The Statue of Theatre in Budapest alludes to the risks comedian Hofi Géza took when he publicly lampooned the Communist Government.
Statue of Theatre
Nagymező utca 22-24. (in front of Mikroszkóp Színpad) – Budapest
GPS: 47.503781, 19.059752
In totalitarian, fascist regimes, anyone that shows even the slightest hint of dissent or anything less than 100% loyalty, can often vanish without a trace. So when a comedian living within a totalitarian regime makes it the basis of his routine to satirize and sometimes even roast the government, you could say he had a nice set of bowling balls.
Hofi Géza was the highlight of Hungarian cabaret for decades. He never followed any pattern or trend; he was always following his own trail. His unique performances made him the most popular comedian of his time in Hungary.
Hofi was popular for his parodies of the Hungarian communist state. A fine balance between discharging his audience’s frustration with the system and being perceived as criticizing the totalitarian regime. Hofi never held back, and he had to spend a few nights in prison on numerous occasions.
Strolling through the theater district in Budapest, you will certainly see, and briefly stop to admire, a wonderful statue that might remind you of Hamlet. With that Shakespearian image in mind, this sculpture is titled Statue of Theatre.
But those that know the history also call the Statue of Theatre the Hofi Statue or even ’The Dance with Death‘.
This bronze Statue of Theatre, by artist Géza Stremeny, depicts the skeleton of a woman holding the head of the famous comedian in its hand. The head of Hofi, in the midst of this dance with death, smiles and looks away, unperturbed. The metaphor is obvious.
The death of Hofi Géza created an enormous vacuum in Hungarian comedy. This statue, and the comedian it represents are still much-loved. And it is a common consensus that there probably never would be another comedian like him.
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