set: Gábor Tamás
Props: László Quitt, Dániel Kovács
Light: László Varga
Sound: Zoltán Belényesi

Assistant director: Rozi Hajdú
Financial manager: Gyula Inhaizer
Production manager: Anna Hidvegi

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Music: Antal Kéménczy

Writer and director: Béla Pintér



In ‘Now or never’ Pintér resorts to a new folklore this time. That is (also) why the common spirit is so strong in his theatre- he provokes the musical material incubated in all of us: marches, the Soviet national anthem, the ‘Internatioanle’, the ‘Varsavianka’…- that is: a fine selection of ‘Best of Communism’ – in contemporary context, with an original story.

The musical material is remarkable not only in itself but because it is placed in a strong dramatic situation.
The wide red velvet curtain reveals our present: a four member team tries to grasp the never returning chance: they apply for a notable charge.

The situations and words of our time are sung with the melodies of the past.

The same marches animate our determined and greedy heroes like our predecessors. The two eras mirror each other, and the similarities are surprising.

Béla Pintér creates a queer mixture of melodrama and farce a quickly changing shower of hot and cold water. Fate and misfortune, exaggerated absurdities, revenge lead and mislead the heroes.

Melodrama is more important for Pintér than it seems for the first moment: the fulfillment of fate, the returning revenging demons are among his favorite topics. The cultural context is changing continually, Hungarian, Muslim (directly from ‘Fatalistan’), American Jewish stereotypes follow each other visually and in music too.

Tompa Andrea – Theatre

Pintérs’ way of presenting our world lacks malice and political commitment. Instead of an anticommunist banter they reveal a disillusioned, disgusting world of those who sold their past, faith, misbelieves, and who brought others’ faith to auction, too.


…it’s so absurd, so grotesque, harsh and cruel…

Béla Pintér creates a fate drama out of any futile and frivolous piece of news, he focuses on the archetypical human relationships, on our common subconscious: his plays are stories of petty or serious falls with expiation. Without catharsis: that is only created in the audience through the direct experience of its theatrical purgatory. And music holds everything together.



Written and directed by BÉLA PINTÉR

music composed by BENEDEK DARVAS


Captain Halász Szabolcs Thuróczy
Second-Lieutenant, Kovács Tünde Szalontay
Private Mikó Sándor Bencze
Private Nyíri Tamás Deák
Jewish Forced Laborer Heincz László Quitt
Colonel Felkay Béla Pintér
Jolánka, wife of Mikó Éva Csatári
Aranka, wife of Nyíri Éva Enyedi
Zsuzsanna, Colonel’s daugther Sarolta Nagy-Abonyi
Gizella, the Colonel’s wife József Tóth
German General Von Ziege Zoltán Friedenthal


Pál Bencsik, Antal Kéménczy, István Kerti, László Nyíri, Gábor Pelva, György Póta,
Géza Román, Bertalan Veér, Lajos Kelemen

Supported by Ministry of National Resources of Hungary, National Cultural Fund, Hungary
The premiere was held on November 5th, 2003, in the National Theatre, Budapest, Hungary.
A 80-minute, full-length play without an intermission.

Tours abroad:

  • Espoon Kaupungin Teatteri, Helsinki, Finland – 2010
  • Desiré Central Station, International Theatre Festival, Subotica, Serbia – 2009
  • Euro-Scene, Festival of Europien Contemporary Arts, Leipzig, Germany – 2006
  • International Small Scene Festival, Rijeka, Croatia – 2009
  • Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, Germany – 2004


  • Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Music, and a Special Award for a
  • New Breakthrough in the Theatre Presentation – International Small Scene Festival, Rijeka – 2009
  • Reward Nomination – Spielzeiteuropa-Werkpreis, Berliner Festspiele, Berlin – 2004

In the play Dievouchka (“dievouchka” meaning “girl” in Russian), we see military officers, staff officers, privates and their kindred mingling with one another as well as with Jews on forced labor. With such characters, the story proceeds in the army barracks, the dancehall and out in the remote and vast Russian steppe. While the play’s elevated presentation emulates an old-timer black-and-white movie, neither is the message, nor are the characters black-and-white as these are very lovable, though frail, persons with complex personalities – not simply good or bad.
The time is World War II; however, the story-line, as opposed to giving a historic account, is merely an assumption of the historic epoch. We created Dievouchka’s particular musical style by blending elements of Puccini’s late Romanticism with the 1920-40s’ operetta and hits of the day – some of them emblematic until the present day. Throughout the whole play we sing. What the audience sees, however, is no operatic work but pure theater, with actors that represent the average man who sings from the heart in all his or her happiness and sorrow. With this theater piece, we, who were born into perhaps happier times, would like to commemorate an ill-fated generation, who, not unlike we do today, cherished the hope of a brighter future.

