Géza – theater as a way to discover the world and re-discover your homeland
Today Pequod meets Géza Pintér, a young Hungarian actor who has decided to gain experience in Italy. For two years he’s been studying and working at Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo (link), but his relationship with Italy, its language and its culture began much earlier…
Hello Géza, could you introduce yourself to Pequod’s readers?
Hi, I’m Géza Pintér and I’m 31. I’m from Pécs, a city in Southern Hungary. I studied theatre as an actor and cultural manager, but before I graduated from the Faculty of Visual Arts at the University of Pécs, where I attended at the same time courses in Film studies and Italian studies.
Your interest in Italian studies is something unexpected!
I had already approached the Italian language years before: I attended a bilingual high school. I still believe that learning two different languages can be a big advantage.
But back to your path in the world of theatre…
I started to study theatre in my country, but I didn’t find the opportunity to test myself in different kinds of theatre – physical theatre, street theatre, social theatre… So I did my Erasmus in Ferrara where I got to know Teatro Nucleo (link), a group known for its performances in unconventional spaces and for its projects in psychiatric hospitals and prisons: exactly what I was looking for!
I met Horacio Czertok, the director of Teatro Nucleo, a strong intellectual with a great experience in theatre… I consider him my master.
I edited the Hungarian translation of his book, Theatre of exile, and we started several projects. I built up a working team in Hungary with the main object being the implement of prison-theatre, but always in partnership with Italy, because I think Italy is a very avant-garde country in this field.
Why did you decide to go back to Italy?
At first I earnt some experience in street theatre with a German company, which I followed for three years in many international festivals. At the International Theatre Festival of Puebla (Mexico) I met the actors of Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo. Their performance really stuck me, so started to visit Bergamo very often to attend some workshops with them, and I’m still here.
Describe us your everyday life in Bergamo.
I go to the theatre at 8 am and I usually stay there till 6 pm. I take care of some maintenance work, of the organization of the events and the rehearsals. I can practise by myself training, I do Bharata Natyam (classical Indian dance-theatre, editor’s note), I walk on stilts and much more…
I live five minutes from the theatre in a very fine place, surrounded by nature and with my two housemates (see Géza in the beautiful Bergamo in the cover picture, editor’s note) . I also love to spend some time in San Vigilio, it’s a very special place for the view on Bergamo, for its meadows with huge pine trees… It relax me.
How is living in Italy different than living in Hungary?
In my opinion, Italian citizens are much more conformed, they have similar habits, similar attitudes… I mean that in my country there’s no middle class with a cultural base as strong as here. It isn’t just an economic issue, it’s a historical problem.
In Eastern Europe capitalism has emerged overbearingly in a time when the culture in general was weaker, so the mentality has become very materialistic, pushing away the issue of all those people who had experienced World War II, World War I and before, erasing their awareness of the past. I think that, in different periods, Hungary has suffered much more than many other European states, but there isn’t an effort to create opportunities to bring out these deep problems of the society. People carry on and keep inside all the problems, but this way perhaps they never really realize about them. That’s why I love that in Italy people often say that something is nice or pretty, not just for a slang habit, but also because their mentality is still capable of seeing beauty in things, not only to think about costs, how much energy to invest, or to someone’s personal income…
What do you miss the most?
I miss my mother language, a better understanding of what other people say, my culture and the opportunity to confront with its problems.
As an actor, I feel I have nothing to say to Italian public yet, because my main motivation to work and perform comes from problems which belong to my culture, but now I have to study and improve some techniques.
You’ve been talking about the differences between Hungary and Italy. Also, you’ve been travelling a lot so far. What do you think about Europe? Do you perceive Europe as a community? As you know, recently the EU countries have triggered very strong debates about their political and economic differences…
In Europe we’re very similar one to each other, especially considering young people – you can perceive this travelling to other continents. It’s more difficult to understand the economic situation for people like us, but I don’t believe that this political cohesion is guilty of so many problems discussed in these times.
I don’t share the vision of a homogeneous continent, we should be aware that European countries have different cultural roots and this is a great treasure, but the idea of Europe can maybe help us avoiding many wars and fostering cooperation between peoples.
Before 2004, when Hungary entered the EU, I remember that even Italy seemed very far away! Now my identity card is enough to move between the two countries. I was in Erasmus, I’ve been travelling a lot, I’ve participated in several European projects: I feel extremely connected to Europe!
What’s the best thing you’ve learnt by your experience abroad?
Discretion and courtesy in their deep meaning, as life values. You know, discretion isn’t just a typical feature in the theater world… it’s also for this quality I have chosen to study at Teatro Tascabile!