Magyar Narancs – 9th November 2000
Translated by Ágnes Varany
Leaving is beautiful in itself: a loud, rejective exit can also be attractive, but the quiet, determined self-development instead of the spectacular gesture is even more impressive. Artus has chosen this latter, lessfrequently employed method. They have been hiding behind the back of the world (the Fonó) for years, onlypaying attention to themselves, building, even cultivating their own gardens with strict workshop work.
Cain’s Hat is a row of dancing etudes to one theme. The theme is murder, let’s say. The theme isfour people who go through the same situation in changing relationships and changing roles: One takes arock, hits the Other on the head with it, and the Other dies. But sometimes One dies, too. All this is not thissimple of course – and this is the essence of the performance. The essence is the network of sly interactions,everything that can be in this simple, long practiced move (killing). The way a murderer turns into thevictim, or not. The love, the hate, the respect, or something else – maybe all at the same time – that can formbetween the two of them. Roles are exchanged (the hat appears on everyone’s face or head, one after theother), they have another go, but by then the characters’ relationships are different – and the end of conflicts drawn without exact outlines is sometimes different, sometimes the same.
Nothing is sure in this performance. A good spectator is continuously ready to re-understand, the re-feel, to re-enjoy what was seen before. Everything is changing: there are numerous tools, moves, situationsthat explain, re-explain something/someone afterwards, that/who by then got to its/their place. Those wholaugh at the playfulness of images and moves will be sorry in the end. Everything that is humorous willsooner or later be re-evaluated, and looking back, recalling it from the new context, it seems to be blackhumour at best. The actors walking around squatting in big coats with hatfaces are just funny at thebeginning. However, half an hour later there is a crutch under someone’s arm: the theater reveals itself, andthe actor is no longer an elf, but a cripple swinging the remains of his legs. This changing undefinability isthe main motor of the performance, which always keeps the right to change, in which we can always wonderhow the same thing can turn into something completely different when looked at from a different angle. Themurderer into a victim, and the other way around. The lethal tool, the rock into the tool of reaching God, thatof awe (there are two who raise a mystical sacrificial mini-Stonehenge for their god) or that of reminiscence,forgiveness (even before the first murder the only element of the set is already on the empty stage: a burialmount made up of rocks). It even turns out that the persistant giant idol standing tall in the background is notreally as over and above the events as it seemed. He, too, can be weak. And although his uncertainty is thelast situation of the evening, this is not a final consequence either: this performance does not have a finalconsequence. Not even a moral. Only situations and facts.
This is the old glory of Artus: it does not provide ready answers this time either, it rather takes onthe launching of a chain of associations. It leaves a lot to the spectator (so it respects them, it trusts them,and is not afraid of them). However, in order to reach its goal, it has to be strong.