Landscape gardener Péter Török is the artist who dreamed up the theatre’s exterior surroundings - the garden and the integral statue park. These represent a continuation of the National Theatre into the exterior space: the theatre does not end at the walls of the building. Rather, with the help of theatrical history, not to mention that of architecture and the landscape garden, the various items of scenery placed in particular points of the park – even if inside a mound – all evoke dramatic moments on stage, and the world of theatre in general.
The statues on the building’s façade were built to designs by Imre Schrammel. The statues of the nine muses above the main entrance are the work of sculptor Péter Raab Párkányi, while the fourteen reliefs are by László Marton. The reliefs depict the following greats of Hungarian theatre: Zoltán Makláry, Lajos Őze, Erzsi Somogyi, János Rajz, György Kálmán, József Bihari, Erzsi Pártos, Sándor Pécsi, Miklós Gábor, Antal Páger, Mária Sulyok, Elma Bulla, Kamill Feleki and Margit Dajka.
The area in front of the theatre’s main entrance stretches like a ship into an artificially constructed expanse of water – water that can interpreted as an extension of the Danube. The entrance can be reached via a pontoon-bridge, the equivalent of the ramp with two rails found in large traditional theatres.
The park’s gate statue was designed by sculptor Miklós Melocco, and on it the figures of Klári Tolnay and Zoltán Latinovics welcome theatregoers.
There are full statues of the following actors, each captured in a legendary role: Hilda Gobbi, Manyi Kiss, Éva Ruttkai, Kálmán Latabár, József Timár, Tamás Major, Imre Sinkovics, Margit Lukács, Lajos Básti and Imre Soós. They are the work of sculptors István Bencsik, László Marton, Sándor Kligl and Péter Raab Párkányi.
The silhouette of the upper façade of the old National Theatre at Blaha Lujza square can be seen lying in the water in front of the ship’s bow. The side of the building facing the Danube is of colourful limestone, evoking a redstone desert, and decorated with spiritual constructions.
One of the riverside park’s constructions is a labyrinth of hedges trimmed to human height. The other is a ziggurat, which can be interpreted as a distant reference to the Tower of Babel or the sun pyramids of the Maya. After climbing the spiral-shaped path to the top of the pyramid, the visitor is greeted by a pair of royal thrones. The seven rooms inside evoke Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. Leaving the building, we find ourselves in a little viridarium designed in Renaissance style. A sycamore allée of subtle proportions runs between the labyrinth and the ziggurat, the shade of its foliage circumscribing the buildings with a trellis effect. As intended by its designers, this unusual area also acts as a public city park.
- 2011/2012 schedule
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