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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Benjamin Millepied: Haut Vol

Benjamin Millepied: Haut Vol
The Paris Opera Ballet takes flight above the French capital

“One can not come and shoot at Palais Garnier without marveling at the architecture, the atmosphere of this glorious theater from 1875,” says the Paris Opera Ballet’s Benjamin Millepied, of the ecstatic architectural-inspired piece directed by Louis de Caunes, featuring dancers Leonore Baulac and Alistair Madin. “I think Louis de Caunes was inspired by all he had in front of him. The dancing, the spaces, the light.” The historic institution—boasting the oldest resident ballet company in the world—last October named the French native its latest Director of Dance, who recently joined Russian model Natalia Vodianova on stage for her Annie Leibovitz-photographed Vogue cover shoot. 

I am interested in making sure we are pushing ballet forward.

The contemporary electronic score of Haut Vol hints at a new modern direction under the onus of the L.A. Dance Project founder. “My first season will be announced in a month, and the first program will take place in September,” says Millepied. “I will bring in visual artists, filmmakers, cartoonists and fashion designers to create the visual language of our new productions. I am interested in making sure we are not only dancing the best ballets that exist but also pushing ballet forward with the creation of new works which make use of the classical vocabulary and feel relevant to our time.”

Monday, May 14, 2012


From the two talks we had with the audience (after Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum and Shiraz Perzsa Étterem performances) and the notes and messages that many members of the audience sent us, we have selected these comments that we show anonymously and that we honestly think provide an overview of the general reaction that the play provoked. This contact with the audience has been very helpful and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all who participated by generously sharing their opinions. We plan and hope that these meetings became a habit in the frame of our work, because we give a great importance to the audience feedback, which is for whom we work. Each and every one of your contributions help us to go ahead and feed the approach of what we do, especially in this case that we consider a work in progress. Much of what has been said will be useful to outline clearly the show both in its new version in Spanish and in its upcoming performance in Hungarian.

Well, it was certainly very... philosophical. Contemporary. Provocative and at the same time funny. It makes you think. Somehow it's also a mirror of society.

Congratulations on your yesterday performance! It was great, I liked it very much! Such a crazy character yours! I hope to see more of your theater in the future.

The time and effort you've put into this show are undoubtedly admirable. Go ahead with your work!

Congratulations to all for the success of yesterday, the theatre was crowded! Your interpretation, Carlos, was impressive. Such a great artist you are! Please tell us about the next opportunities, I will not miss one.

After the show I couldn't wait to talk with you... As it wasn't possible, obviously we went for a drink to your health.

It looks like everything went smoothly. Congratulations! You don't know how happy I am! Take a short walk in the Spanish stages, so that we could see you.

Congratulations on your show! The choice of subject was surprising, the execution was perfect, the character was enormeous. The experience is unforgettable!

You did a great job, we really enjoyed it!

Great! Although I would not commit a murder to give material to the philosophers.

The text and the character were so demanding... I could hardly pay atention to anything else!

I've never seen a play like that... The subject is disturbing and is treated in a very original way. I hope to see you soon in Hungary in one of the theaters in Budapest.

Such a provocative character! It made me think a lot after the show.

I loved the atmosphere that you have achieved with so few elements. Perhaps the audience members sitting on the table, with their daily clothes, broke a little this atmosphere. But the venue, the music, how you display the subtitles and... Well, that character so unpleasant and so provocative, everything was very successful and well done. And your acting was fantastic!

This in Spain would be a hit!

You have managed to totally make me forget about reality and enter absolutely into your world.

Despite the grotesque style and ghostly world you have created everything was perfectly credible. For sure there are people like that somewhere. It's scary!

Listen, the adaptation was really great. I read the novel and while I was there It came all this world at once. It was a very different feeling from the one you have as a reader. I think it's great to bring things like that to the theatre.

I think you've been very daring to relate art with murder. Fine arts only? What about the other?

The text is superb. Such an effort to memorize it!

It's the ideal type of play for these days. I wish you good luck with your work.

I love the dumb character, the waiter, and how you have include him into the story. The relationship between the two characters is sinister... very funny!

It is unclear whether this play is a comedy or a tragedy. People next to me did not know whether to laugh or... It seemed like they were afraid to make fun of such a serious issue.

The character was disgusting, but more surprising is that at certain times and in the end, I felt pity on him. You succeed in bringing humanity to someone so repulsive, cynical and defending those ideas about the murder. It's amazing!

You got us all into your world. We really enjoy being members of that macabre Association... For a while we ceased to be audience and we felt a little like actors. I was waiting for the dessert. Congratulations!

The task now is to educate the audience to enjoy such plays.

