<< -- 2 -- Rex Harley AUTHENTIC FOLK DRAMA
Neither Pintér nor any of the other performers are professional singers, and to start with I felt that might be a problem. Once the energy levels were up, however, and the performers more confident of audience response, lack of perfect intonation and occasional problems with dynamics seemed no longer to matter. By the end, the raw quality of the voices actually enhanced the drama we were witnessing on stage.
And a dark drama it is. It begins with the preparations for a marriage -- the girl already heavily pregnant. Early on there are intimations of disaster, but nothing on the scale which is finally revealed. The stepsister of the bridegroom is jealous because she is in love with him herself; the father is about to marry her off, cynically, to the drunken station master in order to gain a piece of land; the bride's mother is a vamp; her father, the minister who is due to conduct the ceremony, turns out not to be her father; and there is the mysterious figure of the bridegroom's much older brother who hasn't been heard of for years.
Tünde Szalontay as the bride's mother (left) and Szilvia Baranyi as the mother of the bridegroom
Secrets from the past rise inexorably to the surface. Two of the Seven Deadly Sins feature prominently. Firstly, lust. We discover that the bride's mother had sex with a total stranger, the mysterious figure of 'The Cowboy', and the daughter was the result. The moment is acted out in front of us in a lewd dance which centres round the Cowboy's gigantic, jewelled phallus. It is embarrassing, and funny, and disturbing, and hypnotic. But this is just the first of the revelations. Darker still is the sin of avarice and what it can lead to. By the end of the drama we are faced with an appalling crime, committed in a moment of temptation by a seemingly loving couple. It comes as a genuine shock, and the build-up is extremely chilling.
Copyright © 30 September 2004
Rex Harley, Cardiff UK