How small villages survive: watch this Hungarian play about a rural community’s everyday struggles online for free

How small villages survive: watch this Hungarian play about a rural community’s everyday struggles online for free

29 October 2020

A new play on the make-up of poor rural life and communities in Hungary is now available to watch online with English subtitles.

Produced by Independent Theatre Hungary, Village Day is a theatre performance where the public, represented by a group of tourists, is taken on a tour of a poor village in Hungary by various members of the community. The play first introduces its audience to the mayor, who, among other things, explains that he only allows “civilised” people on one EU-funded playground because the place would otherwise be destroyed. Halfway in, however, and we get to see the real centre of the village’s social structure in the person of Marika, a Roma woman who has just returned home after working in a chicken factory farm in the Netherlands and who helps other villagers with work, advice, or money.

Based on research on informal money lending by cultural anthropologist Judit Durst, the play reveals the everyday problems rural communities are faced with which are often invisible to tourists.

Directed by Balogh Rodrigó, the play includes a surprising musical moment, when, slamming both religion and neoliberal discourses, the actors sing “Poverty, deep / No work, neat / The kids excel at school, for what?” in the style of a church choir.

Village Day is part of the fourth edition of the international Roma Heroes Festival in Hungary. Running between 21 October–9 December, the festival includes seven weekly online performances by teams from Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Austria, and Germany.

The play is available to watch until 4 November. Find out more about the festival here.

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