TO COMMEMORATE the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the 10th Convergence Festival is to present the monodrama Juliet – Dialogue about Love. The suggestive piece, written by András Visky, a prominent Romanian writer of Hungarian origin, will be performed by American actress Melissa Hawkins.
The story, which was awarded Book of the Year in Hungary, is inspired by the life-story of Visky’s mother, the wife of a persecuted priest. She managed, together with her seven children, to survive the hell of imprisonment and forced labour.
“The play focuses on the traumatic realities of religious oppression, ethno-nationalism, physical and psychological abuse, loss of one’s loved ones, and the power of the spirit to survive through such trials and tribulations. Few other plays about the early communist years in Eastern Europe focus on these themes together, and none on the female perspective,” wrote Maria Bucur, the Vice-President of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies at Indiana University.
Melissa Hawkins became a company member of Studio K in Budapest upon graduating from Northern Illinois University in 2002. During that year she came across the newly-translated Juliet, and András Visky asked her to perform the English premiere when she returned to the United States. Three years later, Juliet began her international tour, which has included performances in Hungary, Romania, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
What Bucur said he finds most impressive in Hawkins’ performance is that she has managed to pepper with humour a piece that might otherwise (as was the case in one particular staging) be construed as purely depressing.
“The humour in this interpretation has to do with subtle self-irony that the author inserted between the lines, as well as bitter-sweet moments of recollecting childhood memories,” Bucur wrote.
The performance is in English and is accompanied by the music of Dmitrij Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt.
Venue: Design Factory
Date: September 17, 2009 at 21:00
More information: www.konvergencie.sk
15. Sep 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff