Being Human - a walking theater performance in memory of László Ocskay, Righteous Among the Nations

Being Human - László Ocskay, Righteous Among the Nations

László Ocskay
László Ocskay

In October 2019 the community of ELTE Radnóti Miklós Secondary School, operating in the building that once hosted the Abonyi Street Jewish Grammar School, created an interactive theater performance, commemorating the lifesaving actions of László Ocskay and the Number 101/359 Forced Labor Battalion, using the same building in 1944-45.

The play was based on historical documents, letters and the recollections of survivors. Keeping the original venue, using its spaces creatively, creators invited viewers for an immersive "walking theater" experience.

Creators and actors of the performance

The core team that created the idea of the community theater performance and coordinated its production consisted of Sámuel Bernáth, Judit J. Tóth, Kriszta Niklosz, Emese Szabó and Tamás Szojka - drama and psychology teachers, a parent and a student of the school.

The script was written by Kriszta Niklosz, Tamás Szojka and further students (Dávid Bartal, Marcell Demetrovics, Eszter Kovács) and a teacher (Péter Návai) of the school.

Participants included teachers, non-teaching staff, students, alumni and a few guest performers.

All participants worked on a volunteer basis. The project was helped by generous donations of several organizations and individuals.

Organization and venue

Due to the nature of the play and its venue, each of the six performances was attended by roughly 60 spectators. Starting with greeting all visitors at the entrance, between each scene where all viewers participated at the same time (together with most of the 90 or so performers), there was always a scene where the audience was divided into three smaller groups to watch three individual scenes. This pattern repeated until each spectator saw each part.

The play finished with a joint scene, and viewers were invited over into an exhibition area which served as a place to discuss the experience and to slowly transition back into the 21st century. The exhibition was created by teachers Lóránt Ágoston (visual arts) and Beáta Horváth (media studies) and their respective students.

The scenes were spread out in the basement, ground floor and first floor corridors and classrooms of the school, rearranged to give off an aura of the 1940s. Rooms included a dormitory, a workshop with sewing machines and Ocskay's office. The timeline of the individual scenes was not core to the understanding and appreciation of the play.

The performance was a great success and helped maintain László Ocskay's legacy.

See some photos of the project here.

Main sponsors of the event were:

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