Star at the Stake

(1975. Play in 3 acts, prose. Characters: 17 men, 4 women)

In 1533 Michael Servetus, the Spanish doctor dealing with matters of theology pays a visit to John Calvin in Geneva. Servetus praises the acceptance speech of Rector Copus, which had been written, actually, by Calvin. Copus was arrested because of the speech by the inquisition. Servetus tries to save his friend by pretending to be Calvin, but Calvin’s pride cannot condone such an ‘undercover operation’. Soon he manages to escape from prison and becomes the promoter or the protestant movement in Geneva. In the mean while Servetus is also arrested on the charges of having helped Calvin. Servetus denies to have had any involvement in his escape, also denying to be the author of the heretic book on the Holy Trinity. However, the inquisitor states that it was Calvin himself who brought up the charges against Calvin, when the disappointed Servetus confesses to everything. He is also helped flee from prison.  Years later they meet again. Servetus criticises Calvin’s power politics, his dictatorial attempts, while Calvin is afraid that Servetus’s creed could divide the reformed congregation. He has Servetus arrested. If one of them can convince the jury about the truth of his cause, the other would accept capital punishment.  Calvin is preparing for the trial by mobilizing an enormous judiciary and theological apparatus, while Servetus can only rely on the truth of his tormented soul. Calvin summons Servetus to rescind the beliefs claimed in his book. However, at most, he is willing to renounce authorship, thus he is sentenced to death.

András SÜTŐ (1927-2006)

He studied in Nagyenyed and Kolozsvár (Cluj) starting to work as a journalist for different dailies and magazines. His first short story was published in 1948 by a magazine in Cluj. After nearly twenty years of being a writer he published his first drama anthology testifying of an entirely ripened intellectual universe and style, instantly placing him among the most prominent writers of his generation. His later works mostly analyzed the behaviour of people involved in the grand conflicts of history. His plays collide grand ideals with their heroes willing to sacrifice their lives even for purity and victory. His works can be characterized by a well thought-out structure, firmly shaped characters a strong emotional and intellectual charisma and a dense, character-forming dialogue.