The play is based on the decade long research of Judit Durst, cultural anthropologist focusing on informal usury in the Hungarian villages. Usury is an informal and illegal way of money lending way – functioning outside the bank system – with diverse interest rates (from 20% even till 200% or above). It has more versions beside money lending, these ensure food, firewood, tobacco, clothing or other goods for the clients for financial interest. The people who have low and/or illegal income cannot get credit from the banks. For the financial needs of these people illegal usury gives answer everywhere in the world – as private individuals can’t give credit including any interest rate according to the legal regulations. In poor regions there are thousands of people who can only get financial credit from illegal money lending resources. According to the results of the research conducted by Durst there are so-called ‘correct’ usurers, who don’t expect higher interest rates than some of the financial institutions, meanwhile there are the so called ‘hot’ usurers, who count even extreme high interest rates, and who do aggressive actions against their clients in case they don’t pay back their credit according to the earlier made agreement.
The phenomena of usury in disadvantaged villages can be understood only in the context of the life of the communities living there. These communities usually live in poverty, lack working opportunities, have a low level of education, poor housing and health conditions. For many people in such communities very often asking or giving usury is the only opportunity to ensure their living conditions.
The play was performed in the frame of a gastro-hiking theater performance on a green hill in Budapest. The members of the audience were interacted by the characters of the play as tourists coming from the capital in the small village. The different scenes were presented on different points of Gellért Hill.
‘It is therefore exceptional (and how Brechtian) that instead of performing the dramas as “universal” according to white middle-class standards over and over again (for a minority of people, but still it is what intended to be mainstream theater today) the creators of the Independent Theater tailor-made European drama for themselves. First Ibsen, then Brecht. And now they made the Roma Mother Courage from Borsod, Hungary.’es.hu
‘The protagonist of the drama is Mara, in the powerful and beautiful portrayal of Emília Lovas, who presents us with the unwanted dilemma that in such a system that this country has reached after the change of the regime, one can only choose between two bad roles in a village in extreme poverty: hit or be hit, it’s worthless to try to avoid hitting.’revizoronline.com
‘Village Day is a theatre performance where the public, represented by a group of tourists, is taken on a tour of a poor village in Hungary by various members of the community.’The Calvert Journal
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1: ©Alina Vincze_Orsolya Balogh, Emília Boda-Novy,
2: ©Alina Vincze_Orsolya Balogh, Dávid Csányi, Cristopher Pászik
3: ©Alina Vincze_Béla Stubnya, Cristopher Pászik
4: ©Alina Vincze_Dávid Csányi
5: ©Alina Vincze_Judit Kőszegi, Béla Stubnya