We find interesting material and your idea to continue working on this is very motivating. Good luck!

This is the kind of humor I like. Ironic and intelligent. Black humor. It's very Hungarian!

This work must be seen without subtitles and phocus the most on the text and interpretation.


Well, I thought it was terrible ... I do not think that the issue of murder is funny...

But where do you inspired to do this work?! I think it's necessary to have more pieces like this in our theatres.

Your character was sinister, repulsive, pedantic, funny, tender, grotesque, charismatic... That contradictory and yet was logical! We did spend a great time and felt many different things.

To us who were sitting with you at the table, we found an amazing experience. We had never seen a play from so close. We were totally submerged. Let us know when you do it again!

After the play one is left stunned. We took home a lot of feelings and a lot to think about.

Who said that the theater that makes you think is boring? If anyone doubt it I'll recommend him to see your work.


Monday, April 9, 2012


MISERO PROSPERO Project & Spanyol Portál

Due to many colleagues and friends who could not come to the performances of the play we did in the end of January have encouraged us to show it once more, we finally will. With the support of our colleagues from Spanyol Portal. It is likely the last chance to see it in Spanish here in Budapest. It will be a special performance in a small restaurant in the city center, where you have the possibility, in addition to seeing the play, if you feel like, to enjoy a tasty dinner of Persian cuisine and chat with members of the company after the show with a drink to share your impressions. We hope you are interested in the proposal and ... because it is a small place get your tickets as soon as possible!

Muchos de los compañeros y amigos que no pudieron asistir a las funciones que hicimos de la obra a finales de enero nos han animado a presentarla una vez más. Con el apoyo de nuestros colegas de Spanyol Portál. Es muy probable que esta sea la última posibilidad de verla en español aquí en Budapest. Será una función especial, en un pequeño restaurante en el centro de la ciudad, donde tendréis la posibilidad, además de ver la obra, si os apetece, de disfrutar de una sabrosa cena de gastronomía persa y charlar con los miembros de la compañía con una copa para compartir vuestras impresiones. Esperamos que os interese la propuesta y… ya que es un lugar pequeño ¡Conseguid vuestra entrada cuanto antes!

Januári bemutatónkra sok barátunk és ismerősünk nem jutott el, ezért most az ő kifejezett kérésükre lépünk fel a Spanyol Portál dolgozóinak közreműködésével. Valószínűleg ez lesz az utolsó alkalom, hogy  spanyol nyelven adjuk elő a darabot itt, Budapesten. Ezúttal egy igazán különleges előadásról van szó, amire a belváros egyik éttermében kerül sor, ahol lehetőségetek nyílik, az előadás megtekintése mellett, egy ízletes perzsa vacsora elfogyasztására, valamint a társulat tagjaival való beszélgetésre is. Reméljük kellőképpen felkeltettük figyelmeteket, és hogy minél hamarabb beszerzitek a belépőjegyeket, mivel azok száma korlátozott!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Teatro Surreal
A Teatro Surreal's guest

We attend at one of the performances of No se vale llorar -translated into Hungarian as Nem ér sírni!- by Cristian Cortez, a screenwriter and playwright from Ecuador, by the Hungarian Theatre Company Teatro Surreal in Zöld Macska Diákpince, a cozy venue where the company often show their work regularly n Budapest. It is rare to find in the theaters of this city the work of a Latin American author. Hedvig Montserrat Flores, a Hungarian-Ecuatorian actress, is the driving force behind this exciting initiative. She is not only the director of Teatro Surreal but has chosen, translated and produced this play by Cristian Cortez, charging two directors, Korcsmáros András and Müller Ádám, to direct each of them his own version of the play. This is one of the appeal of the proposal. We are going to see tonight two versions of the same play performed by four actors, Pinter Szilvia, Hedvig Montserrat Flores herself, Hegedüs Jenő and Pásztor Máté, who play different characters in each of the versions and a desert space in which to display these Cristian Cortez ghostly characters. The company has received for this project the support of Zöld Macska, the Association of Ecuador, Sín Kulturális Központ and SzíDoSz.

Teatro Surreal was born in April 2008 with the aim of staging works by Latin American authors who, despite their international recognition, have not yet been performed in Hungary and also to give the possibility to young contemporary authors to show their work. The company debuted on July 17, 2008 with the performance of Un ramo de Ecuador, three one-act plays by Jose Martinez Queirolo, an Ecuatorian playwright awarded with the Eugenio Espejo National Award. The founding members of the company are: Boros Ádám, Hedvig Montserrat Flores, Lázár Zoltán and Pásztor Máté.

