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2023/05/06 10h-15h

AbstracTalks

contemporary puppetry conference

 

Main Stage

Nagyszínpad

Hungarian puppeteers have been invited for a talk at the Abstract I. Budapest International Contemporary Puppet Festival. We will raise contemporary issues in an international context, for what we have chosen interviewers who can enrich the discourse on puppetry with new perspectives from their own fields.

The conference is free to attend, but registration is required. You find the registration link HERE

Shows

There are no shows currently

Abstract nyitónap videó

Without words

Dóra Gimesi writer, dramaturge / Kinga Rofusz illustrator, stage designer

In the international puppet theatre community, performances without text are extremely popular. Storytelling with images, movement, and music is as natural for pre-schoolers as it is for schoolchildren and adolescents. Yet there are very few performances without text in the repertoire of Hungarian puppet theatres. What could be the reason for this? Why does it seem brave to create a nonverbal performance in a genre that is essentially based on image and movement? Why do we consider them festival programs rather than repertory performances? How do season ticket audiences, parents, and teachers react to such a production? And what makes a performance without text good? What aspects of storytelling and dramaturgy emerge when we do not tell stories with words?

The situation is similar in Hungarian publishing. The silent book is an incredibly popular genre abroad, but publishers in Hungary consider it a risky business. Yet a story told without words, using only pictures, can be just as deep, complex, humorous or poignant as any other piece of literature. How does the image work, how does it evoke emotion, how does it tell a story? What is silent book dramaturgy? What is the reason for the text fetish in the Hungarian book market? We also talk about this with illustrator Kinga Rofusz, who won the Crossmedia Prize at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2023 for her picture book Home and the animated film made from it.

 

What are robots doing on stage?

Eszter Kocsis puppet designer / Árpád Rab futurologist

Contemporary puppetry is fundamentally an experimental genre. It tries to reflect political and social changes, formulating current issues in its own – essentially innovative – language. Puppets are also related to machines, so puppetry has always been involved in the changing history and the development and spread of technology. In recent decades, and particularly in recent years, the amount of technological elements in theatre performances has increased, with increasingly complex staging techniques and complex light and sound systems. In addition to these, the emergence of animatronic puppets – operated by electromechanical control – and even robots are expected to become increasingly common in theatre performances. What is robot theatre and how did we get here? How and why does contemporary puppetry incorporate technology, especially robotics?

In this talk, I will explore the artistic potential of using these devices on stage, and why the robotics industry might be interested in exploring theatre as an important arena for human-robot interaction.

 

Outside-inside

Domokos Kovács theatrical creator-performer / Júlia Milovits pilates instructor, bowen practitioner

After my university years, I had the opportunity to work with the Duda Paiva Company in the Netherlands on several occasions. Duda Paiva was one of my most influential teachers, and as to this day I still work inspired by the puppet technique he taught me. The way he mixes contemporary dance with puppet theatre inspired me to start exploring how to create an organic unity by bringing the living body and the inanimate object together, where the boundaries between the two organisms are dissolved in the movements and become meaningless without each other.

About a year and a half ago, in an application to create a performance, I explained this line of thought in more detail. The next day, Julia Milovits told me in more detail about the Bowen technique, which creates the possibility of healing by helping to trigger the body's ability to regenerate itself by giving impulses to the connective tissues at different points in the body. As she talked about the relationship between body and psyche or the differences in approach between Western and Eastern medicine, it was almost as if specific phrases from my application the previous evening came back to me.

We have since planned to discuss the interplay of these topics in more detail. So we decided to do that on 6 May.

