Necromancy: a VR performance

Kristóf Kelemen

2023/24 Nebenan Performance Deutschlandpremiere

Fifty years ago, the Hungarian state tried to take control of the art scene. Many artists were banned and had to go into hiding, but the local neo-avant-garde movements found shelter in a small chapel in Balatonboglár. In the 1970s, a legendary independent theater group (the later Squat Theatre) staged a play there that was based on the film “King Kong” and had an early queer reference: the male lead left the confines of his body and became a beautiful woman. They escaped perceived reality and played with their gender identities.

In the hybrid performance “Necromancy”, one visitor with virtual reality glasses follows in the footsteps of the Squat Theatre – from Budapest to New York, through disappeared venues, apartments and archives. This journey through time not only makes it possible to look into the mirror of Hungary’s past 50 years ago, but also to address today’s problems, create alternative realities and develop subversive powers of imagination – how long is it possible to create your own universe in a dictatorship? If we have to leave our homeland as refugees, can we connect with other cultures? “Necromancy” conjures up the ghosts of the past, giving them a voice to tell of radical freedom.

Duration: per slot ca. 30 min

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Language: English

Kristóf Kelemen studied literature and theatre dramaturgy, and obtained his PhD at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest. As a theatre maker, he creates research-based projects with different types of collaborative methods. His focus lies on the genre of documentary theatre with the goal to create narratives between reality and fiction. There are many topics that he is interested in, for example collective memory and the unspoken past of societies, the forgotten history of the LGBTQ+ community, and the analysis of global capitalism and contemporary political rhetoric, particularly right-wing populism. His performances have been showcased at a number of international festivals, including Fast Forward in Dresden, Spielart in Munich, and Theaterfestival Basel.

Director, writer: Kristóf Kelemen 
With: Dániel Baki, Chengjunyan Zhou, Kristóf Kelemen, Gabriella Schuler
Voice (Hungarian): Nóra Blanka Berényi
Voice (English): Anna Thieser
Cameraman, Schnitt: Nimród Nyúl / New Reflection Films
Music: Márton Kristóf
Light technician: Balázs Szabon
Field Management: Panka Sándor
Makeup: Krisztina Béres
VR Consultant: Fanni Fazakas
Visual Consultant: Virág Pázmány
English Translation: Gabriella Gál
Assistant Director: Anita Totobé
Tour Management: Panka Sándor
Production Management: Andrea Kovács
Produced by: Veszprém-Balaton 2023 – European Capital of Culture, Babel Camp
In collaboration with: Füge Productions
Creative Management: Let it Be! art agency

A special thanks to: SzM – KEMKI, Artpool Art Research Center, Kultkikötő, Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute, Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Klára CSERNE, Ágnes Karolina BAKK, Chengjunyan ZHOU, Sára UNGVÁRI, Gabriella SCHULLER (Museum of Fine Arts Budapest – KEMKI – Artpool Art Research Center), László SZÁZADOS (Museum of Fine Arts Budapest – KEMKI – ADK)