Subversive Fantasies; Pandora’s Box by Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár review

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Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár performing Pandora's Box

[An Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár review by Dorottya Albert]

Nextfeszt, a festival organized by Trafó House, determined to examine the future through art, has arrived to its highest pitch by presenting Csaba Molnár and Emese Cuhorka’s very intimate grotesque duet, Pandora’s Box. Although the creators might have invited the audience into an imaginary, absurd world, the performance proposed so many links to the issues of our actual state of being, that it was almost impossible not to reflect on it with a sour smile or to break into a self-ironic laughter.

Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár performing Pandora's Box
Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár performing Pandora’s Box; photo by Emese Cuhorka.

On the podium, comprised of many black boxes of different sizes, two faceless, animalistic creatures move slowly under the moonlight as Tomaso Albinoni’s baroque-romantic melodies (music by Ábris Gryllus) start blowing into the space. They continuously change their positions while holding horn-shaped yoga mats and hiding their heads in them as if they were just born in this unknown territory of sin, despair and pain. The new world, as a consequence of Pandora’s act gradually unfolds itself and reaches new intensities as the two beings start to experience it.

Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár performing Pandora's Box.
Emese Cuhorka & Csaba Molnár performing Pandora’s Box, photo by Emőke Domokos .

The audience is not a passive witness to this hopeless universe either. Sitting in rows in the middle of the studio space, dividing the ‘stage’ into two different sections, spectators are both the viewers of the scenes; an objectified boundary, where the dancers have access to enter, but also the listeners of the dancers’ sublime and sarcastic, fragmented speeches about the pointlessness, cruelty, and painfulness of life. Spectators are partners in these dialogues, however, they are not asked to answer any questions or reflect on any statement. Their ‘function’ is similar to the mirror of the studio, in which a psychedelic neon colored landscape appears: the ironic reflections of this exaggerated and overdriven state of existence.

Water streams from the taps without any pipe, another creature moves under a black cover leaving mystery behind itself, the neon colors dazzle our eyes; and once we have truly arrived to this bitter, joyful and humorous land of fantasy, the dancers realize the only solution left before the apocalypse: barricading themselves. Doesn’t is sound familiar, yet bizarre?

Click & read the portrait of Emese Cuhorka dancer & choreographer.


Creators/performers: Csaba Molnár & Emese Cuhorka. Music: Ábris Gryllus. Light: Janka Galgó, Nextfeszt, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, 23/01/2019.

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