So I saw Ordögölő Józsiás for the, uh, third time, this time with a cast really different from the proshot (compared to my earlier two experiences at least)! The cast was as follows:
Józsiás – Szerényi László
Jázmina – Vágó Zsuzsi
Bakszén – Mészáros Árpád Zsolt
Dilló – Peller Anna
Villikó – Angler Balázs
Idilló – Kékkovács Mara
Durmonyás – Ottlik Ádám
Boricz – Gömöri András Máté
Matuzsa – Nádasi Veronika
Lámsza – Csuha Lajos
Ropogán – Németh Attila
Fanfarus – Pálfalvy Attila
It was super interesting to compare different people’s takes on the same role, so I’ll talk mostly about that. If you need a vague idea on what even goes on in this play, I did a very very simplified overview (part one and part two).
JÓZSIÁS – So far I’ve only ever seen KMM in this role! It’s amazing how different the same lines can sound coming from a different actor, Laci Józsiás was SO different! What I like about KMM Józsiás are his decidedly unheroic qualities – whether by design or accident, he comes across as a little self-serving, arrogant, slightly manipulative, and very goal-oriented; but ultimately morally sound, and very caring about his friends and his country. Laci Józsiás on the other hand seems very kind, slightly naïve… very heroic, but reluctant to make decisions, and a little slow in adapting to change. And they have THE SAME LINES. I would say, if there was a “proper” way to play Józsiás, as a role model and fairytale hero, Laci is probably closer to it than KMM. I do find KMM more entertaining though, precisely because he is a little bit of a scoundrel who sells himself as pure and innocent. Btw, when Matuzsa talks about him before he arrives, the word she uses is vitéz (surtitles just called him a knight, I think?). Crossover with János Vitéz, anyone? I’ll talk more about Józsiás in his interactions with the other characters when I come to said characters. But one thing I noticed that underlined my impression of his being reluctant to make decisions and spring to action was that, at least with this cast, it looked like Józsiás never got to take that journey across the country he was talking about making?? Like, they did send Fanfarus, who also came back to report, but it seemed like in the end, what tipped the scales was Matuzsa and the council members gathering a bunch of refugee fairies and basically storming the castle to force their new king to finally acknowledge their plight, not Józsiás travelling and seeing it for himself. The bedroom scene before also ended with Boricz basically giving up and leaving the two of them engrossed in each other, it didn’t look like Józsiás would leave anytime soon.
JÁZMINA – Likewise, the first time I saw someone besides Dancs Annamari in the role! Zsuzsi plays her less like a bubbly operetta soubrette, less dainty and coquettish, equal parts young/excited (there were definite hints of Júlia in Jázmina’s introduction scene) and capable. This Jázmina has no trouble articulating her needs, making tough decisions, and being really visibly angry. Very cute, very funny, very badass. I’d love to see her play next to KMM Józsiás. I don’t think I can decide which Jázmina I like better, but I really love seeing Annamari and KMM together so if I had to decide between two casts to watch and one of those was the latter combo, I’d probably take that as a guaranteed safe bet. Plus, Zsuzsi’s singing was great, but man I love love Annamari’s voice, so I guess she’s still my favourite by a hair.
Anyway, Zsuzsi Jázmina was really cute with Idilló! In the opening sequence, where the fairies do their sort of sun greeting ritual, the two of them dance with Dilló, before Dilló and Idilló wander off to different groups of female fairies (most fairies dance in male/female pairs, but the main trio only dance with other girls).
BAKSZÉN – After seeing Kocsis Dénes and Kádár Szabolcs (both of whom I really liked) in the role, MÁZs would’ve had to be super amazing in order to impress me. I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t really come as a surprise; you could say I’m negatively predisposed towards MÁZs on stage in general. Idk, his acting/singing choices just don’t work for me. I saw him as András in Menyasszonytánc and thought him okay, that’s the most positive thing I can say. Regardless of cast, Győz a pokol is still my favourite song to see live! I just like the staging, and the smug hammy gloating, and stage blood hooray, and the chorus is the same melody as Szomorú ördög but with opposite lyrics and ahhh I like this song so much. The fire effects also worked in this one, which was noteworthy because the firey glove really really didn’t – it burned on and off during Bakszén’s entire intro, and during the Act I finale I feared for poor Laci, but luckily he seemed to have survived hale and hearty :p Oh, and during Bakszén’s argument with Ropogán, the bit where he goes “I am not king!!” and Ropogán is like “But you can be king!” (“De lehetsz király!”) I swear to god MÁZs actually did the punchy choreography from Lehetzs Király for a sec there haha.