Hedvig Montserrat Flores

Hedvig Montserrat Flores

His father is Ecuadorian, her mother is Hungarian. They met at a college party in Budapest, fell in love and then Hédi born. The problem was that his father's visa expired and the Hungarian state did not renew it, despite having a Hungarian family. Then they decided to go to Ecuador. They lived in Quito, in a very nice family atmosphere. As for her mother was very difficult to learn the language, required to find work, after one year, they decided to return to Hungary. Because of they difficult finantial situation, they took only two tickets: one for Hedi and one for her mother. They had agreed that his father would follow them a few months later. But that not happened. At fifteen Hédi  her father invited her to spend some time in Ecuador. At that time she did not ask him the question she might do a few years later at last. Meanwhile she passed the high school, and it was time to decide on her future career. As she herself says, that year she felt a very low self-esteem and, although from 6 years old she wanted to be an actress, she did not even tried to enter the High School of Dramatic Art. She earned a place at the University of Botany, but she decided to return with her father for another year. Finally, years later, she finally decided to change the course of her life. She graduated at Gór Mária Színitanoda, a prestigious drama school here in Budapest in 2007 and she has been dedicated to thetre since then.


After the show we have the opportunity to chat with Hedi.

Who is behind Teatro Surreal?

Teatro Surreal is formed by a group of actors -friends of mine- and me. It was born from a team work. I realized that here in Hungary there were not many shows based on Latin American texts and I thought it might be interesting to do something like that. The initiative came from the idea of ​​creating a group to put on the stage Latin American plays, because most theater groups here choose Chekhov, Shakespeare, etc.. and I thought it would make sense to explore that line. In addition, many of the Hungarian theater companies have more experience and are in better finantial situation than us, besides there's the program of the stable theaters that represent their works throughout the season. We however are a small company, not well known yet, which needed to find its own style, its way.

Yes, because Teatro Surreal has a profile as a company. One characteristic of this profile is what you have just said about doing Latin American theater in Hungary. How do you think Latin American theater can contribute to Hungarian scene?

Especially in the way of thinking that Latin people have about life, because, in my opinion, is different from the Hungarian mentality. This is especially noticeable in Latin American novels that are better known in Hungary that theatre plays.

Another feature of your profile, and maybe that's why the company has its name, is that you choose works among the surreal, the abstract or the absurd. Does this also defines you?

Yes, I think so.

Do you think reality needs to be transformed by theatre? You don't choose naturalism plays that explain what everyone can recognize in everyday life.

Well, I always liked the grotesque. I think we are closer to the grotesque theater than to the absurd, although these two concepts are quite similar. I like when a play makes me think, so I try that with my audience. If we make a funny play, that's not enough to me: I also want the audience think why it was funny, for example.

A third defining characteristic in Teatro Surreal is a certain social component, that is, it cares about some issues such as the communication or adaptation of some kind of people in contemporary society. Till what point do you think theater can influence the world we live in, especially nowadays?

Well, first of all I think it is very difficult. On one hand I think people who decide to come to see us is the type a little bit more concerned about social issues, but in fact this audience is very small, so we do not have much influence on the whole. On the other hand, they also bring more people, and thus gradually become more and more. We can influence them individually. In each of the people who see us.

You are an actress, producer, translator, and writer as well. Of all these facets, which is the one you feel most comfortable in? Which one do you identify with the most?

With the actress one. For me it would be easier to work in a theater where I get a character and then go to rehearsals and do my job, rather than raising a company. But these days things are not so easy: when one is an actor, he sometimes has to find his own work.

Hedvig Montserrat Flores

Szürke váró is a piece you wrote in a playwriting workshop and then you performed it as an actress. Is there a difference when you play a character that you yourself have written?

No. And sometimes I'm surprised it was me who wrote it.


I don't know... Maybe because I wrote it non-stop... then I did not read it in two weeks. I told myself I had to spend time to take it back again.

And while you were working at the rehearsals with the director, could you forget that you were the author?

Yes, sort of. I try to be what I have to be at all times.

Then you gave the director freedom to interpret it according to his vision.

I met him and asked him what he planned to do with the play. In fact, I was a bit scared at first, because I did not know how he would approach it. What he told me convinced me, because his idea was very close to what I wanted to see on stage.

What you do is alternative theatre?

Well, that's one of the labels we use to define ourselves here in Hungary. We also say that we are "independent."

What is alternative theater in Hungary?

They are small groups that have no stable theater.

And those groups, do they have to worry about finding the actors, crew and money?

Yes, they should do that.

Where do you think the funds to finance theatre should come from?