Béla Pintér

The Madwoman, the Doctor, the Disciples and the Devil


„How should we imagine the story of Jesus in Hungary nowdays? What if the child was not born in Bethlehem, but in a garage of a hotel in a small country town in Hungary?”

If the Three Magi are three business women arriving by plane from Japan, and instead of King Herod they ask the local mayor after the child, who would become a reformer of the Catholic religion, considering herself the daughter of the Mother Goddess, declaring that God is female, and that the new world order will be ruled by women. She will be attacked by the representatives of the Catholic Church, and will be “sentenced” to be taken to a dangerous asylum by a doctor whose character is very much like the Pilot’s in Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. The young woman is murdered in the asylum by fellow patients-religious fanatics. But her dead body is nowhere to be found, and rumour gets around that she has resurrected…”

Béla Pintér


Edina Máté Hella Roszik
Marika Máté Éva Enyedi
József Máté László Quitt
Hajnal Angyal Tünde Szalontay
László Hajdú Szabolcs Thuróczy
Melinda Bíró Zsófia Szamosi
Botond Olasz Zoltán Friedenthal
Father Béla Béla Pintér


Gergő Sipos / Marcell Vámos violoncello
György Póta doublebass

Costume designer: Mari Benedek
Assistant of Costume designer: Júlia Kiss
Set: Gábor Tamás
Light: László Varga
Sound: Zoltán Belényesi
Mask: Dániel Kovács
Singing teacher: Bea Berecz

Financial manager: Gyula Inhaizer
Production manager: Anna Hidvegi
Assistant director: Rozi Hajdú

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Collague of music: Antal Kéménczy
Music: Ferenc Darvas on the basis of works of Allegri, Mozart, Pergolesi

Writer and director: Béla Pintér




„She who is not loved never knows precisely why she is ‘little’ loved. She blames the injustice on the world, or on people’s apathy, whereas in fact everyone avoids her because of her stunted emotional intelligence, her selfishness and narrow-mindedness.
And avoid her is what they certainly do. They are not keen to speak to her.
To be unloved is hellish agony. One’s brow furls, one clenches one’s teeth, one’s hands tighten into fists.
At such times she is most dangerous. She, who is not loved.”

Béla Pintér


Rózsi Zsófia Szamosi
Irén Tünde Szalontay
Anita Éva Enyedi
Attila Zoltán Friedenthal
Uncle Bandi Szabolcs Thuróczy
Uncle Pali László Quitt
Béla Viktor Nagy
Etus Hella Roszik
Professor, Policeman, Chairman of the jury Béla Pintér

Music: Róbert Kerényi
Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Costume design: Mari Benedek
Assistant of Costume designer: Julcsi Kiss
Set design: Gábor Tamás
Mask, puppet: Sosa Juristovszky
Light: László Varga
Financial manager: Gyula Inhaizer
Production manager: Anna Hidvegi
Assistant director: Rozi Hajdú
Writer and director: Béla Pintér

Sponsored by Ministry of National Resources, National Cultural Fund, Szkéné Theater.

“Theater der Welt 2010 Mülheim an der Ruhr und Essen, a Festival of the International Theatre Institute, organized by Theater an der Ruhr and Schauspiel Essen in collaboration with the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010”.

Premier was on the 26th of March in 2010 in Budapest at Szkene Theater.

Duration: 115 min without interval

Brilliant second-rate


“There’s a Stradivari and there’s your average fiddle,
The first the queen of violins, the other in the middle
I could keep on lying, but you catch my drift
You’re worse than mediocre, you have no gift
I’ve tried to give you hints in every way,
Flattering and chiding, what else was there to say?
You know my creed, I’ve strewn the seed,
Hoping your talent to knead…
It’s my fault, too, I’m happy to concede,
Where there’s no gift, there’s nothing to feed,
To put you on stage is a waste of time indeed.”


