Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Vígszínház: another battle in the culture war

September 28th, 2013

A liberal commentator thinks Budapest Mayor István Tarlós should take the blame for a decision to change the leadership of a major Budapest theatre, instead of playing it safe with hand-picked expert reviewers.Following the highly emotional debates and protests around the leadership change in the National Theatre (see BudaPost, November 2012 through June 2013), another theatre (Vígszínház) is facing a similar storm. As the term of the present director, actress Enikő Eszenyi, is due to expire next year, the Mayor announced a competition for her post. Her challenger is a popular actor Péter Balázs, currently director of the Szolnok theatre and said to be on good terms with the governing right wing. The expert panel’s votes were tied, and the Budapest assembly declared the competition unsuccessful and promised a new procedure and a final decision by next January. Just like Róbert Alföldi, the former director of the National Theatre, Eszenyi is also becoming a hero of the left wing, but unlike Alföldi, she has never been criticised by right-wing pundits.
In Heti Világgazdaság, András Hont calls Mayor István Tarlós a coward and ridicules him for his “boorish behaviour”. Tarlós is “dragging a highly regarded actress through this humiliating process”, Hont claims, simply because “his hand-picked experts” did not deliver the vote Hont believes Tarlós expected from them. He notes that the opinion of the expert committee is not even binding for the political decision maker – Tarlós himself disregarded such opinions in the past, notably by appointing a radical right-wing figure to head the Új Színház (see BudaPost, October 17, 2011).  The mayor must simply come forward, Hont demands, and tell the audience whom he wants to appoint.
The mainstream right-wing press has not taken sides on this issue. Magyar Hírlap quotes Balázs as saying that his political preferences are private matters that should not influence the decisions to be taken. “I have not come to fight, I just submitted an application”, he told Magyar Hírlap.

Tags: ,