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C’est Magnifique! Hungarian Play a Huge Hit in Paris

By Tom Szigeti // 2016.11.30.

A Hungarian play, The Boy Transformed into a Stag (A szarvassá változott fiú), has achieved great success at the world-renowned Festival de L’Imaginaire, one of Europe’s most important art and theatre festivals. The play was directed by Attila Vidnyánszky, current head of the Hungarian National Theatre, and was shown in Paris as part of the 20th Festival de L’Imaginaire on Monday, November 28th.

The Boy Transformed into a Stag is a co-production of the Hungarian National Theatre and the Gyula Illyés Theatre of Beregszász, located in the Hungarian-speaking region of Western Ukraine known as Transcarpathia. It is based on a surrealist poem by Hungarian poet Ferenc Juhász, and is currently a part of the official repertoire of the National Theatre. It is a strange and intriguing mix of folk ballad, Greek tragedy, moving theatre; according to the National Theatre, it is the tale of:

“A broken mother, aged by pain, who awaits the return of her son to the safety of his childhood home. The boy is on a great journey, however, and he would like to pass through the ‘gate of secrets,’ for he can sense the meaning and truths of his existence on the other side. His mother tries to draw him home with old memories, familiar aromas, flavors, dances and stories, and by bring up the memory of his dead father; all in vain, as the boy cannot return home. He desires knowledge of himself, a goal which can only be achieved if he forgets his own self, if he “transforms into a stag.” The boy transformed into a stag travels from the roots of the earth to the edges of the universe, across cities bathed in gasoline and artificial light, while images of his village home continuously come to mind.”


The play sees Mari Törőcsik, the famed Hungarian actress who has been official recognized as both ‘Actor of the Nation’ and ‘Artist of the Nation,’ starring alongside Zsolt Trill, Nelli Szűcs, Attila Kristán, László Tóth, József Rácz, and Attila Vidnyánszky Jr., the director’s son. The play was shown in a unique fashion, with some parts coming from Director Vidnyánszky’s film version of the play, and some parts being performed live.

Following its showing, The Boy Transformed into a Stag received a lengthy ovation and considerable praise. the site of the performance, the famed Théâtre de l’Atelier, is one of the best-known theaters of Paris, and has been the site of many famous actors and performances, such as the renowned French actress Fanny Ardan, as well as John Malkovich’s stage adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons. In attendance at the Théâtre de l’Atelier on Monday night was the world-famous French-Syrian poet Adonis, who heaped considerable praise on the Hungarian production.

You can view the trailer for The Boy Transformed into a Stag (with English subtitles) below:

Via, Festival De L’Imaginaire, and the Magyar Nemzeti Szinház

Images via the Magyar Nemzeti Szinház

Video via Maison des Cultures du Monde YouTube Channel