János Korpás – Szabolcs Thuróczy
Géza – Béla Pintér
Judy – Tünde Szalontay
Bird – Zsófia Szamosi
Suchi– Éva Enyedi
Juci – Anna Herczenik
Bison – Zoltán Friedenthal
Héra – Hella Roszik
Dínó – László Quitt
MiskaÚjházy – Antal Kéménczy

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Music: Antal Kéménczy
Costume design: Mari Benedek
Assistant of Costume designer: Julcsi Kiss
Set design: Gábor Tamás
Light: László Varga
Sound: Zoltán Belényesi
Singing teacher: Bea Berecz

Financial manager: Gyula Inhaizer
Production manager: Anna Hidvégi
Assistant director: Rozi Hajdú

Writer and director: Béla Pintér


Tamás Ascher – HVG

I love Pintérs productions for their atmosphere among other things, for their extreme intensity, the magical mixture of heart-wrenching and uproarious elements. Their new show is called Gleaming Mediocrity. Like with every other show the director is also playwright, who has been writing his fascinating works with actors of the company in mind, but this time the ensemble provides the theme, as well with distorted names Pintér tells us about himself and his performers. We shouldn’t expect a realistic picture of course, the show depicts a company from a bizarre viewpoint, the story itself a melodramatic tale, in which the brilliant talent emerging from nowhere is first welcomed with open hearts, but then pushed away by the mean and mediocre colleagues, while the leader of the ensemble, a crippled and mad Hitler conducts his people – a self-caricature drawn with diabolical mockery and played by BélaPintér himself. But should anyone believe that it is some kind of atelier-like gags he/she is going to see, he/she is making a huge mistake. The show is a grotesque, moving tale about the majestic power of music, about a gift from god that will fall prey to petty scheming and intrigues. The spectator is more and more moved as he is falling into an intoxicating whirlpool of Madame Butterfly’s tunes. I sit stunned and laugh in tears in BélaPintér’s wonderful theatre.

Kaiser TV, Ungarn

kaisers tv

Ignác Baráznay, a pivotal figure of our story, is an invented character. Generally referred to as “Lion of Pákozd” by the Hungarians, he is an adored martyr of Hungarian Independence War, the national freedom fight staged against theHabsburg rule in 1848—1849. Thirty-three years after Baráznay’s unclear death, his daughter Amalia — during a peculiar transcendent journey in which anything can happen —finds herself back in 1848 only to be employed by the then already working Austrian Imperial Television. Little by little, it becomes revealed to her that her father was nothing of the well-deserved national hero or the one she imagined him to be.

Amália – Éva Enyedi
Count Ignácz Baráznay – Zoltán Mucsi
Elza – Zsófia Szamosi
Gábor Balázs – Zoltán Friedenthal
Rozi – Rozi Hajdú
Panka Lagyvölgyi Dombor – Tünde Szalontay
Szidónia Üregi – Angéla Stefanovics
Lajos – Szabolcs Thuróczy
Sándor – Béla Pintér
Kornél Marián – Sándor Terhes
Mr Rohácsi – László Quitt
Sárközy – Antal Kéménczy

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Music: Antal Kéménczy
Costume design: Mari Benedek
Assistant of Costume designer: Julcsi Kiss
Set design: Gábor Tamás
Light: László Varga
Sound: István Simon
Video: Péter Vella

Financial manager: Gyula Inhaizer
Production manager: Anna Hidvégi
Assistant director: Rozi Hajdú

Writer and director: Béla Pintér

Supported by: Ministry of National Resources, National Cultural Fund, Szkéné Theater
Premiered: 7th of Oct 2011
Duration: 110 min without interval


Theatre Critics’ Award – Best Independent Production of the Season – 2012
Theatre Critics’ Award – Best Supporting Actress: Angéla Stefanovics – 2012
Best Production – Vidor Festival, Nyíregyháza – 2012


TESZT Festival, Timisoara, 2013
Desiré Central Station – Contemporary Theatre Festival, Subotica, 2011

Critiques on Kaisers TV, Ungarn

We are all Mr. Rohácsi, or a theatre play written about hope

Hungarian playwright and actor–director Béla Pintér takes the theatre-goers in an imagined world, back to 1881, then, via a mesmerized trance, to 1848. The only difference from reality this alternative dimension has is that nearly everything in it, though in the past, looks as if it was happening today — regarding the people and the technology. Whereas the time is historical, those who act in it are just like their own descendants today.