Another thing I noticed this time around was the giant tree in the background of the stage. When all the stage props were cleared away for the bows, an entrance, like a cave or a tunnel, became visible between its roots. This is the direction all the contestants enter from, so either Fairyland can only be reached via this passageway, or it was only the devils in particular who took this route from underground. I’m pretty excited about the latter possibility, because I grew up with stories about devils who live under the tree of life that they keep trying to saw off, and every year around Christmas/New Year’s/Twelfth Night they come to the earth for mischief before the job is done, and every year the tree recovers in the time until their return (see Wikipedia for more info. I played one of these guys in my kindergarten’s Christmas theater production, with tail and everything :p). While Ördögölő Józsiás isn’t a Christmas story, the actors themselves have made the link to the Austrian/Southern German Krampus (the scary counterpart to kind St. Nick), and I’m just really enthusiastic about getting all~ of the folklore mixed into this fandom haha. Also, during some scenes, a night sky with stars was projected right onto this tree background, and it looked like the stars were hanging in the tree branches. So pretty *__*
DILLÓ – I finally saw Anna as Dilló, hooray! Ahhh, she’s great. Her Dilló is definitely aware of Durmi’s crush on her, and enjoys tormenting and manipulating him (she basically shoved her breasts right into his face every time she talked to him, and seemed to have lots of fun throwing the rose he gave her into his face). She also helps Bakszén cheat during the first question of the riddle contest, by shouting out the answer, badly disguised as a cough. Her makeup was very noticeable this time around, she had a huge glittery blue mark over half her face (the opposite side than Bakszén’s face markings btw – not sure this is done on purpose, but they sort of mirror each other a little), and after changing to her “corrupted” outfit she got big fake black eyelashes over the already big sparkly blue ones. Her ugly crying after being sacked by Jázmina had the audience screaming with laughter, it went on for about a minute, and just – imagine the most pathetic blubbering you can, throw in a police siren, but louder, no, EVEN LOUDER!! …It was glorious. When Bakszén hands her the first handkerchief she just snots all over it and it’s the absolute opposite of dignified. After the coup she turns into the personified guilty conscience around Jázmina, even before Bakszén breaks up with her, and when Jázmina tells her that she cannot forgive her she just crumples, and runs offstage crying. She’s… really snooty and petty and cruel, but man do I like interesting female characters who are neither perfect angels nor cackling villains, and she absolutely fits that description. Also a lot of the really not kid-friendly dirty lines are hers, haha (especially during Matuzsa’s prophecy regarding Bakszén, holy shit).
