or the birth of the world hero whose godmother was Saint Peter
Tomfairy (Tótferi), the latest premiere by Secret Company, is a mystery play based on legends and folk tales about Jesus Christ and Saint Peter, who wander around towns and villages, visiting the poorest of the poor. Countless variations of these tales can be found everywhere in European cultural heritage, similarly to visions and legends about doomsday.
Tomfairy (Tótferi) is a play about poverty and hope, mixing tradition with ingenuity. Hungarian playwright Péter Kárpáti creates a new language in his play, where the universe of Hungarian folk-tales unfolds in a vivid and reflective way, relating strongly to our present day and age. The live instrumental music played by the actors during the performance completes the play’s visionary world.
This is the theatre of the poor, in its strictest sense: it operates with only a few items on stage, but with plenty of playfulness and humour, with the added bonus of not being site-specific..
A baby has to face countless dangers even before being born. This is particularly true when the baby in question is Tomfairy, the world hero. Meanwhile, the boar’s choir sings in the attic, joining the story on bombardon and mangle.
Péter Kárpáti about Tomfairy: “As cultures interweave, change, perish and are reborn, the greatest accomplishments of human imagination are being passed on. It means that there is some kind of a continuity, only we lack the sense of this continuity: that what we imagine now has been imagined by others in some way or another five hundred, a thousand, or two thousand years before. (…) That is the reason why rummaging out these perished legends is important to me. Saving treasures. For example when I hit upon the Jesus-legends and end-of-the-world visions in our folklore, I knew instantly that I wanted to bring these wonder-worlds into our common knowledge, that I wanted to save them.”
With: Angéla STEFANOVICS, Ádám FEKETE, Zola SZABÓ, Pál KÁRPÁTI, Balázs VIKTOR, Máté Dezső GEORGITA, Liza KÁRPÁTI
Dramaturge: Anna ZSIGÓ
Music: András CSIZMÁS
Set: Veronika KERESZTESOVA
Production manager: Dóra TRIFONOV
Carpenter: Ágoston SZABÓ SIPOS
Consultant: Gáspár TÉRI
Written and directed by: Péter KÁRPÁTI
“The rich world of Hungarian folk tradition, folk tales and legends was Péter Kárpáti’s inexhaustible source this time. (…) What makes this play exciting and unique is how tradition and ingenuity, a mythical knowledge saved through thousands of years and the reflection of our present time interlock in a truly masterful way.” Mónika Szűcs, Ellenfény
“Tótferi was staged by Péter Kárpáti with a remarkably gripping cast and strikingly powerful acting...” Anna Fehér, szinhaz.net
“This play is comprised of snow, spider webs, dry leaves, and the steam and hope of brandy. At the end, the attic is filled with bacon from wild boars, but the wind blows everything away, and only a memory lingers – one that stays with us forever. (...) Perhaps it was acknowledging the nature of the source material that gave Kárpáti the strength to resist the temptation of a conventional plot, and the courage as a director to create a dramaturgy with rules that can best be compared to entropy. Not only does the space expand in three directions, the characters too can simply leap through the wormholes of time. (...) The fact is that this kind of community theatre, created by Péter Kárpáti and the Secret Company, has a name. It is legitimate to define it as mystery, because we are watching a ritual. And rituals have impact. (...) Like it or not, this is a sacred theatre, sacred in the Brookian sense. Anyone who doubts me should check it out for themselves.” Katalin Gabnai, Revizoronline
SECRET COMPANY & PÉTER KÁRPÁTI
Secret Company was founded in 2010 by artistic director Péter Kárpáti as an independent theatrical group. The group operates as a professional community without a permanent ensemble or venue, and receives no national funding. They work on a modest budget, usually with coproducing partners. Their aim is to blur the boundaries between playing and reality by intruding upon borders. The actors form an extremely intimate and direct relationship with the audience. They play very close to them, within arm’s reach. In such close proximity it is almost impossible to lie. If the performance succeeds, part of the audience will believe that everything was created on the spot, that is, the whole piece was improvised.
In the last seven years Secret Company has created ten performances and has played more than 300 times, at the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, at the Jurányi Incubator House, in pubs, flats and parks, and at national and international theatre festivals.
Currently the company has four performances in its repertoire: Tomfairy, Acts of the Pitbull, Baby Blues, and Theatre Jam, a performance based on improvisation, in which the audience can participate by forming the plot and sharing their thoughts about each scene.
Secret Company participated in the programme of dunaPart3 (2015) with The Fourth Gate, and in the Hungarian Showcase (2013) with The Acts of the Pitbull.
Péter KÁRPÁTI DLA is a well known playwright as well as associate professor and head of class at the University of Theatre and Film in Budapest. Many of his plays have been performed in several European countries, and also in the USA and Canada. He has also been directing theatre plays for eight years now. Acts of the Pitbull was premiered at the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts three years ago, and has received several international invitations, including to Paris – Bobigny MC93 and to Berlin – HAU. His improvisational performance Theatre Jam was invited to theatre festivals in Copenhagen and Timisoara. As a playwright, Kárpáti works on a regular basis with internationally acknowledged Hungarian director Viktor Bodó in theatres in Hamburg, Heidelberg, Vienna and Frankfurt.
Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, FÜGE Productions
National Cultural Fund