There’s an ongoing artistic manoeuvring onstage as it’s all too alluring —while it’s in fact such a trap— to make direct references to and to become identical with the corresponding character in the parallel real reality. All the same, Pintér manoeuvres extraordinary well, which is nothing of new news.

While every now and then some of the motifs in the play are reminiscent of the present, no exact parallelism is proposed. Phenomena are presented. Characters, too. And all of these are combined with tabloid-like narratives that are hyperbolized and thus made fun of. A loving triangle, power struggle, far-fetched opportunism and grandiose pettiness appear in one onstage choreography….

Béla Pintér and his Theatre Company, using very few props, play Kaisers TV, Ungarn in a virtually empty space. The characters are excellently invented, typical and distinct figures: Béla Pintér as Sándor Petőfi, the ardent contemporary poet; Szabolcs Thuróczy as a powerful Lajos Kossuth, the shrewd political architect; Zoltán Mucsi as Ignácz Baráznay, a conservative therefore an affection-craving figure; Éva Enyedi’s father-seeking Aranka; and Zoltán Friedental’s Gábor Balázs, fighting with the urge of urinating throughout, who turns into a martyr in the end. Thoroughly well acted characters are Szidónia Üregi, the basically offended slut, by Angéla Stefanovics; the aloft and elegant Elza by Zsófia Szamosi, rubber-spined Kornél Marián without ethical principles by Györk Szakonyi, and Panka Lágyvölgyi Dombor, who balances between self-esteem and servitude, by Tünde Szalontay. Finally, Rozália Hajdú mesmerizes the theatre-goers in an incredibly natural way.

István Ugrai, 7óra7

The Lion of Pákozd

The three drama plots —each played within different historical time frames yet interwoven into one— tell us more than laborious academic studies about Hungary’s history as well as the Hungarian temperament which have not changed much until now. What the play, without any attempt to be respectful, puts on stage is the very 19th century events that have most frequently been referred to in Hungary over the last two decades (i. e. since the Communist regime ended and a republic was announced in 1990). As it were, events twisted when cited for political purposes. Today it is quite common in Hungary that references are made to the freedom ideal of 1848 independence war, and also to the war’s aftermath with an economic boom that followed suit during the time of a political consensus reached between the Imperial rule and the Hungarian subjects – a prelude to, as well as a model for, the formation of an alleged “civilian class” in Hungary. This comparison by many, nonetheless, is… well, sort of… hm….

Past and present will look a bit more interesting when reflected by each other. Yet this won’t suffice Béla Pintér. His dénouement is similar to an ending produced by the benevolent cast of Brecht’s theatre.

A visit to the past will even change the past. (…)

Is it all a dream that is up to the tales by the fictitious Hungarian historical character János Háry, the notorious liar, who as a hussar defeated Napoleon’s troops? Rather, it is a lie that is up to one exposing itself.

László Zappe, Népszabadság


…This time the great modern story-teller Béla Pintér has come up with a time-travel play — a sophisticated and real one with a powerful butterfly-effect in it. Included in the play is Hungary as part of the Habsburg Empire, that is, Hungary’s past and future in that past, and, of course, its present, well, to quite a huge extent….

The production offers a wide array of the merits attached to Béla Pintér’s theatre. The play’s narrative is rich and humorous. The perspective in which history is put is sober and broad-minded. The humour is tasteful and moderate. The actors use the sources of humour in a grandly elegant manner — never fully exploiting these while given a leeway. And again, it’s revealed that, when it comes to writing excellent roles for his company’s actors, the head of the company is the appropriate playwright, and his cast are in turn very apt to play these.

The drama entitled “Kaisers TV, Ungarn” (in which “TV” is pronounced in the German way as “tay-fow”) is a many-layered, highly inspiring and sparkling play showing Pintér’s theatre at its best. And they make their audience (a reference to the Hungarians’ traditional way of grieving:) rejoice by crying, as well as “recry by joicing”… .