VILLIKÓ – I saw Balázs Villikó once before, and distinctly remember not being the least bit impressed. He wasn’t funny, his acting seemed wooden compared to Bálint Ádám’s hyperactive charming noodle Villikó, his singing was fine but I didn’t like his interaction with Idilló, and overall I was too busy with
Boricz other characters to pay much attention to what he was doing. So I went in this time not expecting much, and whaddaya know, I actually really liked his take on the role this time! Maybe because when you expect nothing, every little bit is an improvement, maybe because this time I saw him opposite Mara Idilló instead of Lukács Anita and Laci Józsiás instead of KMM, but I am willing to contemplate the possibility that he just improved considerably in the last year. Anyway, no, he is not like Ádám, not at all. His Villikó is much less charming and nerdy. He is loud, a smartass, brutally honest, has a strong sense of justice, no manners to speak of, no sense of self-preservation, and would possibly expire on the spot if he couldn’t blurt out everything that crosses his mind. His total lack of filter was hilarious (again, same lines, totally different character than proshot Villikó), and his interactions with Mara Idilló were less sugary cute than proshot, but not as rough and wooden as I remember from last time (maybe because Anita is so tiny? Mara with the boots was about his height, and while she is the rough one compared to Ádám Villiko, slapping and shoving him, Balázs didn’t just yank her around like a puppet either, and they seemed pretty balanced and funny in their mutual enthusiastic flirting). You can totally believe this guy being best friends with Laci Józsiás because they have the same opinions, except Balász Villikó shouts about them at every opportunity while Laci Józsiás has more tact (but less gumption). His tl;dr best man speech at the wedding was also hilarious. During the first tournament, Villikó insults the other contestants, and Józsiás has to smooth things out, apologizing for his friend, before finally losing his cool at the continued rudeness of the other two guys. What a difference to proshot, where Józsiás is clearly super amused by Villikó’s commentary, and only apologizes for show while actually agreeing with everything his bestie just said! (At least, that was my impression) True to form, Villikó absolutely has to quip about the fake contestants during the fake tournament as well, because no self-preservation. He also seemed to deal with Durmonyás a lot during the three weeks time jump, I never really noticed that with Ádám Villikó! They also hug at least once, during the whole “Hooray Józsiás didn’t die” scene. These two would get along in interesting ways, must ponder further. For this version of the character, it makes total sense for Durmonyás to give him his sword before the fake tournament, “just in case”, because this guy would know how and when to use it; and it also totally makes sense for Józsiás to make him a judge at the end, because mmmyep, judging is what he does best. But also, that moment where Józsiás actually believes him and Idilló to have become traitors – this Villikó has an undercurrent of righteous anger and dormant violence underneath some shameless opportunism, so yes, former idealists do make the most fearsome villains.
IDILLÓ – I saw Mara, who is also in the proshot, and is my favourite Idilló. Not much to say about her take on the role, but I noticed something during the show: When her and Jázmina come into the chancellor’s office to find Dilló tormenting poor Durmi, right before she gets sacked, Idilló peeks over the documents on Durmi’s desk, and opens a ledger that’s lying there. Her face while reading the contents seemed faintly alarmed to me – I think she suspected something was rotten even before overhearing the plans for the coup.
DURMONYÁS - I was supposed to see Peller Károly, whom I’ve seen once before, but for apparent sickness reasons I got Ottlik Ádám instead. I was a little bummed at first, because PK is my favourite of the actors currently playing the role, but I ended up liking OÁ just fine – he’s not as involved in the dancing and stunts as the younger Durmis, but I already knew that from seeing Józsa Imre the last time around. This Durmi wasn’t as OTT sarcastic and cynical as JI, nor as scared and teddy-ish adorable as PK, but somewhere in between. He was funny, a little bit grumpy (not as much as Vízi Dávid) with just the right dose of pathetic, and probably the single most gullible Durmi I have seen. I liked his singing fine. He actively helps Boricz into the box during the coup as opposed to Józsa Imre who notices him in there and just closes the lid, and he basically RUNS up to hug Boricz during the whole “Józsiás isn’t dead and we’re not traitors hooray” scene. So yeah, not my fave, but I don’t regret seeing him either. Oh, and he also sees whatever Dilló and Bakszén are doing after they run off stage after Pokoli Tangó, and keeps commenting and wincing in sympathy – the surtitles only gave “poor Bakszén”, but I felt he probably said a great deal more than that, so maybe he was ad-libbing, who knows.
