The 42nd Week - From conception to delivery lasts about nine months or thirty-six weeks. (The forty-second week counts as well overdue, but is not necessarily dangerous.) The play is set during this period. Heroine, however, is not the child who is born or the mother giving birth, but the obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Imola Virágvári. Grief and love, faith and doubt, good and bad decisions – all come together in these nine dramatic months of her life. Every decision has its consequences. By the end of the play we learn what the “42nd week” will bring – birth or death.
About the director of the play "The 42nd Week": Béla Pintér ( 1970) - Actor, director and writer. He embarked on his acting career in 1987, first with the independent theatre company Arvisura, then in different companies on the alternative theatre circuit. In 1998, he founded his own company at the Szkéné Theater: Béla Pintér & Company. He began writing and directing his own plays while continuing to act, both in his own productions and others (including Common Bondage and Hospital). Between 1998 and 2000 his company won the Hungarian critics’ prize three times. In 2000, he was granted a study bursary by the Ministry of Culture and was awarded a prize by the prestigious Hungarian daily newspaper Népszabadsá. His group has gradually evolved and in 2003 his work won the cultural prize of the President of the Republic of Hungary. In the same year he worked as guest director at the National Theatre of Hungary, taking his company with him and directing his second opera there. In 2004, Béla Pintér gained international recognition with his Peasant Opera (2002) and Dievouchka (2003) while in parallel creating The Queen of the Cookies. He has also been teaching at the Academy of Theatre and Film in Budapest since 2005.
About Béla Pintér & Company - The company was founded in 1998 under the leadership of Béla Pintér, who stages his own plays and performs in them as an actor. It is the artists’ intention to create contemporary productions based on criticalironic observations of society and themselves. The surreal world which generally characterises their productions is constructed from a combination of reality and dream, of authentic and kitsch, and from sundry elements of Hungarian culture.hanks to their success, the company is nowadays regarded as one of the most significant and most inventive creative workshops.
This is The 42nd Week, Béla Pintér’s new, though not at all “Béla Pintéresque” production. There are no recitatives, no huge punchlines in the story, no sudden leaps from reality, and the role of music is not much greater than you would find in other companies’ pieces. Still, the staggeringly beautiful final minutes are no less affecting than those of Pintér’s best, “old” productions. The 42nd Week (…) presents the tragic fate of an obstetrician. Although it would not be right to reveal the stations of her calvary here, it begins, in any case, with her husband’s death and lasts until two patients give birth. Or it begins much earlier and ends much later. Onstage, we truly see the nature of life: changes in the dynamic between happiness and pain; how, willingly or unwillingly, one can cause the other; and how happiness can direct us along a dangerously steep path, inspiring us on with what we can see at the journey’s end.
This is perhaps the most realistic of Pintér’s dramas, despite the fact that it is built exclusively upon a single sauna, a few chairs, a small music ensemble (the excellent orchestra under the direction of Antal Kéménczy is, in every sense, a fully-fledged character in the performance), and, besides a couple of props, the acting (as well as Mari Benedek’s brilliantly appropriate costumes with thein extraordinary character-forming abilities).
István Ugrai, www.7ora.hu
The father dies of a heart attack, and just as he dreamed it, his late mother comes for him.(…) From here on, the laugh-inducing jokes slowly cease, and then the smiles slowly fade from our faces. In the flow of events, the widow, divested of her earlier role as the peace-keeping mediator in the marriage, takes over the protagonist’s role almost unwittingly (Eszter Csákányi in an extraordinary and staggering performance). As the Woman, the primary, Dr. Imola Virágvári’s name itself [flowerbastion – trans.] is a manifold reference to the female archetype. Even as a doctor, she is feminine, a gynecologist and obstetrician. This fading and oversized flower, together with its virtues and flaws, becomes monumental in the course of the performance. Slowly and gradually, I surrendered to the unexpected feeling that I was watching a genuine, flesh-and-blood female play. The men are somehow incapable of holding their own; they either prove ineffectual or die. Meanwhile, the women are always inadvertently placed in positions where they must make life-or-death decisions.
Eszter Röhrig, www.librarius.hu
With good rhythm and good humor, Béla Pintér dishes up a banal and unsettling tragic destiny, a fateful chain of events. Nonetheless, its climax or fulfillment is not a tragic death, but life itself – hopeful, deceptive, slippery, gorgeous, and bitter life.
Anna Magda Fehér, www.ellenfeny.hu
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