I think they are the unions that can and usu to help. I think step by step we should get used to turn to big companies and ask their support. In fact, normally, they have a budget for cultural purposes that cannot be used for anything else. Currently this path is not yet open to all equally. But I think this is slowly changing as more and more companies, including stable theaters, are considering the possibility of requesting financial assistance to these companies, banks, etc.., As the government doesn't support them that much.

If you agree, let's talk a little bit about the play. When you chose the text, and offered it to two directors, you have clearly opted to show two different versions of the play. And, I guess you'd have yours. Were you surprised?

Yes, yes, I was surprised. I selected two directors with very different views. I thought that this would give two really different versions.

You were not wrong. Was not there anything common?

There was a match which shocked me: both speak of death as the main theme of the play. When I read it, I laughed a lot with the text, and for me the message was pretty clear: we should always look forward and try that the things delay you on the road, won't stuck you, but you can go forward without getting back. In Hungary there is a saying for that: Mindig fel kell készülni, előre tekinteni, azért, hogy ha az élet utolér, csak a hátsódat érje el. For me this was the idea and I think this way of thinking is very typical of Latin people. My father agrees with it and he always says that we must go forward. I remember once in a Bolivian wedding where the bride's father spoke in similar terms to his daughter, saying that the past no longer mattered, only the present and what comes next. For me the play follows this reasoning: the four characters don't stop to mourn and lament, until it reaches the point where their own tragedy becomes funny, because they don't want to continue acting, they're just complaining.

So for you is an optimistic play.

No, it's not optimistic, it is rather grotesque.

And the opinion of the two directors matches up with that pessimism.

Yes, that's right.

You have respected the two visions and you've placed in their hands as an actress.


With which one of the two versions you feel more identified?

As an actress?

For example.

I cannot decide it, because in one of them I'm playing a girl and in the other a prostitute... Maybe I could answer if I had the same role in both.

What do you ask for as an actress to a director?

I like when a director knows what he wants from me. There are some directors who know a lot but do not pay enough attention to the actors, who don't know if they do well or badly and feel insecure.

Hedvig Montserrat Flores

What criteria you followed to decide the order of the two versions?

First we decided that the András one would be the second, because it's a bit more funny and light and we thought this would help the audience to cheer up, that would leave the theater less sad and depressed. But when the two saw the work that had done the other, they decided to change it, basically because in the case of András stage is more "pure" and Ádám used more lights, more effects...

It is technically more complex.

They decided that way they would get the effect they wanted to cause in the audience.

And how did you work? At the same time or first with a director and then with another?

At the same time. Sometimes we worked a few hours with one and then with the other and sometimes we alternated the rehearsals.

And this, as actors, was not a problem?

Well, sometimes we were saying the same phrases in both roles, but the change was the directors idea, and I think that helped. Maybe if we had done the same roles, it would have been more difficult.

And did they communicate each other?

They did not.

When you finished, one saw the other's work.


And how would you explain briefly each version?

András version is very elaborate from the linguistic point of view and the characters are more accurated, lighter. I think the girl role is best understood in the Andras one -in which I played that role- but I don't think that's a problem of the other actress, It's just that Ádám asked her something different.

What about the Adam's one?

There is more movement, more shocking and he focuses more on the visual stimulus. If we establish a clear difference, András focused on the text and Ádám in the visual spectacle.

What effect do you think causes in the audience to see two versions of the same play?

I always try to ask known people what is their opinion and to whom would want to talk and ask questions. So far the feedback has been positive: the audience liked it and they were surprised about how different were the two versions. This was our intention, so I'm satisfied with our work. What surprised me as an actress and as a director, was to hear what was important for the audience and what wasn't. For example, the character of the pregnant woman in the first version appeared without her belly in the second, but that detail did not bother the audience, they didn't think anything was missing. Others did not understand why the characters die at the end of the play, but they had no need to know. In other words: they accepted that death. For us it's very interesting to know what gets the audience, because when we were working with the directors we were always thinking and even arguing with them about if this is going to be understood or not.

When you translated the play, did you have already an image about how you would stage it?

I read it first and then I thought of the actors who I was going work with and to stage it. When I saw it clear, I began to translate. While translating, there were moments in which, unconsciously, It came to my mind how I would do it on stage.

Have you made any kind of adaptation to the Hungarian reality or is a literal translation?

Well, when I translated I try to express all the ideas and feelings that I consider Latinoamerican, because that is what I play with when I show these plays in Hungary. I cannot lose anything of this nature, because that's what I want to show people here. About the literal translation, I tried to find the corresponding expressions in both languages. I try to find expressions that have the closest meaning in both languages.

How do you imagine the ideal spectator for Teatro Surreal?

An open person. I don't ask anything else. That he may be open minded.

Hedvig Montserrat Flores