Falling - interview with Árpád Schilling


What does it mean „Falling” in the title of your performance?
Árpád Schilling: I try to illustrate the destruction of the values through the story of a family. Neither conservative, neither liberal or left-wing values are not strong enough, actually it is quite chaotic what is the most important: liberty, solidarity or traditions? Practically, what I see, nothing keeps us together, which creates a splendid platform for flourishing extremism and stupidity. The intellectual level is falling, we are falling back into the past, we are falling into atomisation and into solitude.


How do you understand the political dimension of the theatre?
Á. S.: The performance ‘Klątwa’ made us clearly see the political dimensions. I think that traditional forms of the theatre can make waves, but the real political act is when we talk and deal with the mentioned problems on permanent basis. A theatre institution can be truly political only if it works together with the civic society. Scandal is only a kind of generator, the real work happens on the field, in our everyday life.


What is the curent situation of the artists in Hungary? How your situation as the famous international artist looks like?
Á. S.: In the last years, as a political activist, I made voluntary work in several movements or civic organisation. I made public speeches, I organised demonstrations, and together with my foundation we realised social projects. In my country, I don’t work as theatre director anymore, I avoid any contact with the State, and this way I can’t receive adequate support for creating my own theatre performance. The present political course 


Did Victor Orbán change Hungary? Or even showed the real, but hide away face of the bigger part of the hungarian society?

Á. S.: Xenophobia, ignorance, verbal or physical aggression, oppression of women and of minority groups, religious fanaticism and the nostalgic longing to authoritative systems fundamentally determine our East-European existence, of course. But Orbán builds politics upon all of these issues, he generates bad fixed culture and bad habits. Orbán did not change Hungary, he just brought out the worst in it – and in himself, too.


How artists and intelectualists can answer regarding the conservative revolution and institutional nacionalism? What is the chance for artists at this time?
Á. S.: We should get better and better in defending independence of our institutions. We have to stand, infallibly, in favour of quality and solidarity. We have to open the institutions! We have to generate public affairs by making substantive issues of the democracy available to as many people as possible. Theatre is not a laboratory, but a forum and a market, too. We have to talk about culture in broader sense, not only in terms of art. Culture means also a way of thinking about each other and methods for moving toward one another.


What actors bring to the performance „Falling” during the improvisations?
Á. S.: Actors were astonishingly creative in the working process. They perfectly understood the story and the form what I proposed, and they let themselves enter into the characters and into the conflict situations with an exceptional intelligence. They brought to life the idea what I came out with. They bought lots of texts, and with their help I found the style of the performance. We made long conversations about fundamental political issues. Their commitment to democratic values was convincing. Many of them are Catholics exercising faith, however their consistent criticism of the Catholic Church is imposing.  It is very good to spend time with such attentive and talented people.


Do you still believe in the theatre?
Á. S.: I am not a big fan of theatre. But one thing is sure: theatre is a good opportunity to avoid turning stupid.


Interview prepared by Mateusz Węgrzyn.



More information about performance Falling:




Teatr Powszechny
im. Zygmunta Hübnera
ul. Jana Zamoyskiego 20
03-801 Warszawa
tickets 22 818 25 16
22 818 48 19