Chekhov blurs the line between the actor and the spectator
Dollardaddy’s from Hungary bring their intense piece Chekhov to Tampere Theatre Festival this summer. The young professionals come close to their audience and make theatre and reality intertwine in their productions. Chekhov was created by combining the original plays of Anton Chekhov.
”The goal was not to make scenes from many Chekhov plays but to rewrite the real big plays to have one new”, says Tamás Ördög, the director of the show.
After performing Chekhov in Hungary they got feedback from people who knew all the Chekhov plays and also from people who didn’t.
”I think we managed to make a new story, so people don’t have to know the plays.” He points out that you shouldn’t think Chekhov too much as a play which is built from other plays.
”I think the best attitude for this performance is if everybody will sit in and don’t suspect anything, just relax and look the performance. But it also can be an intellectual game for who knows any plays.”
The original performing style of dollardaddy’s can be regarded as atypical in Hungary. Their way to come close to the audience developed already at university. Ördög says that they weren’t taught anything new, so after their graduation they really wanted to do something other than traditional theatre pieces.
”It was also because of the situation that we weren’t asked to join any theatre when we graduated. And we wanted to work, we wanted to do something, and I had a really small flat in the downtown and we started to work in this flat. So it was the starting point that we had a flat, we had ourselves, let’s do theatre”, he says. They had the idea of going to other flats to perform their shows, and after a few years they moved to Trafó House of Contemporary Arts in Hungary.
Small flats and being very close to the audience created new opportunities to make theatre and new ways of acting.
”At the university we are trained to be on a stage and to do anything on a stage. But when you are in a flat, you don’t have a stage, you don’t have anything, you have only yourself. And you can’t lie anything, the audience is so close they recognise everything on your face, on your body, on your voice, how you are speaking. It’s really everything”, Ördög says. Their audience is sitting so close you almost can’t tell the difference between an actor and a spectator.
Chekhov will be performed at Pakkahuone in Tampere. It’s a rather big stage compared to the performances in small flats, but Ördög says they will keep the same form and have the audience sitting close to the stage.
”The audience is sitting in a square, not so close as in a flat but very close. I hope it’s really intimate but it was also a tryout for how to grow a little bit, how to get little bit bigger because we are doing always really small projects for a few spectators and it was a wish inside of the group to make something little bit bigger”, Ördög says. The group has enjoyed performing on a bigger stage but they will also continue making smaller projects in the future.
- Interview: Joanna Jokela and Miia Toivari
- Text: Joanna Jokela