WE ALL TRADE WITH TRUST, WE ALL NEGOTIATE FOR TRUST, WE ALL MANIPULATE WITH TRUST. IN THIS GAME, THERE ARE NO INNOCENT VICTIMS.
Asking someone to kill his own son is a horrible game to verify the faith. Abraham was ready to pay the price, he trusted the will of GOD, and he was richly rewarded. Today we sacrifice entire national economies, which must pay absurdly high prices in order to regain the trust of imaginary financial markets. It’s the same game. Capitalism is a religion, capital demands trust and obedience. And we hope to be rewarded. After the former Hungarian prime minister publicly admitted that his government “fucked it up, not a little but a lot”, he again succeeded to gain the trust of the Hungarian PEOPLE at the following elections.
Manipulations begin with a simple question: Why? Why do we present this show? Why do we do it this way and not otherwise? Why not? The performance starts to open different situations of some potential performance, which raises the question of trust between the performance and its viewers. Is this the performance, which viewers can trust? Is the artist on stage trustworthy? This is a situation of constant negotiation.
We all trade with trust, we all negotiate for trust, we all manipulate with trust. In this game, there are no innocent victims – we all know what it is about. Trust is a weapon to fight with fear, insecurity and uncertainty of the future. Trust is the fuel of power. And this is where manipulations begin. If there is no trust, there is no trading, no bankers, no politicians, no democracy, no love, no God. NOTHING. Trust is not a question of choice. It is a matter of necessity.
Performance is a series of images and situations on manipulations with trust. Trust is a wall of questions, which is impossible to climb with rational answers. Trust is a knife between the two dancers. Trust is a flower that nobody knows how to water. Trust is a chewing gum – when it loses its flavor, spit it out and take the fresh one. Trust makes no sense unless it is constantly put to the test. It’s a game. Very old game.
Manipulations is produced by four festivals based in cities located near the borders between Hungary, Serbia and Romania: Thealter Szeged, TESZT Timisoara, Infant Novi Sad and Desire Subotica together with Via Negativa. At the opening workshop in Szeged director Bojan Jablanovec selected a group of seven performers and actors from Hungary, Serbia and Romania and over the next months we have been working in Kosztolanyi Dezső Theatre in Subotica. Final composing of the piece was done in the Hungarian State Theatre in Timisoara, where the project has been presented on May 23 as an opening performance of the TESZT Festival.
Performed in English.
Duration: 75 minutes
Via Negativa (Ljubljana, Slovenia) / Csiky Gergely State Hungarian Theatre – TESZT Festival (Timisoara, Romania) / MASZK Association – THEALTER Festival (Szeged, Hungary) / Kosztolányi Dezső Theatre – DESIRÉ Festival (Subotica, Serbia) / INFANT Festival (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Conceived and devised by the group.
Performers: Borisz Kucsov / Csaba Formanek / Esztella Levko / Etelka Magyari / Kriszta Szorcsik / Zsolt Imre / Mátyás / Gábor Mészáros
Concept, direction & set: Bojan Jablanovec
Stage manager: András Molnos
23 MAY 2015, TESZT Festival Timisoara / premiere
30 JUNE 2015, INFANT Festival Novi Sad
17 JULY 2015, THEALTER Festival Szeged
22 – 23 SEPT 2015, EX-PONTO Festival Ljubljana
24 SEPT 2015, EUROKAZ – EURIJALA Zagreb
5 DEC 2015, DESIRE Festival Subotica
7 MAR 2016, The Old Power Station Ljubljana
9 – 10 MAR 2016, Spazio Teatro NO’HMA Milan
6 APR 2016, Kosztolanyi Dezso Theatre Subotica
7 APR 2016, Hungarian Theatre Timisoara
12 APR 2016, Festival of professional theatres Vojvodina
Trust me, it is …
Radio Študent / Teater v eter, Ljubljana, 29. September 2015, Robert Bobnič
“It is simply good to see a performance that — at a time when it is modern, also within the theatre, to make pronouncements on resolutions at any cost, alongside creating spectacles, representing generations or what there is of a populist addressing of the indeed difficult spirit of the times — simply and quietly undermines that on which we have been sitting all along, whether we are watching the show or writing or …”
“The audience assists to the nude displaying of the human vulnerability. Assists with cruelty to a couple’s violent battle for a common chewing gum. From the meeting point of the masochism of the performer and the sadism of the audience, occurred such a tension that after a while one of the spectators got up and left shouting to the performers to stop it already. But the rest of us stood still with the unnamed desire to see what’s coming next. (…) Jablanovec’s theatre is not conceptional. If anything, it is totally anti-conceptional. We don’t get answers at the end, it doesn’t solve the problems and issues related to trust. It’s a theatre of searching and questioning and not a theatre of answers and repetition.”
