Independent Theater Hungary presented the first Roma drama collection in the world called “Roma heroes – Five European Monodramas” at a symposium on 27th March, World Theatre Day, in cooperation with Goethe Institute and Delegation of Flanders in Hungary.
Five monodramas are included in the book, each telling the story of a real-life Roma hero. The plays not only present the life of Roma people and communities but also help to find your own heroes. Development of drama literature has always been closely connected to the rise of the middle class and democracy, from antique Greece through Shakespeare’s England till Hungary during the Reform Era. Dramas and exemplary heroes, the protagonists can play a crucial role in the rise of a Roma middle class, too. Protagonists of the plays face difficulties and they make decisions. After the decision is made, the protagonists become active and initiate change in each and every case.
The drama collection was presented by Rodrigó Balogh, artistic director of Independent Theatre. A scene from every play was read out by performing artists and Roma intellectuals. The aim of the book is to disseminate these stories, showing the values of Roma theatre to as many people as possible. Rodrigó Balogh thanked the contributors, supporters and co-workers as the collection could not have been realized without their work and support. He closed the presentation by saying: “The question is not where we are now, but how far we can go”.
The plays included in the book:
- The Hardest Word by Richard O’Neill presents the campaign of Jess Smith, the Scottish Traveller writer who demanded the first minister to apologize for the injustice and persecution of the Traveller community.
- It’s a Cultural Thing. Or Is It? by Michael Collins also shows the past of Traveller people, this time in Ireland.
- Tell Them About Me by Michaela Dragan deals with the topic of early marriages through personal stories of various Roma women in Romania.
- Speak, My Life by Dijana Pavlovic tells about the long years of Yenish genocide in Switzerland that ended in the ’70ies through the eyes and based on the novel of the Yenish writer, Mariella Mehr.
- Letter to Brad Pitt by Franciska Farkas is a painstakingly honest confession about the actress’ own life, with a touch of dark humor.
The drama collection is available in English and in Hungarian languages. You may order the book from the theatre by writing an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related to the drama collection, an exhibition was opened in the Market Hall at Rákóczi tér, presenting 11 European Roma theatre artists. The exhibition closes on 7th April.