Written and performed by the Dollardaddy Theatre Group from Budapest, the play explores family life drawing on childhood memories of people living in socialist and post-socialist countries and those who have visited the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War

The purpose of the bedtime story broadcast is to close up the activities of the day and prepare the soul for the nighttime rest. Thus the bedtime story needs to be poetic, not adventurous. It should not contain a complex narrative or deeply troubling motives. Let there be a teasing attraction but at the same time it has to support peaceful sleeping thus can not be too stimulating. And besides all the most important function is to steer the taste and the socialist education of the viewer to the right direction. We are travelling East with the show tonight. Enjoy it and do not forget: there is no sun without Sugár*! (*meaning Sunbeam, which was the name of a socialist shopping center).

Our collaborators, the Dollardaddy Theatre Group from Budapest, Hungary, wrote and performed a theatre play inspired by the memory stories collected in our Recollect/Reconnect project. The play premiered on September 22-23, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary and travelled to Tampere, Finland where it was performed in the Workers Theatre on the 28-29th of October, 2021. See pictures from the performance here.

Authors Bence Bíró, Emőke Kiss-Végh, Tamás Ördög; Performers Máté Dezső Georgita, Emőke Kiss-Végh, Zsombor Kövesi e.h., Tamás Ördög, Roland Rába, Natasa Stork, Sándor Terhes, Krisztina Urbanovits; Dramaturge Bence Bíró; Costume Designer Tibor Kiss – Je Suis Belle; Music dizsuMovement; Consultant Levente Lukács; Assistant Director Márk Molnár D.; Director Tamás Ördög

The performance is a part of Tampere University’s project Re-Connect / Re-Collect – Crossing the Divides through Memories of Cold War Childhood, inspired by the collected memories. The project is led by Professor Zsuzsa Millei and Associate Professor Nelli Piattoeva from the Faculty of Education at Tampere University, in cooperation with their colleague Professor Iveta Silova from Arizona State University, USA.

“The play was an overwhelming success in Budapest, Hungary last autumn and received outstanding reviews this summer after the performance in the most prestigious theatre festival in Szeged. We are pleased to host the play in Tampere and see how a Finnish audience would receive it, since Finland had a diplomatic role between the two superpowers during the Cold War and many adults today have vivid childhood memories of that period” – says Millei.

The play tells the story of Roland who won the 1986 Talent Show in Hungary for his clown performance and received a much coveted award – a trip to communist Vietnam. The first part of the play recalls some news and popular TV programs from socialist Hungary and two Talent Show performances. The scenes frequently shift times and spaces between socialist Hungary and contemporary Thailand where Roland lives at present. The second part of the play is a reunion of Roland’s family in Thailand, which slowly unfolds their shared past and present filled with unresolved tensions and provocations, providing some insights into the complex conditions of post-socialist family life.

The play director Tamás Ördög and dramaturg Bence Bíró participated in the research project themselves, working with academics and artists to collectively produce memory stories. When creating the script, they invited the actors to bring their own memories of childhood into the play.

“Childhood memories in this way also served as a bridge between academic research and the arts creating dialogues among people divided by multiple borders – geopolitical, economic, generational and cultural – not only in the past but also today” – explains Silova.

“Sharing memories has a domino effect: we hear one, we tell one. We hope the play will bring up memories in the audience and incite viewers to explore points of connections across real and imagined borders then and now” – adds Piattoeva.

From behind the scenes (February 2020)

Our collaborators, the Dollardaddy Theatre Group from Budapest, Hungary, are working on a theatre play inspired by the memory stories collected in our ongoing Recollect/Reconnect project. The play will open in Hungary at Trafo Theatre on Budapest on the 22nd of September 2020 together with a small exhibition . The play will travel to Tampere Workers Theatre to be performed between 10-12th of February 2021. At the same time a large exhibition in the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas will open and will be on display until October 2021. The play will be performed last at the Comparative and International Society’s conference in Seattle on the 25th of April 2021. It will then be transformed into a TV drama and recorded for open access view.

February 2020, our advisory board and Dollardaddy Theatre company warms up for the play’s character creation from memory stories of childhood we have collected as part of the Recollect / Reconnect project. (From left: Tamás Ördög, Susanne Gannon, Ioana Tistea, Emőke Kiss-Végh, Nelli Piattoeva, Iveta Silova, Bence Biró and Stefanie Weiss