About

I love Pintér’s productions for their atmosphere among other things, for their extreme intensity, the magical mixture of heart-wrenching and uproarious elements. I sit stunned and laugh in tears in Béla Pintér's wonderful theatre.

Tamás Ascher, 2010

Béla Pintér and Company knock out their audiences, they force them on the ground. Most come back to see the same production again and again, some sit there for the tenth time and fall in love with the actors and the theatre. The company, founded in 1998 have educated their own audience, but perhaps the opposite is also true: an audience gave birth to a new theatre.  And although it took critics considerable time to understand Pintér, his company is by now the most generously subsidised independent theatre in Hungary with a shower of awards.

An autodidact, Pintér is one of the still few Hungarian theatre-makers who have freed themselves of the curse of realism and looked for another kind of theatre-making and another way of speaking instead. In his shows (folk) music and dance dethrone the reigning language, take over its narrative function and become the main tools of telling the story. In this arrangement each gesture, each tune, each melody, each motive, but even the tiniest piece of costume acquires a new meaning or meanings, since their context and therefore their nature changes.

They create their surreal stage world from a mixture of the authentic and the kitschy on the borderline of dream and reality somewhere. The traditional linear narrative pattern is broken by the combination of different time dimensions and fictive worlds, by the filmic editing technique and the fragmentary nature of the plays. But while they question the autocracy of the word and do everything in their power to destroy traditional structures, at the same time they stubbornly insist on some kind of a story and on telling it exactly.

So in order for the story to become a coherent whole, they have to create a complicated structure. Béla Pintér’s productions are full of references which allude backward and forward, so the diverse story is held together by a carefully woven net of traces and morsels of information. This coherent and complex whole is born in the rehearsal room, since on day one the piece which will serve as the basis for the production is but a rough draft with only a few pages of written text. Even though he knows exactly what he wants to see on stage in the end, Béla Pintér is simply unable to write the text beforehand. Going page by page he slowly feels for the different threads of the story. He comes to rehearsal with a new scene every time, which he then stages. Only having done that, can he continue with the writing. Yet months before the production is ready, even in the first scene there are points of reference to be found, which will gain significance in retrospection only.

Krisztina Kovács, Pintér’s former dramaturg