Andrea Stuber, Színház online (Theatre online)

President of University of Theatre and Film, Budapest, Hungary/multiply awarded Hungarian theatre director Tamás Ascher on Béla Pintér’s Kaisers TV, Ungarn

Tonight I’ve seen Pintér’s new play. It’s sophisticated, surprising, stunning. Pintér himself acting in the role of Petőfi* is blood-chillingly excellent. The whole play is hugely reminiscent of the cabarets I saw as part of an audience made up of cheering,

uproariously laughing youths in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the early ’70s, during a time of increasing oppression, when you could see brilliant actors in plays with an air of a grandiose, distinctive sense of humour at small theatres in basements…. This one, too, is a political cabaret, very funny yet heart-aching and disillusioned — the quintessential patriotic theatre. Whoever said such was missing was wrong.

*i. e. 19th century’s great Hungarian poet and revolutionist Sándor Petőfi -as a representative of FIDESZ, the political party now in power in Hungary

About the Company

Béla Pintér & Company, one of the “oldest” independent Hungarian theatres, works outside the traditional theatre structure and yet is an important part of the theatrical mainstream. This apparent contradiction is due to the anomaly of the system of theatre-funding on the one hand, and to the hardcore audience on the other.

Béla Pintér founded his company in 1988. For several years, their productions pointed out different sensitive social problems, for example, healthcare, religious sects, etc., using dramatic texts by Pintér. These were based on fictional stories and non-fictional social phenomena, addressing subjects such as traditions; dependence on ideologies, drugs or the newest self-distracting trends; the complex nakedness of those living in the lowest one-third of the population, of those living in small villages, of those keeping to traditions in religion, in life-style, in manners. Béla Pintér, the leader of the company, is always the one who writes and directs the productions, and he is one of the actors, too. The tone is always sarcastic-ironic, mixing the comic and tragic elements with the surreal and the absurd.

It took only a few years for the company to build their audience; their relatively small venue of 160 seats is always filled to capacity. Their venue is located in the main building of the Technical University of Budapest. Béla Pintér is a hard-handed leader: his company is more or less closed, it changes very slowly, and he is their only writer and director, though music has always played an important part in their activities, and concerning composers he seems to be more flexible.

The main production of the 2011-2012 season, entitled Kaisers TV Ungarn is a piece based on Hungarian history using uchronia (alternate history) as the main source of the absurd. Uchronia is quite popular nowadays, mainly in novels: to rewrite the best-known turning points of history can generate long-term lessons. The most popular uchronistic turns of events are: Hitler winning the Second World War, and the Confederacy winning the Civil War. Uchrony is often called the what-if method, sometimes combined with science fiction or mystery elements, but it is always written as deliberate fiction.

The 42 nd week


From conception to delivery lasts about nine months or thirty-six weeks. (The forty-second week counts as well overdue, but is not necessarily dangerous.) Our play is set during this period. Our heroine, however, is not the child who is born or the mother giving birth, but the obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Imola Virágvári. Grief and love, faith and doubt, good and bad decisions – all come together in these nine dramatic months of her life. Every decision has its consequences. By the end of the play we learn what the “42nd week” will bring – birth or death.


Imola Eszter Csákányi
Boci Szabolcs Thuróczy
Karcsi Béla Pintér
Enikő Hella Roszik
Tamás Zoltán Friedenthal
Ági Éva Enyedi
Lola Angéla Stefanovics
Balázs László Quitt
László Kő Sándor Terhes
Eszti, Noémi Rozi Hajdú


Antal Kéménczy piano
Bertalan Veér violin
Csongor Veér violin
Gergő Sipos / Marcell Vámos cello
György Póta / Péter Ács bass

Executive assistant: Gyula Inhaizer
Production assistant: Anna Hidvégi
Director’s assistant: Rozi Hajdú

Light: László Varga
Sound: Zoltán Belényesi
Dramaturge: Éva Enyedi
Costume assistant: Julcsi Kiss
Costume design: Mari Benedek
Set: Gábor Tamás
Music director: Antal Kéménczy

Writer and director: Béla Pintér

Premiere: September 28, 2012, Szkéné Theatre
Supported by: EMMI, NKA, Szkéné Theatre
Duration: 110 minutes without an intermission

Our Secrets


None of us is perfect, and each one of us has their own secrets, no doubt. None of us is flawless… But we are sane fanatics of reality, living a treadmill of good compromises.” Comrade Pánczél


István Balla Bán – Zoltán Friedenthal
Dr Elvira Szádeczky, Comrade Pánczél – Eszter Csákányi
Kata – Hella Roszik
Timike – Éva Enyedi
Bea Zakariás – Zsófia Szamosi
Imre Tatár – Béla Pintér
Szujó, Waiter, Pogány – Szabolcs Thuróczy
Ferenc Tatár, Ági – Angéla Stefanovics
Borbíró – György Póta
Konkoly – Gábor Pelva


