History – Performance – Memory: Richard III and the Subversion of Theatre in Hungary, 1955
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This paper looks at two Richard III production in Hungary, the latter of which has since achieved legendary status. Put on just before the 1956-revolution it was often reinterpreted as a revolutionary act, the best example of the early, spontaneous subversion of Shakespeare’s plays in Hungary. However, the play was performed in the first theatre of the nation, strictly controlled by central cultural authorities, directed by one of the major figures of new Socialist propaganda theatre, Tamás Major. Therefore the production raises fundamental questions about the nature of subversion and Shakespeare’s role in it, as well as about the sources a theatre historian can work with. These are the questions the paper wishes to answer by tracking down the history of a Hungarian 1955-performance of Richard III.