Letter of Kornél Mundruczó and Viktória Petrányi, theatre director, theatre maker and film director and his producer, Hungary
Trafó’s regular programme had waited for us in our mailbox this month, as usual. We opened it and wondered: what shall we do without Trafó? Namely: what comes now, what comes next? What now if George Szabó’s and his team’s intellectual product won’t be their product anymore?
We realized that we do not have the answer.
We don’t know which sort the new leadership will be; we only know why the lack of Trafó would hurt us deeply.
Because one thing is certain: if George Szabó leaves Trafó, Trafó won’t exist anymore. It won’t be this Trafó, it won’t be the Trafó, not even if we assume the laws the application-game-system which relegates an intellectual product to an empty building by decision.
Mostly change, renewal is considered as a good thing for a creator. But why did something have to change that has always been able to change itself? Why to change such a place where the progammers, the constantly evolving audience, the new challenges have successfully been changing for years? Why has something been changed that belongs to the city’s image like any single speciality?
What is the deficit that this institute leaves behind? Shall we consider the merits of the past? Should we make a list of the unforgettable experiences and start mourning? It would be a pity for nostalgia. It would be a pity to start burying something which is still at its full strength. It would be a pity to lament for a very much alive institution even if it seems we live in an era when there isn’t any respect for the alive, the existing. No matter with what intent will Trafó be changed, it is for sure that an organic, real, existing spot and venue involved in a very vivid dialogue has been put on the roulette table.
Introducing the international theatre and dance world that means the bar for us and for the creative people has been the defined goal of Gyuri Szabó and his team’s from the start. From the very beginning the Trafó’s team has created a blood-stream and has been keeping it alive since. This is not only Gyuri Szabó’s work to be praised; he has been surrounded by colleagues such as Edina Kenesei, Eszter Bircsák, Katalin Rácz, Beáta Barda, Katalin Erdődi, Judit Böröcz and many others. They have created a place full with energy and challenge. They have supported us not to create only by watching each other’s belly button. They have made us see what trends are working in the world; they have supported us to encounter different tastes, with different audiences, with different ideas - to actually meet contemporary culture.
Trafó‘s programme wasn’t solely but consistent regarding their resolution. This isn’t the personal taste of terror but concept. It has always been able to surprise us and we have expected these surprises. It has opened space for quality, has taken us, the audience in with our needs, questions and barriers altogether – Trafó has done the job of a contemporary theatre. Who said that measuring these requirements and expectations up, presenting the spirit of contemporary culture is not the real service of Hungarian theatre and dance scene?
Whose responsibility is to decide on the way of inclusion if it is not us, the audience, the receiver? Whose accountability is to be blamed thinking that a hosting theatre can be operated by leaders of two independent companies? And who is to be blamed if this space is eventually will no longer be either contemporary or receiving?
But let’s be fair. When the decision will be announced shall we offer our felicitations to the winner of the competition. It would be a blunder to cry wolf in advance and brand a team who has not had the chance to prove their abilities yet. Do not make a decision in advance on what they will build from the empty walls.
But it is sure that if the new leadership gets into the head of Trafó, it must encounter two things. With the enormous intellectual space that Trafó will have left behind in the building and with a significant duty. They have to opt another name for their institution because the actual has been already taken. It has been taken by many people over the years - including the candidates – who has claimed and bought tickets, pass and thoughts switched to Trafó.
Trafó is a intellectual heritage - everyone should work on their own legacy and their own name. This word has a meaning related and joined with Gyuri Szabó and his team. A new name has to be searched.
Kornél Mundruczó and Viktória Petrányi, theatre director, theatre maker and film director and his producer, Hungary