Site-specific performance of the „Day and Night in the 7th“ Company in the old Jewish neighbourhood of Budapest
The project was initiated by four activists of Marom Budapest Association who previously have launched many formal and informal programs in the “Jewish District” of Budapest (officially: Inner Elizabeth Town) during the last years. This neighbourhood has been the so called Jewish neighbourhood of Budapest and this was the Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. Today the area is still one of the most multicultural places of the capital. What is culturally less recognized is that a lot of poor Roma inhabitants are still living here.
The initiators involved local Roma youngsters (between 11 and 17 years of age) in a program that articulate and promote different local understandings of the neighbourhood. In the first step volunteers developed an innovative informal educational methodology which combined site-specific learning methods and participatory research with drama pedagogical techniques. Using this methodology they realized an interactive walking tours, a site specific performance on the main square of the neighbourhood in collaboration with Roma youngsters for an audience of approximately 70 persons. The interactive performance (“The Ghost of the Klauzál Square”) tell the story of a young Jewish girl killed on this square in 1944 who can’t leave the place before telling her true story to other people. Children playing on the ground would help this ghost girl, try to understand what was happened to her and decide to present her story to the public. During the outdoor performance on the square the public is divided in small groups, they can follow one of the “actors”, get to know his/her character and his/her story about the ghost girl. At the end of the performance the members of the public meet with each other and put together the whole story by speaking about their own experiences with their own tours guide…
Important facts concerning the project:
– Local history of Jewish people and actual social experiences of marginalized groups are also relevant in the project
– MAROM’s volunteers are working with disadvantaged Roma youths, they are creating together an artistic product
– art-based methods (especially drama pedagogy, participatory research and site-specific learning methodologies are combined in the program in order to create a site specific performance.
– The performance is about children’s vulnerability in difficult historical and social contexts. Children’s marginalized and silenced experiences of different historical periods are combined in the play and are presented to a middle-class adult audience.
– This was a low budget “Youth in action – local initiative” project for one year. Volunteers didn’t stop the work with the youths when the project ended up, but have continued to meet with them regularly. They are now building up a new project together.
Klauzál square (the main place of the neighborhood where the performance took place) gained new meanings for the participants and for the audience as well.
video about the project: