The performance The attic at Vígszínház experienced already a millennium, 33 years, more than 1 million spectators and made it to countries on the other side of the world on the 999. performance stream-celebration. And now on the 20th of November the time of the 1000. performance finally came. The play was written by Dusán Sztevanovity and Péter Horváth, the lyrics by Dusán Sztevanovity, the music was composed by Gábor Presser. The 13 characters of the show staged by László Marton were played by almost 100 actors, the generations changed both on stage and in the audience.
One of the most successful Hungarian musical plays was premiered at Vígszínház on 29th January, 1988. “The attic is my confession. It seeks answers to the eternal questions: why are we here, are we alone in this Universe, what will happen to us, after we die and so on”- tells Dusán Sztevanovity, who wrote the 4-pages-long synopsis in his workroom in the attic at his home - in a place between sky and Earth, on a sleepless night. Not so much later he travelled to the artist house in Zsennye to work on an album with Gábor Presser. On a rainy day, Sztevanovity put the synopsis in front of Presser, who read it, sat to the piano – and if the memories are correct – this is how the song Light-year distance was born, and the line sung by generations since: “There can be many places better and more beautiful than our Earth.”
The reading rehearsal of The Attic was on the 30th of November 1987, directed by László Marton and Zsuzsa Radnóti as a dramaturg of the artistic team, joined by the author Péter Horváth by then. The goal was staging a play not only interesting for the children, but for the adults too. The story was for everyone from 9 to 99 years.
Lots of obstacles had to be faced during the rehearsals: for a long time, instead of the big stage the rehearsals were in the Studio, due to the lack of money the set - except Robinson- had to be made from props of former performances by Miklós Fehér and his team. Márta Jánoskuti had only pennies for the costumes and the music was recorded by Gábor Presser himself, because they couldn’t even afford musicians. Today it is already legendary, that a song got written about plum dumplings instead of pancakes because that was baked often by the mother of Zsuzsa Radnóti for the team.
The premiere of The attic played by Attila Kaszás, Éva Igó, Nóra Tábori, Géza Hegedűs D., László Méhes, Péter Rudolf, Erika Pápai, Géza Rácz, Péter Balázs, Péter Vallai, Zoltán Seress and András Sipos ended with a long standing ovation and the performance is played with full house ever since. The character of Radioman was especially written for Attila Kaszás. Éva Igó played the young girl Hedgie at the premiere, and today she steps as Granny on the stage, cooking the plum dumplings and dancing tarantella. The actor playing in the show for the most times is Erika Pápai, who made her debut as the 530-year-old ghost Kid, then played Hedgie for a while and then returned to the role Kid again.
The set of the performance remained the same during the 33 years and Robinson, the super intelligent computer had also only smaller corrections. The attic has some iconic props. The Magic Book was made by Ernő Rubik, it has 12 pages and requires a special folding technique which has to be learned and practiced by every actor playing Prince and every prop-man preparing the scene. The biggest magician of the book until today is the first Prince, László Méhes, who surprised the audience and his colleagues with numerous folding tricks. In one performance approximately 20 plum dumplings are used. Creating them was a huge task for the team, since it had to look authentic and in one scene the actors throw them at each other, so it had to have the appropriate weight too, had to be heavy-duty and couldn’t smack on the ground when falling on the ground. The plum dumplings have to be renewed and restocked every year: based on the number of the performances in a season, around 30-50 new dumplings are produced. And there are also some props stepping on stage for the 1000th time on the 20th of November: the rocking horse, the Shakespeare picture, the clock and the handcuff.
Although Vígszínház was preparing for the 1000th performance last year, because of the pandemic then we could only celebrate the 999th through an online stream. But on the 20th of November the Magic Book was opened and plum dumplings were flying in front of an audience again, we could cheer for Radioman, Hedgie and the ghosts live. “Because we need a place where all the ghosts can be seen. We need a place where all the voices can be heard.”
The attic –the report film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUXzKn302X0
Presser Gábor—Sztevanovity Dusán—Horváth Péter
half fairy-tale half musical from 9 to 99 year-olds
Script: Horváth Péter és Sztevanovity Dusán
Composer: Presser Gábor
Director: Marton László
Set design: Fehér Miklós
Costume: Jánoskuti Márta
Dramaturg: Radnóti Zsuzsa
Music collaborator: Komlósi Zsuzsa, Gebora György, Mester Dávid
Choreographer: Devecseri Veronika, Gesler György
Prompter, assistant of director at the time of premiere: Kertes Zsuzsa
Stage manager: Kuti László/Héjj János/Wiesmeyer Erik
Assistant of director: Putnoki Ilona, Patkós Gergő
Magic Book: Rubik Stúdió – Rubik Ernő
Designer of Robinson: Budavári István
Hegedűs D. Géza
Kálloy Molnár Péter
ifj. Vidnyánszky Attila
Hegedűs D. Géza
Kálloy Molnár Péter