 

Black noise

Ágnes Kuthy director, teacher / Péter Novák performer, lyricist, composer, director

In contemporary shadow theatre, the traditional linear and illustrative stories with cultic themes have been replaced by an abstract visual art form that can express inner states. For several decades now, shadow theatre has been working on a renewal and a special form of expressive shadow theatre. As a result, a unique form of play has emerged, characterised by dynamism and richness of craft. Contemporary shadow theatre is closely linked to industrial achievements and discoveries and has always been sensitive to change. A spirit of experimentation, adaptation to new processes, materials and technical inventions has ensured continuity, constant change, and evolution. These initial thoughts lead me to the investigation in which I seek answers to the question of which aspects of contemporary shadow theatre can represent a difference from the completely traditional techniques.

 

The cleaved-out space

Bence Sarkadi marionett-artist / Balázs Szigeti business communication specialist

When I was hammering away for six months in 2007 on the seafront of Thessaloniki with my marionette show, I often felt, especially at first, that I was fighting a hopeless battle. When, night after night, in a foreign country, you try to colour the tourist's walking experience a box of remote-controlled frogs wedged between an African vendor and a Chinese hawker, you tend to think that the greatest appreciation and recognition you can ever expect is that the puppeteer is occasionally applauded and the hawker almost never. If, in the daily battle for the public's attention, the puppeteer's rival is  a pile of carved giraffes covered in glitter, he should be an artist whose faith in his own worth is not damaged when he is badly outclassed.

In the decade and a half since then, I have spent thousands of hours in street performance on six continents, gradually learning how the professional street performer 'carves' the stage space for himself out of the environment. In the light of initial difficulties, subsequent successes and always surprising new experiences, I can say that I have learned more about theatre, audiences, and people in general from street theatre and street festivals than from any other theatre work I have done.

 

Women and Puppetry

Viktória Szántó dramaturge / Katalin Keserü art historian

20 women in 20 seconds. My presentation will highlight a unique collection of contemporary female puppeteers, where international and Hungarian artists will interact with each other in a series of variations. The presentation will include actors, puppeteers, directors, designers, and creative people who place themselves outside the puppetry discipline, but whose work can still be read through the medium of puppets. The 2019 Routledge volume of the same title served as inspiration, but this presentation offers a personal and wider context. This is how Kato Szőnyi and Erzsébet Schaár, or Ilka Schönbein and Julie Taymor, are placed in the same interpretive web.

 

The program is part of the 10th Theatre Olympics.

  • Moderated by

    Ács Norbert
  • Conception, organisation by

    Végvári Viktóra

Without words

Dóra Gimesi writer, dramaturge / Kinga Rofusz illustrator, stage designer

In the international puppet theatre community, performances without text are extremely popular. Storytelling with images, movement, and music is as natural for pre-schoolers as it is for schoolchildren and adolescents. Yet there are very few performances without text in the repertoire of Hungarian puppet theatres. What could be the reason for this? Why does it seem brave to create a nonverbal performance in a genre that is essentially based on image and movement? Why do we consider them festival programs rather than repertory performances? How do season ticket audiences, parents, and teachers react to such a production? And what makes a performance without text good? What aspects of storytelling and dramaturgy emerge when we do not tell stories with words?

The situation is similar in Hungarian publishing. The silent book is an incredibly popular genre abroad, but publishers in Hungary consider it a risky business. Yet a story told without words, using only pictures, can be just as deep, complex, humorous or poignant as any other piece of literature. How does the image work, how does it evoke emotion, how does it tell a story? What is silent book dramaturgy? What is the reason for the text fetish in the Hungarian book market? We also talk about this with illustrator Kinga Rofusz, who won the Crossmedia Prize at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2023 for her picture book Home and the animated film made from it.

 

What are robots doing on stage?

Eszter Kocsis puppet designer / Árpád Rab futurologist

Contemporary puppetry is fundamentally an experimental genre. It tries to reflect political and social changes, formulating current issues in its own – essentially innovative – language. Puppets are also related to machines, so puppetry has always been involved in the changing history and the development and spread of technology. In recent decades, and particularly in recent years, the amount of technological elements in theatre performances has increased, with increasingly complex staging techniques and complex light and sound systems. In addition to these, the emergence of animatronic puppets – operated by electromechanical control – and even robots are expected to become increasingly common in theatre performances. What is robot theatre and how did we get here? How and why does contemporary puppetry incorporate technology, especially robotics?

