Árpád Schilling Photo:

Árpád Schilling is a Hungarian stage director who lives in France. Since he moved there, he keeps commenting on the situation in Hungary. The result of the 2018 Hungarian parliamentary elections made him move out of the country. 

Schilling has been living in France as a Hungarian emigrant for a year now. He decided to move there with his family right after the victory of Fidesz in the elections of 8th April 2018. In his interview with Magyar Narancs (news agency), he talks about how their integration was going. The biggest challenge for them is to resist the paranoia that people take with them from Hungary. Locals have helped them a lot to get rid of it, says the producer. However, when someone asks about their origin, they often say “Orbán” as a reaction. There was a doctor who said that Orbán was psychotic. Macron has used the image of Orbán as his own terrible antithesis in French domestic policy, but it is still surprising that

“if you simply say that you are Hungarian, they look away resignedly.”

He still follows the political situation of Hungary and has a distressful opinion:

“This level of intellectual and moral decline cannot be sustained with a good soul.” 

“This is not only about Orbán himself but the system that he maintains, which causes dementia and infantilisation that we cannot shake off ourselves. The question emerges over and over again in me: how could this happen so easily? People like Mihály Takaró cause me physical pain – every sane person knows that he should be kept far away from education – and there we go…”

The tao-system was also mentioned in the interview. As Schilling has said for a long time: “All this goes back to before the Orbán-era. The experts of the profession should be on the same page about the basic questions of the profession. Not just the stone theatres, but all of them.” But now: “Örkény, Katona and Nemzeti (theatres) benefited from the situation, and problem solved. All directors and actors watched without a conscience and did nothing.”

Schilling Árpád
Árpád Schilling, giving an interview
Photo: Attila Szervác

The stage director says that he does not speak anymore with theatre directors like Pál Mácsai or Gábor Máté, etc. “They are also keeping a distance. Today, there are more things between us than what we still have in common.”

His wife, Lilla Sárosdi, started the Me Too movement in Hungary when she publicly admitted that theatre director László Marton sexually harassed her. This scandal also shocked many other theatre directors. regarding issues of human rights, especially with regards to issues of the two genders, we are stuck far behind. It is easier to stigmatise people as genderists than to seriously think about the topic. He thinks that it is not only the perpetrator’s responsibility, but a community or circle of friends also have a serious part in it if they remain silent even though they know about what happened. 

He is aware that he is in a privileged position that can change anytime, but he wants to provide his children with a perspective of mobility and freedom.

Schilling would rather work as a greengrocer in Canada than as a theatre director in Hungary. 


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