Letter of Pál Frenák

Dear Colleagues,

I do agree with the fact that Yvette Bozsik and Csaba Horvath should be awarded with an independent theatre – I have nothing against this and I suppose no one else has, but at this time, this fact should be set aside. Thus in this very special case, I really do not believe this discussion is about these choreographers’ artistic talent or about querying it.
The most significant question is how much we are fully aware of Trafo’s current profile and function.
Trafo has joined the inland and international theatre line in as a Contemporary Art House.
Yvette Bozsik and Csaba Horvath – just like me – has only been a part of it because beyond dance there are theatre shows, concerts and exhibitions altogether what shaped the current profile of Trafo. It has never been a playhouse of contemporary dance!
I cannot agree with the opinion which says that Trafó or especially Gyorgy Szabo would be a cultural dictator – if he were, we should tell the same thing about every theatre director.
The fact that a theatre has a charismatic profile and a system for filling quality should not be mistaken for the dictation. Not to mention that the artists must be fully aware of what kind of performances they are creating, where and what sort of audience for.
The profile of Trafo should not be confounded to the function of the Palace of Arts or the Hungarian National Dance Theatre – even less to the Opera.
Having known the international market, we must be very naïve to believe the opinion that there is anybody who buys a Hungarian performance just they are in favour of Gyorgy Szabo’s taste!
I do not want to degrade his merits but other Hungarian and foreigner theatre directors are also charismatic, independent and open minded, and they grant upon the quality of the performances they promote, even if there are many cases where the invited performance diverges from their own favourites. The invited performance should not be mixed up with a co-production – the co-production is about working in partnership and to be together at the back of an artistic conception and taking risks together.
I had the pleasure to read the [George Szabo’s] Trafo proposal. It is hard to form an opinion without the possibility of reading the other proposal [signed by Yvette Bozsik]. What stands out from the known proposal is that the Trafo strives to keep its position as a Contemporary Art House.
Their proposal in its plot and in its composition shows the wish of maintaining a place which presents the contemporary works and artists in a very comprehensive way.
If the other proposal had the same goal – that’s what we don’t know… but in my view it’s difficult that two choreographers who take an active part in the Hungarian contemporary dance scene would be able to have the same goal and manage their own career with the necessary distance.
If Trafo loses its profile by taking the title of Hungarian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Trafó’s present profile is going to be unseated! And we do not know what is about to happen yet.
But it would be such a naïve idea, my Dear Colleagues (and here I do not mean candidates) to imagine that all the Hungarian choreographers can move in to Trafo!

Pal Frenak, choreographer

(Source: szinhaz.hu)