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The Hardest Word - Independent Theater Hungary

The hardest word

It tells about the civil activity of Jess Smith, a writer, poet, and storyteller belonging to the Gypsy Traveler community in Scotland. The goal that Jess sets for herself is nothing less than to demand the country’s first minister to apologize for the long centuries of persecution that Travelers had to suffer.

The monodrama displays both the vulnerability and the firm character of Jess. From her confession, we learn what challenges she must face while fighting steadily for her goals – against her own family, the society or the authority.  Sometimes civil disobedience is the only way to maintain our dignity, she believes.

„Can I, as one of Scotland’s Aborigines, ask my parliament for an ‘apology’ for the dreadful and inhuman treatment administered to Scotland’s travelling people?”


Writer:Richard R. O’Neill
Director:Rodrigó Balogh
Performer:Edina Dömök
Translator of the Hungarian version: Viktória Kondi
Premiered:2017 in Studio K Theatre, Budapest Hungary
(The play written by Richard R. O’Neill was first presented in 2008 in Leeds, UK with Jess Smith as performer and storyteller)



The first minister of Scotland between 2007-2014 was Alex Salmond. Jess Smith – Scottish Traveler writer and storyteller - planned to ask him for an apology. However, Richard O’Neill suggested her to do a performance about this intention instead of real-life action – as it can have a bigger impact. The play was written for this purpose. The Church of Scotland got involved in the issue when one of the priests attended the performance – this encounter was influential in the church’s approach and a first step to deal with this topic. Although the state or the first minister did not apologize, the Church of Scotland did so on 25 May 2012 and started to ensure social services for Traveler minority members. So, this play had a relevant impact on society.

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Focus scene


‘… when we take part in a social experience, where we watch something together with strangers, we become active in reception forming our opinion and communication, too.’


‘ a political manifesto performed at high emotional temperature’


“… a moving and challenging monologue”


Materials to read

Excerpts from the play
In case you would like to request availability to the full play and/or the full video about the performance, write an email to info@romaheroes.org and describe the aim of your request!

photo credits

All rights reserved

 1: ©Alina Vincze_Edina Dömök

2: ©Alina Vincze_Edina Dömök

3: ©Alina Vincze_Edina Dömök

4: ©Alina Vincze_Edina Dömök

5: ©Alina Vincze_Edina Dömök