Gábor Pelva – violin, viola, guitar
György Póta – synthesizer, double-bass, viola
Hella Roszik – violin

Dramaturg – Éva Enyedi
Costume designer – Mari Benedek
Costumes designer’s assistant – Julcsi Kiss
Stage – Gábor Tamás
Lighting – László Varga
Sound – Zoltán Belényesi
Props – László Quitt

Finances – Gyula Inhaizer
Productions – Anna Hidvégi
Director’s assistant – Rozi Hajdú

Playwright/director – Béla Pintér

Audience advisory – restricted to adults only.
Length of stage performance 115 min.
Premièred on 28 September 2013 in Budapest at Szkéné Theatre

Sponsors: Ministry of Human Resources of Hungary, National Cultural Fund of Hungary, Szkéné Theatre

Tours abroad:

  • Transitions 3 Central Europe Festival, Athens, Greece – 2015
  • euro-scene Leipzig – Leipzig, German – 2015
  • Reflex International Theatre Festiva – Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania – 2015
  • Desiré Central Station – Contemporary Theatre Festival, Subotica, Serbia – 2014
  • 9. Festivals Politik im Freien Theater, Freiburg, 2014
  • Maribor Theater Festival, Slovenia – 2014
  • Theaterfestival Basel, Switzerland – 2014
  • “New Plays from Europe” Theatre-Biennale of Staatstheater Wiesbaden, 2014
  • Festival Theaterformen – Braunschweig, 2014
  • TESZT – Timisoara, 2014
  • Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, 2014
  • „Leaving is not an option?”HAU, Berlin, 2014


  • Theatre Critics’ Award, Hungary 2014 -Best Production
  • Theatre Critics’ Award, Hungary 2014 -Hungary’s best new drama
  • Vidor Festival, Hungary 2014 -Best Production

Your info on Our secrets

Our story takes us back to 1980s’ Budapest, into the days of the Communist rule in Hungary. The plot’s venue is a dance house*, the stage play’s music is predominantly Hungarian folk music while a touch of the era’s signature underground music too is presented. Nostalgic feelings for the era may arise among the theatre-goers hearing such old Budapest place names mentioned during the performance as the square named after prominent Bulgarian Communist Dimitrov, or another square called November 7th, with its name remembering the Russian Communists’ Revolution led by Chief Ideologist Lenin. Also, nostalgia may linger when a mention is made to the then fashionable cube-shaped model of the Russian car “Lada” or to the “Iron Curtain”.
For those with the nostalgic feelings it must be every now and then so enchanting to see, too, an archive film on a dance house from that era or one on a talent competition TV-show – enthusiastic, naïve, monochromatic reportages with underexposed shots, looking at which you cannot help smiling, though. This lighting technique, as well, is something the stage play seeks to reproduce so as to make you the beholder re-live the spirit of those times.

But no sweet, nostalgic look-backs are to be expected when it comes to a stage play by Béla Pintér, no way! Watching the story being told in a cruelly graphic performance, you will at times have a very strange feeling deep down in your stomach, whereas at other times, during the same performance, will feel compelled to laugh your head off. Meanwhile, the past as it haunts in the scenes on stage will give you a hunch to – so you can at last come more and more painfully face-to-face with – where the problems of present-day Hungary may stem from. Memories of the era may be rekindled in many of the theatre-goers’ minds, which – besides the resemblance of past and present – will at times make you feel relieved, or, at other times, have all its burden coming down on you the beholder.
Our performance seeks to, by any chance, find an answer to why none of the governments, whether left- or right-wing, have made the list of the Communists’ informers publicly known since the cessation of the Communist rule in Hungary. The stage play introduces a fictitious story to present an alleged way of how those informers may have been recruited and lived their lives. In the story the venue – the dramatic environment – is a dance house, the main conflict is being recruited as an informer, and the “secret sin” by the threat of exposure of which one can be pressured by the Communist authorities to become involved in making reports on people, that is, to become their informer, is pedophilia. It was not unusual, for that matter, that those recruited had a “sexually criminal” background. Being a homosexual, for instance, was then considered a crime and could be used as a ground to put a pressure on one to be making such reports.

