In the midst of preparations for A Night in November (November 12-14 2015), our chairperson, William, nabbed Director, Csaba Bartos, and asked him a few questions about the play. Here’s what he heard:
Csaba, can you tell us what first drew you to this play A Night in November and to the ITG to produce it? Have you a particular interest in Northern Ireland politics and ‘the troubles’?
I’m the type of person who gets interested in almost everything. From videos of kittens being fascinated by their tails to serious investigations, I absorb new information trying to understand human behaviour, human nature. So, I cannot say that I have a particular interest in Northern Irish politics, for me A Night in November has a more universal theme. Even though it’s set in the period of the Troubles, it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen or it’s not happening somewhere else in the world. The story is about the journey of self‑awareness of a person, about stereotypes and prejudices nurtured and maintained in many societies, groups, communities. I wanted to capture the struggle of any individual who tries to get past and see beyond these prejudices in our society, in our times. To present and talk about the Troubles is the job of analysts and historians; theatre should raise and try to answer questions such as why is hatred and segregation still present among us, how can we deal with them, and what should we do to avoid the same mistakes?
Do you think this Kenneth in the play is a credible character? And his transformation after being witness to discrimination against another community?
Kenneth is one of us, an ordinary man, raised and educated to accept and live by the morals of his community and to reject ideas and behaviours which deviate from their principles. And still, he becomes a hero by being capable of questioning his life and precepts, by being capable of change. His life turns upside down when he realises that his bubble of normality is artificially maintained and is based on segregation, exclusion and hatred. Being witness of discrimination against another community is just the trigger – it is what forces him to question his identity and to begin his journey.
When one thinks about nights in November…they can be a bit dreary… what kind of an evening can our audiences expect?
The playwright, Marie Jones, is known for using humour – sometimes very dark humour, to explore serious ideas, and this play is no exception. I’m pretty sure that our Caraigh – best-actor award winner at FEATS 2014, will bring the audiences from laughter to tears, and hopefully back again! I can definitely say I’ve enjoyed the journey with him and hope our Kraainem crowds will too.