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Index – Culture – Zoltán Csankó: It still hurts, but not as much

Index – Culture – Zoltán Csankó: It still hurts, but not as much

Zoltan Tsanko already thought that he would no longer allow himself to be nominated for the Attila Kaszas Prize. The reason is simple: on the one hand, the media exposure, which requires a lot of work, especially in the middle of the trial period, but the most convincing argument is that this year he reached the final for the third time. “I would have had a bad feeling if I didn't win now. It still hurts, but not as much. I'm very happy it ended well.”

Feedback is important to award-winning playwright Jászai Mari. Of course, he knows that there are colleagues who belittle this, which he attributes to the fact that we are not like each other, but he still stands by his opinion: everyone craves recognition. “It's kind of foreplay.”

You can't really achieve self-actualization in a theater career. Obviously you have to be free, because the essence of art is freedom, but we cannot ignore the viewers. Theaters are not operated with private capital, but a large part of them are operated with state funds. The theater's income comes from the ticket revenue earned by the audience, so it doesn't matter whether the audience likes what we do or not.

According to award-winning playwright Jaszai Maree, a writer or painter can easily hide behind his or her own art, but actors must stand out in front of the audience, which is a great responsibility.

Living without politics in theatre

The Hungarian theater community was divided, something that Zoltan Tsanko experienced badly. According to him, the world of theater also suffers from this: there are those who sit alone at home, but mainly those in society.

We try to live without politics in theatre. When I worked at the National Theatre, under Tamás Jordaens, there were already significant gaps between the two sides, and they have deepened ever since. There was no problem with this in the theater, because Tamas tried to handle the situation elegantly. And I feel the same thing is happening in Gyor now.

The actor was not shy about questioning how politics can be excluded from theatre, while the performances also shed light on matters of public life.

Art theaters mainly respond to this. The more popular theater faces a more difficult task, because public life and everyday politics cannot be smuggled out, for example, in the performance of The Merry Widow. I feel that there are theatres, managers and directors who are sensitive to today's politics and also consider it important to deal with serious problems affecting humanity. But this is chosen by the theater and its people

There are those who do politics aggressively, and there are also those who remain in the background because they don't bother to express themselves, said Zoltan Tsanko, who believes this applies to actors as well.

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You have your own opinion

“I put myself in the middle. I try to bury the trench. I don't go deeper, I try to make peace between the two sides as quickly as possible. I also try to react to the news in this way, even if I have my own opinion. So, don't make the situation worse, because “It won't lead to anything if we jump on each other for everything. I try to look at things objectively, because everyone has some truth.”

Zoltan Tsanko believes that objectivity is currently lacking. He also considers it problematic that most people commit to something without thinking, all without listening to the other party.

I feel there is little chance of finding a solution to the situation in the near future. Of course, nothing is impossible, but I have no idea what could be. It would be a great achievement if the crazy emotions surrounding politics in Hungary calmed down.

More subtle and gradual changes

At the National Theater of Gyor, Peter Forgacs has been replaced by Gabor Bakos Kiss as director in 2021, and Zalan Zecharia has been asked to become artistic director. Zoltán Csankó sees their innovative goal as a noble project, but at the moment it does not always meet the tastes of the Győr audience, more precisely, the taste to which they are accustomed.

“The current administration – quite rightly – also wants to attract young people, but there is always a risk of losing regular theatergoers and season ticket holders. The latter category consists mostly of sixty-seven-year-olds, who certainly respond sensitively to big changes. Perhaps the changes will “More precise and gradual are more appropriate. We will not be lucky if we win, say, thirty young people, but in the process lose a thousand old people.”

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The tone of a large part of the performances at the Gyor Theater has become more modern than before. Zoltan Tsanko Imaginary patientShe played the main character, Arkan. “The set was set up like a modern-day hospital. This even divided the audience a bit, as it sometimes happened that a few people would leave the show during the break, while others had a great time and rewarded us with a big round of applause at the end. We also loved playing, We worked well with director Zakarias Zalan.”

So “education for more modern theatrical thinking” is not an easy task. Recently awarded actor Attila Kaszas is sometimes stopped on the street. A viewer once told him:

“Huh, Mr. Artist, I was really scared at first because it was so new, but then we laughed a lot.

After graduating from the Faculty of Theater and Film, the 61-year-old actor signed a contract with the János Arany Theater in Budapest, and then worked at the Radnot Theater and the National Theater. Member of the National Theater of Győr since 2009. He only lives in Győr during the trial period, but on weekends, if he does not have a performance, he also returns to his home in Budapest. He no longer wants to return to the capital's theatre, on the one hand because he feels comfortable in Gyor, and on the other hand, he will retire after four years.