In this talk, I will explore the artistic potential of using these devices on stage, and why the robotics industry might be interested in exploring theatre as an important arena for human-robot interaction.

 

Outside-inside

Domokos Kovács theatrical creator-performer / Júlia Milovits pilates instructor, bowen practitioner

After my university years, I had the opportunity to work with the Duda Paiva Company in the Netherlands on several occasions. Duda Paiva was one of my most influential teachers, and as to this day I still work inspired by the puppet technique he taught me. The way he mixes contemporary dance with puppet theatre inspired me to start exploring how to create an organic unity by bringing the living body and the inanimate object together, where the boundaries between the two organisms are dissolved in the movements and become meaningless without each other.

About a year and a half ago, in an application to create a performance, I explained this line of thought in more detail. The next day, Julia Milovits told me in more detail about the Bowen technique, which creates the possibility of healing by helping to trigger the body's ability to regenerate itself by giving impulses to the connective tissues at different points in the body. As she talked about the relationship between body and psyche or the differences in approach between Western and Eastern medicine, it was almost as if specific phrases from my application the previous evening came back to me.

We have since planned to discuss the interplay of these topics in more detail. So we decided to do that on 6 May.

 

Black noise

Ágnes Kuthy director, teacher / Péter Novák performer, lyricist, composer, director

In contemporary shadow theatre, the traditional linear and illustrative stories with cultic themes have been replaced by an abstract visual art form that can express inner states. For several decades now, shadow theatre has been working on a renewal and a special form of expressive shadow theatre. As a result, a unique form of play has emerged, characterised by dynamism and richness of craft. Contemporary shadow theatre is closely linked to industrial achievements and discoveries and has always been sensitive to change. A spirit of experimentation, adaptation to new processes, materials and technical inventions has ensured continuity, constant change, and evolution. These initial thoughts lead me to the investigation in which I seek answers to the question of which aspects of contemporary shadow theatre can represent a difference from the completely traditional techniques.

 

The cleaved-out space

Bence Sarkadi marionett-artist / Balázs Szigeti business communication specialist

When I was hammering away for six months in 2007 on the seafront of Thessaloniki with my marionette show, I often felt, especially at first, that I was fighting a hopeless battle. When, night after night, in a foreign country, you try to colour the tourist's walking experience a box of remote-controlled frogs wedged between an African vendor and a Chinese hawker, you tend to think that the greatest appreciation and recognition you can ever expect is that the puppeteer is occasionally applauded and the hawker almost never. If, in the daily battle for the public's attention, the puppeteer's rival is  a pile of carved giraffes covered in glitter, he should be an artist whose faith in his own worth is not damaged when he is badly outclassed.

In the decade and a half since then, I have spent thousands of hours in street performance on six continents, gradually learning how the professional street performer 'carves' the stage space for himself out of the environment. In the light of initial difficulties, subsequent successes and always surprising new experiences, I can say that I have learned more about theatre, audiences, and people in general from street theatre and street festivals than from any other theatre work I have done.

 

Women and Puppetry

Viktória Szántó dramaturge / Katalin Keserü art historian

20 women in 20 seconds. My presentation will highlight a unique collection of contemporary female puppeteers, where international and Hungarian artists will interact with each other in a series of variations. The presentation will include actors, puppeteers, directors, designers, and creative people who place themselves outside the puppetry discipline, but whose work can still be read through the medium of puppets. The 2019 Routledge volume of the same title served as inspiration, but this presentation offers a personal and wider context. This is how Kato Szőnyi and Erzsébet Schaár, or Ilka Schönbein and Julie Taymor, are placed in the same interpretive web.

 

The program is part of the 10th Theatre Olympics.

  • Moderated by

    Ács Norbert
  • Conception, organisation by

    Végvári Viktóra