“At this moment we are already somewhere between God and nothing, humans extracting root from themselves. Being fucked up is a human prime-situation, past and before the biblical morality border-line. There are a lot of lines in the performance, drawn with chalk on the floor or the walls of the theatre: they form letters. Meanwhile communication transforms into movement and gazes. Between them and us. And we join in the game, breaking the rules from the first second of the performance, because it seems that without this act of rule-breaking, there is no game at all.”
2015 – 25 – May
“We started this one week long theatre program with a performance so non-conventional that it was not only talking about today’s society but also questioning and examining the issues of trust between people at the same time. The well known everyday manipulations and the seemingly random words said on the stage, the question marks and the presented real life situations have showed us how hard it actually can be to break down the walls of trust. So hard that we as the audience are unnoticeable starting to take part in the performance accepting without any kind of shame the uncovered, naturalistic, vulgar honesty of the creators.”
2015 – 26 – May
“Manipulations is a non-classical theatre show, which with its open, interactive, free dramaturgy reminds us of the uniqueness of performances. The creators are preoccupied with the questions of trust, which they examine through theatrical forms. What kind of trust must be born between director and actors, performers and audience, in order to feel the bid of the production, for it to become not just believable but authentic, so that we – the audience don’t feel betrayed?”
2015 – 26 – May
“The performance is like – as Upor László said during the discussion- watching something through the naivety of a child. (…) And yes, through that childish naivety is quite exciting watching a half naked actress covered with flower petals and forced to drink more than three liters of water which, as we all know, is very bad for our health. But nobody says a word, nobody really does anything. Someone in the audience leaves the room, and we are just sitting numbly, expecting her to pass out or for the show to end. This performance was full of big meanings, messages, indoctrination, wanted to be new, provocative, philosophical. It split the public, this one is for sure.”
2015 -29 – May
“The greatest success of the ‘Manipulations’ is the fact that as an international project it does not thematise a phobia, ‘-ism’, ecological or economic problem. It thematises us as people, civilisation, it thematises the theatre and establishes a dialogue between those who practice it and those who come to see it.”
Igor Burić, Dnevnik Novi Sad, 2015 – 25 – May
The diary of Via Negativa
On making of Manipulations in the last days before the first public presentation at TESZT Festival in Timisoara.
Written by Csaba Formanek, performer
18 May 2015 – Via Negativa
…There are only a few days left till the opening night, and we are getting deeper and deeper into the details of the material. We have overcome problems, which seemed unsolvable, and I – like the rest of the group, I believe – would like to proceed. From time to time I find myself annoyed: Bojan seems to return to certain questions from before. It doesn’t function well. WHY NOT? What are we supposed to be thinking about right now? It seems he doesn’t know it, either. Where is his mind at the moment? He drops his head and his face into his palms in these moments, wringing himself. A long lasting silence, we are thinking, speculating, trying to get the clear sight in the studio, we make faces on each others’ ideas, we get tired, screw around, quip one another, we get offended, manage to squeeze out a cigarette break, we talk about our poverty, and how nervous the “old one” is, since he can’t find the solution, everything will fall apart, why the heck do we push ourselves even and so on…