Jenő Rejtő – János Regős: The Fourteen Carat Roadster
the original atricle
The director of this Rejtő adaptation, János Regős does not scrimp with Rejtő, he uses him.
The Szkénén Theatre was founded in 1968. To celebrate this anniversary the theatre in cooperation with the Picaro Production made the adaption of the most famous novel of Jenő Rejtő, namely: The fourteen carat car.
The play begins with the narrator’s monologue
„There is a revolt against Mala Padan, the ruler of Ifiriz, instigated by Dizard, a Portuguese. It would have been the breach of the colonial status quo if one of the great power had intervened. Mala Padan’s chief advisor, the French Laboux: Lingeström and Portenif have killed the chieftain. They hide the gold.” Isn’t it clear? Sorry. This quotation is from a flyer, which should inform the poor audience. In fact it has contrary effect…
It’s a flip, but not for the audience. It’s a flip of the contemporary theatre for the contemporary theatre. This part is the production is a kind of atelier.
Thanks to the director, János Regős, the audience can see the creative process of the play and they can enjoy the the story itself, as if we were part of a successfull rehearsal.
The story is the same as in Rejtő’s novel (The fourteen carat car). Th main caracter is Iván Gorchev, the sailor and a real man about town who falls in love with Anette Laboux after he had won the Nobel Prize in physics in a card game, called macao. (The prize went originally to professor Noah Bertinus in Stockholm by the King of Sweden a few days earlier). But Gorchev has been rejected by Anette’s father, and our poor hero lands in the foreign legion, but actually he sends in the legion Mr. Vanek and meanwhile he gets back the fourteen carat roadster, which belongs to French concerns. This deed helps him to gain Anette’s hand. And they live till death do them part…
The audience gets the sheer sense of humor, which is tipical of Rejtő, but the director, Jánis Regős also adds some extras to the play. For instance, the figure of the narrator (Zoltán Tamási) is a great hit. He prones to self-pity and as an „outsider” he always has the right explanation of the events.
The cast is very good. Tamás Deák’s Gorchev is fighting for his goals with a great deal of desperation, while making an idiot of himself. Katalin Szentes as Anette Laboux and Péter Berecz’s Monsieur Laboux take the play to a more serious level. Attila Szabó’s Mr. Vanek is excellent and we have to mention also Sarolta Zöldhegyi who plays convincingly both men and women roles.
The play is not only the adaptation of Rejtő’s best selling novel, The fourteen carat roadster, but it’s the sum of the modern dramatics.
It’s good to know that Rejtő’s spirit is roaming among us. And he is thinking in a quite modern way.
KÁLLAI KATALIN - (Criticai Lapok, 08.03.2009.)