Contemporary European Drama Review

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Theatre and dance

Contemporary European Drama Review

  • 11 Apr 2013 — 13 Apr 2013
Elfriede Jelinek
Elfriede Jelinek

University of East Anglia

Norwich NH4 7TJ


Chalk Circle Theatre Company introduces new writing by established and emerging writers from Austria, Hungary, Ireland and the UK through a series of staged readings.

hamlet is dead. no gravity
by Ewald Palmetshofer
11 April, 6pm

Translated by Neil Blackadder

Ewald Palmetshofer was born in Linz in 1978 and studied theology, philosophy and psychology in Vienna. In 2008, he was named the most promising author of the year. In 2010/11 he was author in residence at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Palmetshofer is the recipient of the Retzhofer Literary Prize and the Playwrights Prize of the Cultural Group of German Industry. His plays have been produced at the Schauspielhaus Vienna, the Schaubühne Berlin, the Theater an der Ruhr Mühlheim, the Schauspielhaus Dresden.

The question of to be or not to be loses significance when the answer has already been decided: not to be. In hamlet is dead. no gravity, Ewald Palmetshofer’s antiheroes weave language and rhythm into something comic and threatening that ultimately leaves just one question open: to resign or to act? Dani and Mani, brother and sister, come home for their grandmother’s birthday. Relationships among family and friends shift, morph and are never what they seem.

Neil Blackadder translates drama and prose from German and French, specializing in contemporary theatre.  Neil is Professor of Theatre at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and the author of Performing Opposition: Modern Theatre and the Scandalised Audience.

Service Station or They’re All At It alle
by Elfriede Jelinek
11 April, 8pm

Translated by Penny Black

Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek is one of the most important, internationally recognised, contemporary authors in the German language. However the British public is more familiar with Elfriede Jelinek’s novels then with her theatrical work. We’re hoping that the new translation of Service Station or They’re All At it for the Conteporary European Drama Review and the full production of the play, that we are planning for  October 2013, will augment Elfriede Jelinek’s reputation as one of the most thought-provoking and multifaceted playwrights of our time.

Constructed along the lines of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, the play is a cruel comedy about the pornography of consumerist society.

Two married women, bored with their sexual lives, arrange a blind date with two men code-named Moose and Bear, who offer beastly sex in the toilet cubicles of a motorway service station.

Penny Black has translated many contemporary plays from German for theatres including the Royal Court, Arcola Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, and the National Theatre. Her translation of Sports Play by Elfriede Jelinek toured the UK and was chosen as a Cultural Olympic Pop-up production. Penny is a member of the Society of Authors.

The Death of Mara
by Virág Erdős
12 April, 6pm

Translated by George Szirtes

Virág Erdős is a well established Hungarian author. She writes poetry and short prose. She is also an acclaimed playwright. She has received the Szep Erno, Jozsef Attila and Vilmos award.

The Death of Mara is an absurd comedy echoing Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss. It explores the woman/man relationship in the postfeminist society.

Mara, a young woman is killed in the bath tub first by her father, then by her husband and finally by her son. The event is witnessed by her mother and commented upon by three bizarre women.

George Szirtes is a Hungarian born British poet and translator. He won a variety of prizes for his work, most recently the T. S. Elliot Prize for his  Reel. His translations from Hungarian poetry and drama have also won numerous awards. He lives in Norfolk and teaches at the UEA.

by György Spiró
12 April, 8pm

Translated by Matthew Higham & Adina Levay

György Spiró is not only an outstanding novelist, essayist, translator and Slavic scholar but also one of the most celebrated Hungarian playwrights. He is the author of four novels, collections of short stories, volumes of essays, and numerous plays. He received many awards amongst which the Jozsef Attila, Szep Erno, Kossuth and in 2012 the Artisjus Literary Award.

Dust  is bitter comedy about the losers of the economical and political changes. A middle-aged couple has just won six hundred million forints. But as they plan their new lives the winning ticket becomes a burden. Stuck in the past misery and frighten of the future they don’t know what to do with the winning lotery ticket. Spiro makes us laugh at their  desperately pathetic helplesness. But we laugh at ourselves.

Both Matthew Higham and Adina Levay had studied theatre directing. They lived in Budapest, Hungary and have worked together on several plays as dramaturg/director.

Shadow of Names
by Belona Greenwood
13 April, 6pm

Belona Greenwood is a writer and journalist living in Norwich. She completed the BA degree in English Literature/Creative Writing and the MA in Creative Writing/Scriptwriting at the University of East Anglia. She won the Penguin/Decibel prize for Life Writing and the Escalator Award for Literature Development – Creative Non-Fiction.  Her play, The Café of Dreams was commissioned by The Seachange Trust and will be presented at the St. George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth in June 2013. Alice’s Adventure, performed and produced by Chalk Circle Theatre Company, was presented during the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May 2012.

Shadow of Names explores the exercise of power and its repercussions on the vulnerable. Inspired by events in a rural workhouse in Norfolk, in the 1850s the play tells the story of a flawed man who in a moment of crisis betrays his ideals. Redfield is a progressive workhouse schoolmaster who champions the rights of the poorest to have a good education, a future and a fulfilled life.  He is an inspiring figure with a weakness for women and challenged by the local vicar to abstain from visiting prostitutes, seduces a woman inmate, Elizabeth Young. She falls pregnant but Redfield denies the child and Elizabeth disappears with the unnamed daughter.

by Sue Healy
13 April 8pm

Sue Healy completed the UEA’s MA in Creative Writing. Her short stories and drama have since won numerous prizes. She is writer/producer of ‘Cow’, a radio drama which has received full funding for production and broadcast in 2013. She has also been short-listed for the BBC International Playwriting Award  and the Escalator Award.  Sue lives in Norwich and teaches creative writing in prisons. She is artist-in-residence at Aras Eanna on Inis Oirr, Ireland for January 2013.

Shellakybooky is a comedy which casts a cynical eye over both the current political climate in Hungary and the universal expatriate issue of isolation versus assimilation.
Budapest, Hungary, April 2013. When Mar Roache travels from Ireland to Hungary to stay with her sister Brigette Cooney and family, she is impressed by her sister’s seemingly idyllic expat existence. Brigette simply ‘does not do negativity’ and her days are full of champagne and origami classes. All is not how it seems, however, and cracks are soon evident in the Cooney's perfect veneer. A mistress, a graffiti-obsessed son, an anarchist and a gay minister focused on change, all combine to shake the Cooney’s world and expose its fragility as the country’s political problems arrive on their doorstep.