BORICZ - If you expected this part to get long, you expected right. There is only one cast for Boricz, but he’s my favourite character, played by one of my favourite actors, so that was where most of my attention went while seeing it. And, weirdly enough, the Boricz I saw that night was surprisingly different from the proshot one, or the one I saw the last two times, so he fits right into the theme of “same lines, totally different character”. I don’t know if it was just that he was playing against a different set of colleagues, or if maybe GAM decided to mix things up that night, or if his interpretation of the character has evolved during the last year, but the Boricz I saw was a mischievous troll with a short temper and an equally short attention span, as opposed to the chipper cinnamon roll of the proshot. He was SO SALTY, it was hilarious. During his first five minutes on stage he gets really annoyed when first some stick-fighting members of Józsiás’ troupe, then Józsiás himself interrupt his reading of the Odyssey, Józsiás’ first lines are actually drowned out by Boricz shouting over him, only to be held up by a long word he has to sound out, which gives Józsiás the opportunity to go center stage and get the audience’s attention. Boricz’ lines about “this isn’t a fairytale!”/”but this is a fairytale!” got almost no laughs, which may have been because his delivery was so clipped and fast this time I barely caught them, even though I knew they were coming. During the wedding he keeps provoking the devils while most of the others are dancing, obviously spoiling for a fight. At some point he walks up to Durmonyás, arms open, as if he was going to hug him, which Gullible Durmi accepts with some confusion but no apparent ill will (even though that same human was taunting Bakszén’s entourage not forty seconds earlier), only to have Boricz put one arm around his shoulders, one arm around ponytail devil with the asymmetrical top who was ambling by, and SMASH them together in a weirdly ceremonial way, like a gleefully violent version of NOW KISS.
(Important derailment about THE MYSTERY OF THE UGLY HAT: When the actual wedding ceremony starts, Villikó and Boricz go off stage for a bit, and when they return Villikó has put some festive flowers on his walking stick, and Boricz is wearing a godawful felt hat for no apparent reason at all. He was probably keeping it in his bag the entire time. He takes the hat off to wave it around a few times, then starts collecting confetti from the floor into it, holding it up for Villikó and Józsiás to take some out to throw. Then he goes offstage again and reappears sans hat and ready to annoy some devils)
The awkward bedroom scene isn’t so much awkward as super tense – Boricz is trying his damnedest to get Józsiás’ attention and communicate to him that they really have to go, yes really, yes now! He all but taps his foot in annoyance, and at some point looks straight at the audience like this is what I have to put up with, oh god I hate my job sometimes. He also doesn’t help Józsiás dress, just thrusts the jacket at him impatiently. Afterwards, when they STILL won’t stop making out and his silent handwaving goes completely ignored, he starts hissing at them (maybe trying to get Józsiás’ attention? But Jázmina is RIGHT THERE and that’s really rude??) until Jázmina throws some bread rolls from her breakfast tray at him, at which point he turns on his heels and bolts out of there.
Also I had a small revelation concerning Boricz’ status – he appears to be Józsias’ personal servant AFTER the coronation, but isn’t before, contrary to what I had assumed. I did wonder how a penniless student would afford keeping a manservant, and the answer is he doesn’t. Boricz has exactly the same status as Villikó, and both roles are listed as “Józsiás embere”. This relieves me somewhat, because master/servant types of relationships can get squicky for me, but if Boricz is literally a friend first and a servant second (in the way that Villikó also works for Józsiás during/after the time jump, doing deliveries), I can deal.
The actors playing Idilló, Villikó, and Boricz appear to have double roles where they also play some of the nameless fairies in green bathrobes who had to leave their homes due to hunger and chose to beleaguer the castle instead. Pity I recognize GAM by his stance alone, bathrobe notwithstanding. Not-Boricz the fairy almost got into a fist fight with some of Bakszén’s entourage, carrying the angry theme further. Post-timeskip, the five unnamed members of Jósziás’ band of students also double as male fairies without any discernible costume difference between their roles as humans-integrated-into-fairy-society and actual fairies, which is REALLY CONFUSING. I ASSUME that none of Józsiás’ men were actually killed during Bakszén’s coup, but can’t be sure – were they killed as fairies, and the actors reappeared on stage as humans, or was it the other way around? Oh well, headcanon says fairies are almost immortal anyway, so who cares (spoiler: I do).