Our protagonist, folk music collector István Balla Bán, comes to realize one day that he is sexually attracted to his juvenile stepdaughter called Timike. Our story is an account of his ordeal.
* Dance House Movement is an aspect of the Hungarian roots’ revival in traditional culture which began in the early 1970s, drawing on traditions, especially music and dance, from across the regions of the former Kingdom of Hungary (most notably, Transylvania). The term “dance house” is derived from a tradition of holding these peasant dances at individuals’ homes, or, more specifically put, in barns belonging to members of the local community.

In the 1970’s the areas with Hungarian populations in Romania, due to their being ethnic enclaves, proved a quarry for ethnographers and for collectors of folk music who arrived, chiefly, from Budapest, Hungary. They could experience the Hungarian folk culture traditions there in full bloom that came in a huge variety of forms, surviving as a living tradition (unlike in homeland Hungary). Based upon these ethnographic collections, and with the startout of the dance house movement, a new genre of entertainment in Budapest would be born with the dance houses and dance fests “reproduced” in state culture houses evening by evening – which is still an essential part of the cultural life of the Hungarian capital today.

Communist Hungary’s culture dictatorship labelled the cultural acts and the corresponding community events throughout the country as Banned, Tolerated, Supported, respectively. The dance house movement carried the label of Supported as it was, virtually, not to be then associated with illegal, anti-Communist efforts or underground activities. Therefore, the ethnographers, musicians and dancers from Hungary taking their turns to see and study the ethnic Hungarian communities’ traditions in Romania would mostly be harassed by the Romanian authorities only. (Back in those days already, the anti-Hungarian outcries and clandestine efforts arose, even at official levels, from Romanians despite the fact that both Hungary and Romania belonged in the same Communist Eastern Bloc. This spirit of antagonism had at least been there since the aftermath of the World War I when former Hungary’s huge territory with huge Hungarian populations had been annexed by the neighbouring countries, e.g. Romania.)

In the stage play there is reference made to a Hungarian folk song that, when sung in modern times, could be interpreted as one with an “Irredentist” message. Irredentism is an ideology and effort by a state seeking annexation of territories belonging to another state – on the grounds of common ethnicity or former historical possession. Truly, most borders have been moved and re-drawn over time, therefore, a great many countries could seem to present irredentist claims to their neighbours – and, the act of singing an old Hungarian song inspiring nostalgia for a former state, in itself, could by anyone be easily assessed as such.



A normal, seemingly average man comes across two drug addicts on the street – he gives away a few coins to them, but he speaks to them in a crushing manner.

After he leaves, we realise that one of the drug addicts has stolen his money.
The two of them buy their stuff, a new drug called LIFE…

Eszter Csákányi
Zoltán Friedenthal
Béla Pintér
Hella Roszik
Zsófia Szamosi

Antal Kéménczy / Bertalan Veér
Zoltán Mózes
Gábor Pelva
György Póta

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Musical director: Antal Kéménczy
Stage: Gábor Tamás
Costumes: Mari Benedek
Costume’s designer’s assistant: Julcsi Kiss
Lighting: László Varga
Sound: István Simon

Finances: Gyula Inhaizer
Productions: Anna Hidvégi
Director’s assistant: Rozi Hajdú

Director: Béla Pintér 

Target audience: Ages 16+
Length of stage performance 95 min.
Premiéred on 9 October 2014.

Ministry of Human Resources of Hungary,
National Cultural Fund of Hungary,
Budapest City Council


A normal, seemingly average man comes across two drug addicts on the street – he gives away a few coins to them, but he speaks to them in a crushing manner.
After he leaves, we realise that one of the drug addicts has stolen his money. The two of them buy their stuff, a new drug called LIFE. Thus they start hallucinating — of the man they have thieved. Their hallucination, their „play” is about how this man’s life is ruined by a love affair, by his own assion, by his own addiction. How he rivals with his own physically disabled son, and how his aggression is growing towards his mentally disturbed mother.The drug addicts participate in the story, stepping in and out of their rolls, and keeping in touch with each other and the audience, but in the very end, when one of them decides to mix LIFE with HOPE, the story turns towards an unexpected ending…

Pheasant Dance


“An orphan lives a life of sadness,
She hardly ever has any gladness.
No mother or granny to take care of an orphan
She only has a Headmistress who’s like a warden.

