A Mirror to the Cage: Three Contemporary Hungarian Plays

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Clara Györgyey
University of Arkansas Press, 1993 - Drama - 245 pages
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This volume presents the works of three distinguished contemporary Hungarian playwrights: Istvan Orkeny's Stevie in the Bloodbath (1969-1979), Gyorgy Spiro's The Imposter (1982), and Mihaly Kornis's Kozma (1981). These plays together mirror and elucidate the calamitous history of East Central Europe from World War II to the 1970s. They lament the humiliation of people living under foreign oppression and offer insight into their resistance, perseverance, and unceasing efforts for survival. They focus on a series of collective and individual crises representative of the Eastern bloc, and of Hungary in particular. In each of the plays, history is shown as a continuum, with the past and present in perpetual flux, interacting with and often dictating the precarious lives of the characters. The selections serve as striking examples of realistic and allegorical theater (The Impostor), the special East European sense of the absurd and grotesque (Stevie in the Bloodbath), and the most modern, mythical dream rituals (Kozma). The predominant tone in each drama is one of bitterness and anguish about the distorted past.

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