…said Shakespeare in As You Like It, and it has become an allegory used by many on a daily use. For me, it is not “all the world,” though, to be honest, I spent a significant part of my life in the Szigligeti Theatre of Oradea, and as matters stand, the theatre might fill up my schedule further. I remember the first performance clearly. I was seven years old when I saw my first play. It was a ballet performance of Carmen, an epiphany for a little girl like me. Every little girl’s biggest dream is to be a princess or a ballerina, and I was a ballet troupe member at the time. It was not until later that my dad became an employee of the Szigligeti Company as a dresser. You know what that means, right? For that matter, I literally saw—with gasps of admiration—every single theatrical production from the first row, multiple times. There were a few exceptions, like the ones with an age-limit, yet I was naughty enough to peek into them secretly, although I did close my eyes when I saw naked women and men pacing up-and-down. The first drama I saw by the Hungarian company in 2006-2007 was Molière’s The Learned Ladies. I remember watching the comedy in awe.
I became a theatre lover. Exceptionally so that when in 2011 the theatre reopened after the restoration, and a few months later it founded the Szigligeti’s Volunteer Group, I said to myself, “I must join!” Four months later, my cousin and I were officially volunteers (in Hungarian, we call ourselves grasshoppers), and today I can call myself a volunteering foremother in the history of our National Theatre. This career lasted for five intensive years, and then I had to step back because of my studies and extracurricular activities, though I kept going to plays when I had the time. Volunteering was only one of the many things that I could experience. I had the chance to try acting in classic theatrical productions—musicals mostly—like The Jungle Book, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and Oliver! But the cherry on top from this parade of experiences was each play’s workshop camp.
Furthermore, I was a student at the Szigligeti Acting School and a member of actor Lóránt Csatlós’ separate amateur theatre, where I also had the opportunity to play a role in Tomorrow, which was a humorous medley of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories. This amateur theatre called Oberon, which has operated as an independent organization since 2007, was established mainly for university students to get closer to theatre, where they were able to co-produce and perform liberal arts as unprofessional actors. Its headquarters was at the Partium Christian University for a long time, where it functioned under the name of Partium Stage. However, later on, the theatre had to move out because it grew into something bigger. Unfortunately, due to the lack of interest later, the organization only lives on paper today.
I fell in love with this world so desperately that now I am working in the theatre as an audience organizer. When I enter the impressive foyer, decorated with a red velvet carpet and dish-white, gilded motifs, I believe with the depth of my heart that I become Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy in the Land of Oz. I reach a whole different world. Here I always see miracles happening and I am always left with something meaningful, even without noticing it. For me, this place is the most magnificent of all places in the city. I have had wonderful experiences, may those be related to people, plays, performing, camping, working, volunteering, love-stories and breakups, quarrels and chaotic times, happiness or sadness. I will always be the same seven-year-old girl who continues to look at all employees’ work, the wonderful auditorium, and the dramatic pieces with utmost reverence.
Kinga Cefan, 3rd year English major
Photos by Arnold Szabó and Tamás Szabó, 3rd year Fine Arts-Graphics majors