Theatre Thália Színház, Košice, SLOVAKIA
Father, Mother, Booze
directed by: József Czajlik
The multi-genre stand-up show by excellent Róbert Luckay.
Róbert Lucskay was an extraordinary revelation as early as studying acting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Then he disappeared for over twenty years. The one-man show Father, Mother, Booze is his comeback to the stage in Slovakia. In the United Kingdom, he played at the most prestigious ones – Globe Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Kneehigh Theatre, Complicité Company… Lucskay’s theatrical re-emigration is ingenious and powerful given the sincerity of his statement and the authentic experience of a Slovak–Hungarian artist abroad. Though the production reveals a serious topic (alcoholism as one of the most widespread addictions and still a taboo) and is based on his own difficult experiences with an alcoholic father, Lucskay communicates it in an accessible way, yet without belittling. Behind the multi-genre stand-up show are other fine theatre artists: stage director József Czajlik, and the playwright and dramaturge Miklós Forgács. In the co-authored concept, they create a fictitious character of a Hungry actor who gradually washes away his traumas. On the current Slovak theatre scene, the production is also exceptional given the participation of British stage actors in the creative team.
directed by: József Czajlik
translation: Mónika Szabó
dramaturgy: Miklós Forgács
set design: Erika Gadus
costume design: Katalin Őry
costumes realization: Orsolya Hornyik
music: Róbert Lakatos
puppets design: Marc Parrett
puppets design consultant: Sarah Wright
artistic consultants: Carl Grose, Anna Maria Murphy, Peter Pavlac
lights design: Róbert Majoros
performer: Róbert Lucskay
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by the Slovak Arts Council, the Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors’ society
József Czajlik (1975) was, as actor, with the Thália Theatre in Košice and the Jókai Theatre in Komárno. In 1997, he plunged into directing and, in 2002, he graduated in directing at the Academy of Arts in Bratislava. His student production of Ostrovsky’s The Dowager Bride (Nevesta bez vena, 2000) was received to utmost acclaim and won a number of awards at international festivals (UNIVERSITAS in Pécs, ZLOMVAZ in Prague, International Theatre School Festival in Amsterdam). Between 2002 and 2006, he was in-house stage director at the Bárka Színház theatre in Budapest. He directed in theatres in Slovakia and internationally (e.g. Slovak National Theatre, Slovak Chamber Theatre Martin, The Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, Košice State Theatre, The Jókai Theatre in Komárno, Stúdió K Theatre in Budapest, The Jókai Theatre in Békešská Čaba, Narodno Pozorište Subotica, Teatrul Szigligeti in Oradea). He founded the art studio EPOPTEIA with the actor Tamás Gál and dramaturge Peter Pavlac. He is the director of the Thália Theatre in Košice, where he is exploring a new model of communication with Hungarian and Slovak audiences.
Father, Mother, Booze is a one-man show with cabaret elements. Yet, it can hardly be called stand-up theatre. Though Lucskay uses humour, it is just one – and certainly not the most effective – of his means to communicate with the audience. Rather than a stand-up, the form resembles slam. Changes in mood and genre colours, interactivity with the audience, the use of choruses, singing and poetic elements, along with frequent stepping out of the role and alternating civil and highly stylised speech are more of a slam than a comic method. (…) Identity is the central theme. Local patriotic identity (represented by the sentence of the Father commenting on the drunken character under the table: “Robi Hood couldn’t handle the accelerator, he’s from Pozsony!”), national identity, incantated in Zoom conversations, personal identity in the desire to break through and come to terms with family evil. And, finally, the identity of human being, which the production does not attribute to the soul, but to the brain. The brain, spinal cord and nerves are the points where everything is stored – feelings, experiences and memories. The brain is the king of the show, the king physically present in the form of a prop.
Brain is a river into which all springs of stories flow. Father, Mother, Booze is a truly magical production that focuses on the fundamental pitfalls of the human predicament; the only artistic direction that can briefly described it is social surrealism. (…) The performance simulates psychological processes, where the audience zone is the zone of consciousness and encounter with the surrounding world, the proscenium zone is the subconscious where reality is processed, and the stage is the unconscious where the stories are shuffled according to a key that is more impulse-emotional rather than rational.
By entering the Thália theatre, you enter the gigantic brain, and become witnesses and co-creators of the plot. You become the thoughts and neural impulses which the Self uses to communicates to sort out its own life. The approach makes the production utterly unique! (…) In the era of instant prefabricated art, the author’s personal confession in the form of a slam or deep stand-up is an acceptable compromise, as well as his expression of a desire for authenticity…
Tomáš Straka: Ha-ha. In kød – konkrétne o divadle, 2022, No 5, pp 29 – 33