The Paul Street Boys


The Paul Street Boys A guest performance of the National Theater in Warsaw

Saturday 4 April, 9:00 pm — Monday 6 April 2009, 1:00 am

National Theater

The Paul Street Boys

directed by: Michal Zadara

4-5 of April 2009 (Saturday-Sunday), 7 pm

A guest performance of the National Theater in Warsaw during the International Theatre Festival organized by the National Theater and the Budapest Spring Festival.

An adaptation by the young Polish director of the youth novel well known in Central Eastern Europe, for mature male actors: adult games and childish infighting inside the Teatr Maly.

The oroginal novel is about schoolboys in the rapidly developing Budapest at the turn of the 20th century, who defend their playground, the "grund", from the "redshirts", a team of other boys who want to occupy it. The boys regard the "grund" as their "Fatherland", constitute themselves its "National Army" and constantly use all the terminology of nationalism as common at the time in Hungary as elsewhere in Europe.

The "battle", fought with "sandbombs" ends when the smallest and weakest boy, Ernő Nemecsek, whom the other boys earlier mistakenly thought a "traitor", dead. Nemecsek, already gravely ill, dies of the effects of pneumonia, after joining the battle in spite of his serious illness.

Soon after his death, the boys are chased off their beloved "grund"/"Fatherland" by engineers who inform them that an apartment building would be erected on the spot. The book ends with a mood of dejection and disillusion, with a character remarking bitterly "The Fatherland has betrayed us". The book can thus be seen as a biting satire of European nationalism and a premonition of the First World War which broke out a few years after its publication. The message comes through, although the plot does not involve politics and is an easy reading for children.

Performance in Polish language with Hungarian subtitles.

National Theater
Budapest, IX. Bajor Gizi park 1.