We Hungarians couldn’t expel the Turkish hordes,
They were at last defeated by the German Sword.
Yet our trust in the future was still alive
in the year of 1695.”

Eszter Csákányi
Andrea Tokai
Angéla Stefanovics
Szabolcs Thuróczy
Gergő Krausz
Zoltán Szabó
Zsuzsa Szakács
Béla Pintér

Dramaturg: Éva Enyedi
Costumes: Mari Benedek
Costume’s designer’s assistant: Julcsi Kiss
Technician: Gábor Tamás
Lighting: László Varga
Sound: Zoltán Belényesi
Assistant: Ádám Schór
Finances: Gyula Inhaizer
Productions: Anna Hidvégi
Director’s assistant: Rozi Hajdú
Writer and Director: Béla Pintér

Target audience: Ages 14+
Length of stage performance 90 min.
Premiéred on 24 October 2015 with the support of Ministry of Human
Resources of Hungary, National Cultural Fund of Hungary, Szkéné Theatre


A headmistress drama, or a Shakespearean royal drama as seen from a below view – or, so to say, an unhistorical historical Dürrenmattian comedy….
It’s the year of 1695. The military troops of Bestern St. Union expelled the conqueror Turks from Hungary. In the wake of the new rule, Francis Simon State Orphanage School is seeing a time of educational reform – it’s the first free vote held by Students, and the winner is acting headmistress Aunt Erzsi, that is, “Bright Reverend” Dr. Erzsébet Rázga Mrs. Varkoly. After performing her sacred “inaugural pheasant dance”, she greets the speaker of the event Andreas von Bruckner who is the incumbent president of the educational system of Bestern St. Union. Shadow is cast over the ceremony, though, by the fact that one of the Students called Huzál Gyöngyi demands money for compensation from Andreas von Bruckner, reasoning that her schoolmate Nelly Yiddow too has been given some. Headmistress Aunt Erzsi reprimands Gyöngyi, telling her to shut her mouth. After Andreas von Bruckner leaves, Headmistress Aunt Erzsi has a talk in person with her colleague Aunt Gabi, accusing her of an attempt to take over the headmistress position from her. They put up a fight and it’s revealed by their quarrel that Aunt Gabi only entered the election because she was made to by Aunt Erzsi so to keep up appearances. Aunt Erzsi won’t believe that Aunt Gabi didn’t mean to grab the headmistress position and keeps threatening her while too she tells about how stupid she thinks the Students are. Their quarrel has been recorded by the bugs that were planted throughout the school by the order of Aunt Erzsi, and the next day it is aired on School Radio. Aunt Erzsi blames this on Aunt Gabi and, with the Students present, beats her nearly to death. Following this, on behalf of the Students, Gyöngyi demands that Aunt Erzsi resign. That, it turns out, cannot happen by Bestern St. Union law which says a headmistress must be succeeded by a headmaster. Consequently, with no rival in sight, Aunt Erzsi can easily keep her position. After spending some time away to recover from the injuries from the abuse, Aunt Gabi returns, to the astonishment of all, as transmuted into a man. She, that is, he, as Uncle Gabe now, demands early election which he wins. He demotes Aunt Erzsi to Student while promotes Gyöngyi Huzál to Teacher. Aunt Erzsi cannot stand the shame and commits suicide. Following that, an unmoved Uncle Gabe with a strong mind gives a marriage proposal to a thoroughly scared Gyöngyi. Meanwhile, the funds by Bestern St. Union to support the School prove to be less than what Uncle Gabe expected, so he turns to Turkish ruler Selim II for support. Just as Uncle Gabe and Gyöngyi are having their wedding ceremony, Selim shows up before the agreedupon time to sign the agreement on students catering. While undersigning, Selim Pasha spots a necklace worn by the bride Gyöngyi that he finds familiar. Uncle Gabe explains that the necklace belonged to an escaped prisoner of the Pasha’s dungeon. Gabe goes on telling that the fugitive, though given refuge by the School, breached the School’s law and got punished by being thrown into a salt well, which he could not survive.
The Pasha reveals the refugee was his own young brother whom he would never have killed though rebelled against him. Selim Pasha, retaliating his brother’s death by executing Aunt Gabe, threatens all present by telling them he’ll return and will have mercy on none. The gates of Francis Simon State Orphanage School are being locked up and re-enforced. Finally, seizing power, Gyöngyi declares a state of emergency and martial law.

Back To Top