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Event date: 26/05/2022, 7:30 PM (1,5 h) Details:

English subtitles


Event place:

Mainstage Theatre
(145 6th Ave, New York)


Everybody has something to hide. To be successful in operative work, the informant has to ease into and stay credible in different roles. He or she should not raise suspicion in his or her private life, should gain the trust of the subject and show absolute loyalty to his or her handler.

This story is set in Hungary in the 1960’s. The secret police have Michael Besenczy under surveillance. Besenczy is Hungarian but has been living in England since his childhood. As a young man, he came back to his home country to study film directing at the University of Theatre and Film Arts.

There is a strong suspicion that he is working with British intelligence. Agents placed around him are commissioned to form intimate friendships, erotic relationships with the subject in order to learn as much as possible about him and provide privileged information. But no matter how good they are at their job, they cannot hide from the secret police’s and each other’s observant gaze. In the end, they might find themselves vulnerable upon discovering their deepest fears in the eyes of their subject.

Observers is Kelemen’s third production for Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest (a renown Budapest contemporary performing arts venue) and the focus is yet again on the workings of Hungarian society, on an episode of Hungary’s recent socialist past that as many others, has not been openly discussed. 

Performers: Dániel BAKI, Péter JANKOVICS, Bettina JÓZSA, Tamás RÉTFALVI, Iringó RÉTI
Dramaturge: Tamás TURAI
Visuals and stage design: Zita SCHNÁBEL, costmues assistant: Letícia BARTOS
Music: Péter MÁRTON (Prell)
Video: Balázs VIRÁG
Research archive video materials: Orsolya BARNA
Technical manager: Ákos LENGYEL
Assistant to the director: Anita TOTOBÉ / Katinka BORDÁS
Actors’ coordination: Réka Judit KISS
English translation: Dávid Cseh
Production manager: Judit BÖRÖCZ
Director, writer playwright: Kristóf KELEMEN
Special thanks: Dávid CSEH, László DINEA, Péter FORGÁCS – Private Photo and Film Foundation, Edit KUTI, Bence György PÁLINKÁS, Tamás SZŐNYEI, Gábor THURY, Open Society Archive Budapest, FORTEPAN
Coproducers: Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Orlai Productions, FÜGE Productions,
Supporters: National Cultural Fund, Ministry of Human Capacities, Jurányi Art Incubator House, the Municipality of Budapest, Budapest City Branding Nonprofit Ltd., Staféta

The production was realized in the framework of the Staféta Program of the Municipality of Budapest.
Kristóf Kelemen is supported through the Esztrád Theatre Grant Program.


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