The last time I saw this show, I thought Boricz cried a lot during the whole “Józsiás is dead/Oh wait there he is” scene, buuut as it turns out more crying is always possible (I am not protesting, Boricz crying is totally fine with me). He comes on stage crying, pulls himself together for long enough to tell what happened and urge everyone to just take their stuff and run while they still can, then wanders to the right side of stage, leans against it, and just keeps on crying while Matuzsa starts talking. Then he kind of gets it back together, wanders all the way across stage to the left side and leans there with his face buried in the crook of his elbow, still shaking. There’s a line of people standing between him and the entrance where Józsiás reappears and he has his back to them, so it takes him a bit to notice Józsiás’ return (you’d think everyone shouting “Józsiás!” would’ve been a clue to turn around but nope, too busy grieving), but when he does he just falls to his knees, hides his face in his hands, and sobs, until one of the bathrobe fairies touches his shoulder like Are you okay there? He still looks a little wobbly as he smiles up at Józsiás from where he’s sitting (augh that was such a poignant picture, I don’t remember that bit being there the last time I saw it?), but by the time Józsiás has made his round of handshakes he’s back up and more or less composed. The hug with Laci Józsiás isn’t quite as feelsy as the one with KMM, but only because GAM and KMM do super intense stage hugs of friendship and feels, and it was still super looooong.
And we were back to sharp and angry Boricz for the last bit. Bakszén backhanding him across the face had a little lead-up of Bakszén waving him closer and Boricz making a face like NOPE YOU WISH and Bakszén angrily stomping over and sort of gripping his jaw before suddenly hitting him and oh man, that look of utter hatred was very impressive for a supposed hero. After the duel he picks up the sword that one of the devils gave Durmi to execute Józsiás with that Durmi gave Villikó that Villikó gave Józsiás (following the line of possession of single props in this show can get exhausting) to check on Bakszén – unlike the last times I saw it, he immediately knows that Bakszén is dead and nods in Villikó’s direction, a minute or so before shouting out Józsiás’ victory. And uuuugh I still don’t liiiike the ending – like, I approve of the whole “don’t repay violence with more violence, an eye for an eye never leads to peace” message, but Durmonyás actively HELPED them (he loudly volunteered to be the one allowed to take Józsiás into the forest to kill him, and since that was after he’d helped Boricz hide I really don’t think it was with the intention of actually killing him), he should be getting a reward instead of being graciously allowed to leave to who knows where! Anyway, Boricz isn’t among the people who shout for Dilló and Durmi to be executed, but he takes the sword he picked up out of his belt and presents it to Józsiás, giving him the opportunity to take it and instantly implement the judgment. The most favourable spin I can put on this is that he’s daring Józsiás – “If you want these two killed, you’ll have to do it yourself instead of passing on the dirty work to someone else, and I know you cannot slaughter two defenseless unarmed people who you KNOW don’t deserve it”. I still don’t like it.
So yeah, that was the strange experience of Angry Boricz, who, let’s be honest, looked more like RésJ Benvolio having wandered into the wrong play. Carmarthen suggested bodyswap as a solution, in which Boricz is actually a very confused and frustrated Durmonyás being fed up with mortal and fairy weirdness, and Generalsnarker put a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead spin on it, in which Boricz is the only character dimly aware that he’s in a fairytale play, always ends up doing the same things again and again and again, and NEVER GETS TO FINISH READING HIS DAMN ODYSSEY IN PEACE. Needless to say, all three options totally require fic exploring them, of course.
MATUZSA - Having seen both Nádasi Veronika and Janza Kata in the role, I really can’t decide whether I like one of them better, they’re both great. Kata is funnier, and her Matuzsa a little bit of a hack who blatantly makes up prophecies if divine inspiration doesn’t quite come as needed, and Veronika is a little more awe-inspiring, with a fantastic VOICE omg.
LÁMSZA - Csuha Lajos seems to ad-lib a lot, the parts where he confuses people’s names did not sound at all like what the surtitles gave haha. He didn’t sing the high note at the end of the angsty cage song, but was still A+ intense.
When Laci and Zsuzsi came through the door during curtains, a little girl in the middle of row 5 jumped up from her seat and started waving, and Zsuzsi saw and waved back <3 Honestly, the best part of seeing this show live is all the kids who are really into it :D